Sensitivity of the elastic anisotropy and seismic reflection amplitude of the Eagle Ford Shale to the presence of kerogen

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Abstract

The Eagle Ford Shale of Central and South Texas is currently of great interest for oil and gas exploration and production. Laboratory studies show that the Eagle Ford Shale is anisotropic, with a correlation between anisotropy and total organic carbon. Organic materials are usually more compliant than other minerals present in organic-rich shales, and their shapes and distribution are usually anisotropic. This makes organic materials an important source of anisotropy in organic-rich shales. Neglecting shale anisotropy may lead to incorrect estimates of rock and fluid properties derived from inversion of amplitude versus offset seismic data. Organic materials have a significant effect on the PP and PS reflection amplitudes from the Austin Chalk/Upper Eagle Ford interface, the Upper Eagle Ford/Lower Eagle Ford interface, and the Lower Eagle Ford/Buda Limestone interface. The higher kerogen content of the Lower Eagle Ford compared with that of the Upper Eagle Ford leads to a negative PP reflection amplitude that dims with offset, whereas the PS reflection coefficient increases in magnitude with increasing offset. The PP and PS reflection coefficients at the Austin Chalk/Upper Eagle Ford interface, the Upper Eagle Ford/Lower Eagle Ford interface, and the Lower Eagle Ford/Buda Limestone interface all increase in magnitude with increasing volume fraction of kerogen.

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