The promise of 3C-3D seismic data for improved imaging and reservoir characterization in the Alberta oil sands

Bobby J. Gunning, Donald C. Lawton, J. Helen Isaac

A 3C-3D seismic data set from the Athabasca Oil Sands region was processed and interpreted. The vertical and radial geophone components were processed as the PP and PS seismic data. PP and PS seismic data were processed to stack using Vista and ProMAX processing software. Prestack PP gathers were generated for analysis. Stacked datasets were correlated with regional well control and pervasive reflection horizons were picked. The main hydrocarbon reservoir, the McMurray formation was studied based on the PP and PS seismic datasets. A large Upper McMurray aged channel feature was found running through the seismic volume. Truncations of regional seismic character were found at the McMurray channel location. A model-based post stack impedance inversion is performed on the PP seismic data. Interval RMS amplitude and impedance reveal in-situ natural gas and higher quality reservoir; these findings are correlated with geological control. A model-based pre-stack inversion was performed. The pre-stack inversion P impedance volume showed better differentiation of regional McMurray units than the post stack inversion.