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Reconciling Geomechanics and Frequently Recorded 4D Seismic Data, Edinburgh Time-Lapse Project (ETLP)

   School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society

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  Prof C MacBeth, Dr R Chassagne  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Hydrocarbon fields are now challenging to produce, and the time for easy extraction is gone. More complete and accurate representations of the field with realistic well-founded models are required to make decisions concerning field management and development. A common technique is to update and, more frequently, constrain the model with all available multi-disciplinary data. There is growing interest in the use of a geomechanical model to reduce drilling risk and enhance well production. One of the most challenging and time-consuming tasks in building this model is the calibration with the primary source of areal deformation information - the 4D seismic data. These data may be integrated through history matching, a mathematical framework to correct the existing model to match to the observed data.

We propose in this project to carry out a comprehensive modelling and inversion exercise to close the loop between the geomechanical model and 4D seismic data. The inversion component will include methodologies to estimate pressure using time-shifts, and the modelling component will utilise sim2seis and mech2seis software for both amplitudes and time-shifts. All of these tools are available on our in-house platform, therefore the unique aspect of this study is the application to a high quality, multiple monitor dataset to achieve adequate reconciliation. One outcome of this study will be potential indicators as to how to efficiently update the geomechanical model. This close the loop exercise will be carried out around key wells and regions in the field as guided by the company donating the data, working in both map, sections and with a number of post-stack and pre-stack attributes. Initially use will be made of the data from permanent reservoir monitoring, but we also plan to integrate towed streamer and ocean bottom node data. Research questions of relevance may include the impact of water weakening, inelastic compaction and the petroelastic model.

Data for the project has been donated by several companies, and will consist of 3D and 4D seismic data, wireline logs, production data, a field simulation model, geological model and a geomechanical model. You will join the ETLP research team which has twenty-one years of experience in quantitative 4D seismic interpretation and is funded by a number of energy and service companies.

For more information on our activities please visit our website: You will work on this PhD project supervised by a multi-disciplinary team of Prof Colin MacBeth and Dr Romain Chassagne.

This project is available to ALL students, whether home, EU or overseas. The successful candidate should have a strong interest in applied research and possess at minimum a masters AND undergraduate degree in Geophysics, Geomechanics, Reservoir Engineering or a related field. Formally four years of university study including a minimum of one year at an advanced level are required. Programming skills are an essential requirement of this project, whilst some experience of fluid flow simulation and seismic processing is also necessary. Several years of additional experience working in industry on reservoir development is desirable.

We recognise that not every talented researcher will have had the same opportunities to advance their careers. We therefore will account for any particular circumstances that applicants disclose (e.g. parental leave, caring duties, part-time jobs to support studies, disabilities etc.) to ensure an inclusive and fair recruitment process.

To apply you must complete our online application form. Please select PhD programme Applied Geoscience and include the full project title, reference number and supervisor on your application form. Ensure that all fields marked as ‘required’ are complete.

You must complete the section marked project proposal; upload a supporting statement documenting your reasons for applying to this particular PhD project, and why you are an ideal candidate for the position. You will also need to provide a CV, a copy of your degree certificate and relevant transcripts and you may also upload an academic reference to support your applicaiton.  You must also provide proof of your ability in the English language (if English is not your mother tongue or if you have not already studied for a degree that was taught in English within the last 2 years). We require an IELTS certificate showing an overall score of at least 6.5 with no component scoring less than 6.0 or a TOEFL certificate with a minimum score of 90 points.

Applicants must be available to start by May 2022.

Funding Notes

This is a full scholarship which will cover tuition fees for 36 months and provide an annual stipend of £15,609 for up to 42 months.
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