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4D microgravity method for waterflood surveillance: Part III – 4D absolute microgravity surveys at Prudhoe Bay, Alaska

Publisher –
Society of Exploration Geophysicists. Geophysics, Vol. 73, No. 6, Nov. – Dec. 2008; Pgs. WA163–WA171.

Authors –
John F. Ferguson, The University of Texas at Dallas, Richardson, Texas, U.S.A.;
F. J. Klopping, Micro-g LaCoste, Lafayette, Colorado, U.S.A.;
Tianyou Chen, FugroAirborne Surveys, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada;
John E. Seibert, Seibert andAssociates, LLC, Anchorage, Alaska, U.S.A.;
Jennifer L. Hare*, Zonge Engineering & Research Organization, Inc., Tucson, Arizona, U.S.A.;
Jerry L. Brady, BP Exploration Alaska, Inc., Anchorage, Alaska, U.S.A.

Article – [pdf] O&G_PrudhoeIII

The 4D microgravity method is becoming a mature technology. A project to develop practical measurement and interpretation techniques was conducted at Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, from 1994 through 2002. Beginning in 2003 these techniques have been systematically applied to monitor a waterflood in the gas cap of the Prudhoe Bay reservoir. Approximately 300 stations in a 150 km2 area are reoccupied in each survey year with sub-5 µGal precision absolute gravity and centimeter precision Global Positioning System GPS geodetic measurements. The 4D gravity measured over epochs 2005–2003, 2006–2003, and 2007–2003 has been successfully modeled to
track the mass of water injected since late in 2002. A new and improved version of the A-10 field-portable absolute gravity meter was developed in conjunction with this project and has proven to be a key element in the success of the methodology. The use of an absolute gravity meter in a field survey of this magnitude is unprecedented. There are substantial differences between a 4D absolute microgravity survey and a conventional gravity survey in terms of station occupation procedures, GPS techniques, and the 4D elevation correction. We estimate that the overall precision of the 4D gravity signal in each epoch is less than 10 µGal.