Fundamentals of Rock Physics for Exploration

Aiman Bakhorji


One day

Intended Audience

Entry to intermediate level

Knowledge/Experience/Education Required

The course targets geophysicists and geologists with a basic understanding of seismic reflection theory and seismic reservoir properties. Basic knowledge of petrophysics will be an advantage. This course focuses on understanding and practice.


Every year, finding new hydrocarbon potential is harder, riskier, and more expensive as we move from conventional to unconventional resources. For decades, seismic was used to image subsurface structures and derive elastic rock properties using seismic inversion algorithms. The challenge is how to produce seismic products that are meaningful to exploration and reservoir development to enable swift management decisions and risk reduction. The key to overcoming this complexity and risk has always been the effective integration of diverse petroleum technologies that is accomplished through rock physics.

This course will discuss the principles of rock physics. A brief historical overview of the importance of rock physics in the oil industry, the course will demonstrate the necessity for understanding of how individual rock properties affect the P-wave and S-wave velocity variations within the earth.

The course will focus on the following:

  • Basic parameters
  • Solid and fluid elastic properties
  • Shear wave velocity prediction
  • Experimental rock physics (static and dynamic)
  • Rock physics models and bounds (theoretical and empirical)
  • Solid and fluid mixing theories
  • Gassmann’s fluid substitution model theory and application
  • Factors affecting elastic properties (solid, fluid, environmental)
  • Understanding the rock physics templates (RPT)
  • The use of RPT in reservoir characterization
  • Quantitative seismic interpretation

Learner Outcomes

This course targets most geoscientists working in exploration and development. The participants will:

  • Learn the importance of rock physics in exploration and reservoir characterization
  • Predict saturated velocities and elastic properties using Gassmann’s model
  • Conduct a feasibility study (“What If” Scenarios)
  • Create a rock physics template/models for quantitative interpretation
  • Interpret a rock physics diagnosis and the effect of mechanical and chemical compaction in reservoir rock
  • Calculate and verify VP/VS and other properties from core measurements and logs
  • Use a quantitative seismic interpretation workflow to identify the sweet spot

Instructor Biography

Aiman Bakhorji