Estimating azimuthal stress-induced P-wave anisotropy from S-wave anisotropy using sonic log or vertical seismic profile data

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Most sedimentary rocks are anisotropic, yet it is often difficult to accurately incorporate anisotropy into seismic workflows because analysis of anisotropy requires knowledge of a number of parameters that are difficult to estimate from standard seismic data. In this study, we provide a methodology to infer azimuthal P-wave anisotropy from S-wave anisotropy calculated from log or vertical seismic profile data. This methodology involves a number of steps. First, we compute the azimuthal P-wave anisotropy in the dry medium as a function of the azimuthal S-wave anisotropy using a rock physics model, which accounts for the stress dependency of seismic wave velocities in dry isotropic elastic media subjected to triaxial compression. Once the P-wave anisotropy in the dry medium is known, we use the anisotropic Gassmann equations to estimate the anisotropy of the saturated medium. We test this workflow on the log data acquired in the North West Shelf of Australia, where azimuthal anisotropy is likely caused by large differences between minimum and maximum horizontal stresses. The obtained results are compared to azimuthal P-wave anisotropy obtained via orthorhombic tomography in the same area. In the clean sandstone layers, anisotropy parameters obtained by both methods are fairly consistent. In the shale and shaly sandstone layers, however, there is a significant discrepancy between results since the stress-induced anisotropy model we use is not applicable to rocks exhibiting intrinsic anisotropy. This methodology could be useful for building the initial anisotropic velocity model for imaging, which is to be refined through migration velocity analysis.

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