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Keywords:

  • Electrical properties;
  • Hydrogeophysics;
  • Permeability and porosity

SUMMARY

We propose a cross-hole imaging approach based on seismoelectric conversions (SC) associated with the transmission of seismic waves from seismic sources located in a borehole to receivers (electrodes) located in a second borehole. The seismoelectric (seismic-to-electric) problem is solved using Biot theory coupled with a generalized Ohm's law with an electrokinetic streaming current contribution. The components of the displacement of the solid phase, the fluid pressure, and the electrical potential are solved using a finite element approach with Perfect Match Layer (PML) boundary conditions for the seismic waves and boundary conditions mimicking an infinite material for the electrostatic problem. We develop an inversion algorithm using the electrical disturbances recorded in the second borehole to localize the position of the heterogeneities responsible for the SC. Because of the ill-posed nature of the inverse problem (inherent to all potential-field problems), regularization is used to constrain the solution at each time in the SC-time window comprised between the time of the seismic shot and the time of the first arrival of the seismic waves in the second borehole. All the inverted volumetric current source densities are aggregated together to produce an image of the position of the heterogeneities between the two boreholes. Two simple synthetic case studies are presented to test this concept. The first case study corresponds to a vertical discontinuity between two homogeneous sub-domains. The second case study corresponds to a poroelastic inclusion (partially saturated by oil) embedded into an homogenous poroelastic formation. In both cases, the position of the heterogeneity is recovered using only the electrical disturbances associated with the SC. That said, a joint inversion of the seismic and seismoelectric data could improve these results.