Surveys in Geophysics

, Volume 39, Issue 3, pp 509–541 | Cite as

An Effective Reservoir Parameter for Seismic Characterization of Organic Shale Reservoir

  • Luanxiao Zhao
  • Xuan Qin
  • Jinqiang Zhang
  • Xiwu Liu
  • De-hua Han
  • Jianhua Geng
  • Yineng Xiong


Sweet spots identification for unconventional shale reservoirs involves detection of organic-rich zones with abundant porosity. However, commonly used elastic attributes, such as P- and S-impedances, often show poor correlations with porosity and organic matter content separately and thus make the seismic characterization of sweet spots challenging. Based on an extensive analysis of worldwide laboratory database of core measurements, we find that P- and S-impedances exhibit much improved linear correlations with the sum of volume fraction of organic matter and porosity than the single parameter of organic matter volume fraction or porosity. Importantly, from the geological perspective, porosity in conjunction with organic matter content is also directly indicative of the total hydrocarbon content of shale resources plays. Consequently, we propose an effective reservoir parameter (ERP), the sum of volume fraction of organic matter and porosity, to bridge the gap between hydrocarbon accumulation and seismic measurements in organic shale reservoirs. ERP acts as the first-order factor in controlling the elastic properties as well as characterizing the hydrocarbon storage capacity of organic shale reservoirs. We also use rock physics modeling to demonstrate why there exists an improved linear correlation between elastic impedances and ERP. A case study in a shale gas reservoir illustrates that seismic-derived ERP can be effectively used to characterize the total gas content in place, which is also confirmed by the production well.


Organic shale Organic matter Porosity Effective reservoir parameter Reservoir characterization 



This work was supported by the Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (Grant No. XDA14010203), Fluids and DHI consortium of the Colorado School of Mines and University of Houston, the Foundation of State Key Laboratory of Shale Oil and Gas Enrichment Mechanisms and Effective Development, National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 41504087), and Innovative Program of Shanghai Municipal Education Commission. We thank SINOPEC for permission to show the well-logging and seismic data. The database for this paper is available by contacting the corresponding author at


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Marine GeologyTongji UniversityShanghaiChina
  2. 2.Department of Earth and Atmospheric SciencesUniversity of HoustonHoustonUSA
  3. 3.State Key Laboratory of Shale Oil and Gas Enrichment Mechanisms and Effective DevelopmentBeijingChina
  4. 4.SINOPEC Petroleum Exploration and Production Research InstituteBeijingChina

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