Multiwell study of seismic attenuation at CO2CRC Otway project geosequestration site: comparison of amplitude decay, centroid‐frequency shift and 1D waveform inversion methods

ABSTRACT At the CO2CRC Otway geosequestration site, the abundance of borehole seismic and logging data provides a unique opportunity to compare techniques of Q (measure of attenuation) estimation and validate their reliability. Specifically, we test conventional time-domain amplitude decay and spectral-domain centroid frequency shift methods versus the 1D waveform inversion constrained by well logs on a set of zero-offset vertical seismic profiles. The amplitude decay and centroid frequency shift methods of Q estimation assume that a seismic pulse propagates in a homogeneous medium and ignore the interference of the propagating wave with short-period multiples. The waveform inversion explicitly models multiple scattering and interference on a stack of thin layers using high-resolution data from sonic and density logs. This allows for stable Q estimation in small depth windows (in this study, 150 m), and separation of the frequency-dependent layer-induced scattering from intrinsic absorption. Besides, the inversion takes into account band-limited nature of seismic data, and thus, it is less dependent on the operating frequency bandwidth than on the other methods. However, all considered methods of Q estimation are unreliable in the intervals where subsurface significantly deviates from 1D geometry. At the Otway site, the attenuation estimates are distorted by sub-vertical faults close to the boreholes. Analysis of repeated vertical seismic profiles reveals that 15 kt injection of the CO2-rich fluid into a thin saline aquifer at 1.5 km depth does not induce detectable absorption of P-waves at generated frequencies 5–150 Hz, most likely because the CO2 plume in the monitoring well is thin, <15 m. At the Otway research site, strong attenuation Q ≈ 30–50 is observed only in shaly formations (Skull Creek Mudstone, Belfast Mudstone). Layer-induced scattering attenuation is negligible except for a few intervals, namely 500–650 m from the surface, and near the injection interval, at around 1400–1550 m, where Qscat ≈ 50–65.

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