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Journal Articles Geophysical Journal International Year : 2011

On the footprint of anisotropy on isotropic full waveform inversion: the Valhall case study

Vincent Prieux
  • Function : Author
Romain Brossier
Yaser Gholami
  • Function : Author
Stéphane Operto
Jean Virieux
  • Function : Author
  • PersonId : 857422
O.I. Barkved
  • Function : Author
J.H. Kommedal
  • Function : Author


The validity of isotropic approximation to perform acoustic full waveform inversion (FWI) of real wide-aperture anisotropic data can be questioned due to the intrinsic kinematic inconsistency between short- and large-aperture components of the data. This inconsistency is mainly related to the differences between the vertical and horizontal velocities in vertical-transverse isotropic (VTI) media. The footprint of VTI anisotropy on 2-D acoustic isotropic FWI is illustrated on a hydrophone data set of an ocean-bottom cable that was collected over the Valhall field in the North Sea. Multiscale FWI is implemented in the frequency domain by hierarchical inversions of increasing frequencies and decreasing aperture angles. The FWI models are appraised by local comparison with well information, seismic modelling, reverse-time migration (RTM) and source-wavelet estimation. A smooth initial VTI model parameterized by the vertical velocity V0 and the Thomsen parameters δ and ε were previously developed by anisotropic reflection traveltime tomography. The normal moveout (inline image) and horizontal (inline image) velocity models were inferred from the anisotropic models to perform isotropic FWI. The VNMO models allows for an accurate match of short-spread reflection traveltimes, whereas the Vh model, after updating by first-arrival traveltime tomography (FATT), allows for an accurate match of first-arrival traveltimes. Ray tracing in the velocity models shows that the first 1.5 km of the medium are sampled by both diving waves and reflections, whereas the deeper structure at the reservoir level is mainly controlled by short-spread reflections. Starting from the initial anisotropic model and keeping fixed δ and ε models, anisotropic FWI allows us to build a vertical velocity model that matches reasonably well the well-log velocities. Isotropic FWI is performed using either the NMO model or the FATT model as initial model. In both cases, horizontal velocities are mainly reconstructed in the first 1.5 km of the medium. This suggests that the wide-aperture components of the data have a dominant control on the velocity estimation at these depths. These high velocities in the upper structure lead to low values of velocity in the underlying gas layers (either equal or lower than vertical velocities of the well log), and/or a vertical stretching of the structure at the reservoir level below the gas. This bias in the gas velocities and the mispositioning in depth of the deep reflectors, also shown in the RTM images, are required to match the deep reflections in the isotropic approximation and highlight the footprint of anisotropy in the isotropic FWI of long-offset data. Despite the significant differences between the anisotropic and isotropic FWI models, each of these models produce a nearly-equivalent match of the data, which highlights the ill-posedness of acoustic anisotropic FWI. Hence, we conclude with the importance of considering anisotropy in FWI of wide-aperture data to avoid bias in the velocity reconstructions and mispositioning in depth of reflectors. Designing a suitable parameterization of the VTI acoustic FWI is a central issue to manage the ill-posedness of the FWI.
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hal-00650307 , version 1 (04-08-2021)



Vincent Prieux, Romain Brossier, Yaser Gholami, Stéphane Operto, Jean Virieux, et al.. On the footprint of anisotropy on isotropic full waveform inversion: the Valhall case study. Geophysical Journal International, 2011, 187 (3), pp.1495-1515. ⟨10.1111/j.1365-246X.2011.05209.x⟩. ⟨hal-00650307⟩
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