The transformation of seismic reflection data into quantitative rock properties can be very valuable in all phases of oil and gas exploration and production. In this study, public domain data from Australian offshore have been used to explain the logical workflow, which consists of systematic steps from seismic petrophysics to rock physics modeling and seismic inversion for quantitative rock property estimation.

The application of seismic inversion technology offers many rewards, such as: better reservoir definition and management; better resource estimation; and reductions in uncertainty. The main benefit is that it improves direct and intangible interpretation of seismic data to provide meaningful geological boundaries in the subsurface.

In order to provide the reliable estimate of rock properties for reservoir modeling the workflow is tested rigorously and divided into three categories which are based on the basic inversion types. The results reveal that relative impedance inversion should be performed first, which then followed by revision of seismic interpretation on impedance data. Full bandwidth rock properties are estimated by deterministic inversion. The results can be improved by several iterations of well to seismic tie, wavelet estimation, and low frequency models. As resolution with accuracy has always been challenging, the stochastic inversion approach is trailered for reservoir characterization and high resolution rock properties have been predicted. This produces a number of possible rock property models, as well as litho facies models and the results can be optionally constrained by the well data. It can be concluded that, to some degree, stochastic inversion is able to overcome the limited seismic bandwidth by integrating the rock physics properties of different lithologies. The examples of seismic inversion are discussed to demonstrate the significant benefits can be obtained by following an optimized workflow that is tailored to deal with the uncertainties that impact the end product.


Seismic surveys are routinely performed to gather information about the geology of hydrocarbon fields. Seismic data, even when it has relatively low resolutions, can still deliver a structural model for the reservoir. The availability and coverage area of the data provides valuable information to constrain the reservoir model. Geophysicists are now able to extract greater quantitative information about reservoir rocks and fluid parameters from seismic data by working backwards using seismic inversion methods. Described as the flip-side of forward modeling, seismic inversion is the process of characterizing rocks and fluids that have produced the seismic data. In a sense, the process involves trying to determine the input (rock properties) by looking at the output (seismic data). It starts with actual measured data, removes the wavelet and derives acoustic impedance from reflection coefficient (Figure-1) with a low frequency model to infer rock properties and deliver earth model.

This content is only available via PDF.
You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.