The invention utilizes 3-D and 4-D seismic surveys as a means of deriving information useful in petroleum exploration and reservoir management. The methods use both single seismic surveys (3-D) and multiple seismic surveys separated in time (4-D) of a region of interest to determine large scale migration pathways within sedimentary basins, and fine scale drainage structure and oil-water-gas regions within individual petroleum producing reservoirs. Such structure is identified using pattern recognition tools which define the regions of interest. The 4-D seismic data sets may be used for data completion for large scale structure where time intervals between surveys do not allow for dynamic evolution. The 4-D seismic data sets also may be used to find variations over time of small scale structure within individual reservoirs which may be used to identify petroleum drainage pathways, oil-water-gas regions and, hence, attractive drilling targets. After spatial orientation, and amplitude and frequency matching of the multiple seismic data sets, High Amplitude Event (HAE) regions consistent with the presence of petroleum are identified using seismic attribute analysis. High Amplitude Regions are grown and interconnected to establish plumbing networks on the large scale and reservoir structure on the small scale. Small scale variations over time between seismic surveys within individual reservoirs are identified and used to identify drainage patterns and bypassed petroleum to be recovered. The location of such drainage patterns and bypassed petroleum may be used to site wells.
The U.S. Government has a paid-up license in this invention and the rights in limited circumstances to require the patent owner to license others on reasonable terms as provided for by the terms of Contract No. DE-FC22-93BC14961 awarded by the Department of Energy.