Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory masthead A-Z Index Berkeley Lab masthead U.S. Department of Energy logo Phone Book Jobs Search
Tech Transfer
Licensing Interest Form Receive Customized Tech Alerts

Accurate Identification, Imaging and Monitoring of Fluid-Saturated Underground Reservoirs


      (click on image for larger view) A seismic line from Ai Pim Western Siberia oil field was used to image two different types of oil-saturated reservoirs. The well data indicate that the upper reservoir, marked AC11, consists of 11-15 m thick sandstone with varying fluid content. The lower reservoir, marked Ju0, is represented by 15-20 m thick fractured shale. Black dots show where there is oil; white dots show where there is no oil. There is no evident correlation between well content and high-frequency standard seismic imaging shown in image (a), top. In contrast, the oil-saturated domains of both AC11 and Ju0 create high-amplitude, low-frequency (<15 Hz) reflections in image (b), generated using the Berkeley Lab method.    


  • Search for and contouring of gas and oil deposits
  • Underground water reservoir imaging
  • Estimation of the size and shape of contamination zones
  • Monitoring of underground liquid and gas storage
  • CO2 sequestration problem


  • Allows characterization of subsurface fluid reservoirs in situations where other approaches fail
  • Improves imaging of thin, porous saturated layers
  • Substantially improves the accuracy of imaging of any porous rocks using surface and/or borehole seismic measurements
  • Enables differentiation between oil and water
  • 80% success rate with a variety of data sets



Thin porous layers are effectively invisible to current seismic methods used for reservoir imaging. Since gas and oil deposits are usually attributed to fluid-saturated porous layers, Gennady Goloshubin and Valeri Korneev have developed an imaging method that provides a more accurate determination of saturation character for subsurface reservoirs. Berkeley Lab's new technique that takes into account a low frequency seismic response will allow improved imaging of thin porous liquid saturated layers (containing gas, water, oil, etc.), and substantially improve the accuracy of imaging of any porous rocks using surface and/or borehole seismic measurements.

Use of seismic low frequencies has strong potential for prognoses of fluid content and mapping of productive highly permeable zones of reservoirs. The low-frequency effects are especially important when no noticeable fluid signature is found in the high-frequency domain of seismic reflections from the oil-saturated reservoirs. Frequency-dependent seismic imaging allows the characterization of the subsurface fluid reservoirs in situations where other approaches fail.

To date, the low frequency imaging approach has been applied to a variety of data sets. It worked well in about 80% of the cases, while in other cases the interpretation outcome was uncertain. The limits and conditions of the method need to be further investigated so that the imaging procedure can be adapted to each case depending on the geology, data quality, frequency content, etc.

This technique will find applications in the search for and contouring of gas and oil deposits, as well as in underground water reservoir imaging, estimation of the size and shape of contamination zones, monitoring of underground liquid and gas storage, and, generally, in the global CO2 sequestration problem.


To learn more about licensing a technology from LBNL see


Korneev, V.A., Goloshubin, G.M., Daley, T.M., Silin, D.B., "Seismic Low-Frequency Effects in Monitoring Fluid-Saturated Reservoirs," Geophysics, Vol 69, No. 2, March-April 2004, pg 522-532

Korneev, V., "Slow Waves in Fractures Filled with Viscous Fluid," Geophysics, Vol. 73, No. 1, 2008, N1-N7

Goloshubin, G., VanSchuyver, C., Korneev, V., Silin, D., Vangalov, V., "Reservoir Imaging Using Low Frequences of Seismic Reflections,"The Leading Edge, 2006, 527-531

Castagna, J.P., Sun, S., Siegfried, R.W., "Instantaneous Spectral Analysis: Detection of Low-Frequency Shadoes Associated With Hydrocarbons," The Leading Edge, February, 2003, 120-127

Odebeatu, E., Zhang, J., Chapman, M., Liu, E., Li, X., "Application of Spectral Decomposition to Detection of Dispersion Anomalies Associated with Gas Saturation,"The Leading Edge, 2006, 206-210

Silin, D.B., Korneev, V.A., Goloshubin, G.M., Patzek, T.W., "Seismic Reflection From a Fluid-Saturated Medium," 2004, 1-27

Goloshubin, G.M., Silin D.B., "Dual Porosity Bio-Barenblatt Model," EAGE 68th Conference & Exhibition, Vienna, Austria, 2006

Goloshubin, G.M., Silin, D., "Frequency-Dependent Seismic Reflection From a Permeable Boundary in a Francture Reservoir, " SEG/New Orleans Annual Meeting, 2006

Goloshum, G., Silin, D., "Using Frequency-Dependent Seismic Attributes in Imaging of a Fractured Reservoir Zone," SEG 2005

Korneev, V.A., Silin, D., Goloshubin, G.M., Vingalov, V., "Seismic Imaginig of Oil Production Rate," SEG Int'l Expostion and 74th Annual Meeting, Denver, Colorado, 2004

"Offshore Petroleum Exploration Opportunities On Offer in Australia," PESA NEWS, Australia in Focus, October/November 2006, 1-5



Gas Exploration Software for Reducing Uncertainty in Gas Concentration Estimates, CR-2342

See More Enviromental Technologies