Improved microseismic event location by inclusion of a priori dip particle motion: A case study from Ekofisk

G. A. Jones*, D. Raymer, K. Chambers, J M Kendall

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Microseismic monitoring in petroleum settings provides insights into induced and naturally occurring stress changes. Such data are commonly acquired using an array of sensors in a borehole, providing measures of arrival times and polarizations. Events are located using 1D velocity models, P- and S-wave arrival times and the azimuths of P-wave particle motions. However in the case of all the sensors being deployed in a vertical or near-vertical borehole, such analysis leads to an inherent 180° ambiguity in the source location. Here we present a location procedure that removes this ambiguity by using the dip of the particle motion as an a priori information to constrain the initial source location. The new procedure is demonstrated with a dataset acquired during hydraulic fracture stimulation, where we know which side of the monitoring well the events are located. Using a 5-step location procedure, we then reinvestigate a microseismic data set acquired in April 1997 at the Ekofisk oilfield in the North Sea. Traveltimes for 2683 candidate events are manually picked. A noise-weighted analytic-signal polarization analysis is used to estimate the dip and azimuth of P-wave particle motions. A modified t-test is used to statistically assess the reliability of event location. As a result, 1462 events are located but 627 are deemed to be statistically reliable. The application of a hierarchal cluster analysis highlights coherent structures that cluster around wells and inferred faults. Most events cluster at a depth of roughly 3km in the Ekofisk chalk formation but very little seismicity is observed from the underlying Tor chalk formation, which is separated from the Ekofisk formation by an impermeable layer. We see no evidence for seismicity in the overburden but such events may be too distant to detect. The resulting picture of microseismicity at Ekofisk is very different from those presented in previous studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)727-737
Number of pages11
JournalGeophysical Prospecting
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2010


  • Ekofisk
  • Microseismicity
  • Particle motion
  • Reservoir monitoring


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