CRGC Research – Introduction

The Curtin Reservoir Geophysics Consortium (CRGC) is a partnership between industry and academia. The CRGC undertakes research into acquisition, processing and quantitative interpretation of geophysical data, with an emphasis on Australian petroleum exploration and production problems.

The CRGC’s mission is to conduct geophysical research and develop new technologies for the benefit of the petroleum industry, and to train students in geophysical methods and research relevant to the needs of our sponsors.

The proposed research is structured around the concept of improved seismic imaging of reservoirs, methods of signal analysis which will enhance the data processing of existing data, the potential offered using multi-component processing to understand the effects of anisotropy, and obtaining a comprehensive knowledge of the effects that variations in rock physics have on transmitted and reflected seismic energy.

The CRGC was founded in 1997 with initial funding commencing in 1998. Until 2004, the CRGC operated in close cooperation with the Australian Petroleum Cooperative Research Centre (APCRC), underpinning its Seismic Imaging Program. From 2004, Curtin has been a participant in the Cooperative Research Centre for Greenhouse Gas Technologies (CO2CRC). In 2009, the Commonwealth funding for CO2CRC was extended for another five years (2010-2015). From January 2015, CO2CRC is no longer associated with the Cooperative Research Centres (CRC) program but has secured Commonwealth funding to continue operating the Otway Project. Although there is no formal association between the CO2CRC and the CRGC, we believe that cross-fertilisation has been very useful. In particular, the CRGC has benefited from the involvement in addressing the unique challenges of the CO2CRC Otway Project, which involved the first land time-lapse seismic survey carried out in Australia.

A new stage, Stage 2C, of the Otway Project commenced in 2015 and involves seismic monitoring of a small (15,000 tons) injection of a CO2-rich gas into a saline formation. The seismic monitoring employs a buried geophone array, the world’s first 3D distributed acoustic sensor array based on fibre-optic technology, as well as purpose-built permanent seismic sources.

The Otway monitoring has been done using seismic equipment secured by Curtin as part of a $48M EIF grant to the National Geosequestration Laboratory (NGL), a partnership between Curtin, CSIRO and the University of Western Australia in research activities in the area of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS). The primary purpose of NGL is to support South West Hub, a CCS Flagship project in the South West of Western Australia and other CCS projects, but can also be used for other research projects. The equipment includes two mini-vibrators, a combined wired and wireless seismic acquisition system (2500 channels of Sercel 428 acquisition system and 1300 channels of Sercel Unite) a VSP tool (Sercel Slimwave – 10 levels), controlled-source electromagnetic equipment, 3500 m winch for VSP and a 900 m deep non-electric training well equipped Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS) cables on the casing on Curtin Bentley campus.

Since July 2010, the Curtin Geophysics Group has also been involved in the Deep Exploration Technologies Cooperative Research Centre (DETCRC). Although this CRC program is focused on deep mining exploration, the geophysical technologies being developed here may also be useful for resolving petroleum problems, such as land seismic acquisition, seismic-while-drilling, and data processing for environments with complex near-surface conditions as well as crystalline basement and foothill environments.

Major new areas of research continue to be conducted during 2018. Current CRGC research for 2018 covers four major project areas:

  • Theoretical rock physics
  • Experimental rock physics
  • Seismic processing and imaging
  • Reservoir characterisation and monitoring