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SWLGS Luncheon Topics

Updated August 05, 2003

October 2000

4th Wave Imaging: "The Next Wave in Reservoir Monitoring: The Instrumented Oilfield"
David Lumley, 4th Wave Imaging Corp.


Abstract: Several technologies are advancing to better monitor and optimize reservoir production. These include time-lapse surface and borehole seismic, shear wave technology, directional drilling, permanent downhole sensors, intelligent well completions, fiber optics, remote control operations, data management and Internet technology, shared earth models to extract and archive reservoir knowledge, data visualization, parallel computing, and rapid modeling, processing, analysis and decision-making tools. These diverse technologies are converging toward the target of real-time monitoring and optimization of reservoir production: The instrumented oilfield.

In the geophysical world, time-lapse seismic technology has been rapidly advancing over the past few years. Several industry case studies have been presented that show the capacity of 4D seismic to monitor injected fluid fronts, locate bypassed oil, map pressure compartmentalization, and delineate the sealing or leaking flow properties of faults. High resolution time-lapse seismic monitoring has been performed in the borehole, in VSP and crosswell geometries. Together, time-lapse surface and borehole seismic techniques have the possibility to cover multiple reservoir scales in terms of both spatial and time-lapse resolution. Permanent installation of receiver arrays, originally motivated by increased repeatability and signal-to-noise energy, have the potential to offer useful benefits in data acquisition cost reduction and real-time surveying flexibility. Since multicomponent receivers can be installed for nearly the same price as acoustic sensors, the additional information from shear waves can be useful for monitoring pressure fronts, in situ stress, and real-time fracturing. However, many hardware, software, and logistical issues remain before permanent seismic arrays become a practical reality.

In the engineering world, downhole instrumentation and borehole technology have been experiencing rapid development. Downhole sensors are available to measure reservoir state variables such as pressure, temperature and saturation. These sensors can be permanently installed and can feed continuous data by fiber optics to remote control operation centers at the surface. Directional drilling can be aided in real-time by logging-while-drilling (LWD) measurements and seismic drill-bit steering. Smart wells with multiple-level intelligent completions can drain multiple oil reservoirs in an optimal manner by measuring flow rates and pressure during production, and reconfiguring the completion specs on the fly to maximize recovery. More field pilot tests are needed to advance the technology.

On the combined geoscience and engineering analysis front, these complex and real-time monitoring systems will produce a huge volume of data that requires intelligent processing to extract reservoir knowledge and value. How will the flow of data be transmitted, and what portion will be storable? How will the information content – the reservoir knowledge – be extracted from the data stream and archived in a continuously evolving and updated reservoir model? The solutions to these challenges hinge on evolving technologies in data management, information technology, high-speed networks, Internet communications, rapid data visualization, parallel computing, the shared earth model concept, and integrated modeling, processing, analysis and decision-making tools. Much research remains to be done; we need to get out there, put these systems in the ground, test them, and learn as we go.

Biographical Sketch: David E. Lumley is President & CEO of 4th Wave Imaging Corp., a seismic imaging R&D start-up company offering expert solutions and services in 4D time-lapse seismic reservoir monitoring and multicomponent seismic data analysis. His previous work experience includes a position as a senior staff research scientist with Chevron Petroleum Technology, and research and operations assignments with Arco Research, Mobil R&D Corp., and Mobil Canada. Prior to that, David worked as a seismic crew leader for Western Geophysical on marine seismic vessels in the Gulf of Mexico and the North Atlantic.

David received a BS and MS from the University of British Columbia, and a PhD from Stanford University. As part of Professor Jon Claerbout’s Stanford Exploration Project, David conducted pioneering research work on 4D seismic analysis, including his doctoral thesis: "Seismic Time-Lapse Monitoring of Subsurface Fluid Flow". His expertise and research excellence in 4D seismic reservoir monitoring at Stanford was recognized with one of the first SEG Karcher Awards in 1996. David continues to hold a courtesy position as a consulting professor with Stanford University.

Dr. Lumley is very active within the SEG. He has served as an Associate Editor (1995-99) for Geophysics, and on several technical committees including the Joint SPE/SEG Research Forum Committee (1996), SEG Annual Meeting Technical Program Committees (1997-98), and the SEG Development & Production Forum (1999). He is currently a Reviewer for Geophysics and The Leading Edge, serves on the SEG Research Committee, and is chair of the 2001 SEG Summer Research Workshop. David is also a member of AGU, SIAM, and SPE.

Dr. Lumley has published his work in several technical journals, and presented numerous papers and invited keynote addresses at technical conferences, workshops and forums. His theoretical and practical contributions cover a wide range of topics including 4D seismic reservoir monitoring, multicomponent seismic data analysis, 3D prestack migration, AVO, multi-parameter inversion, multiple suppression, rock physics, seismic modeling from flow simulation, methane hydrates, and parallel computing. Dr. Lumley is the recipient of the Best Paper Awards at the SOVG Conference in Caracas (1998), the SEG Annual Meeting in Dallas (1997), and the SPIE Conference in Mathematical Geophysics, San Diego (1994). Dr. Lumley was recently honored to serve as an SPE Distinguished Lecturer from 1998 to 1999.