Compared to other geophysical methods for monitoring subsurface dynamic systems, time-lapse gravity has one important advantage in that the measurements are directly sensitive to the variations in density, which is solely related to the amount of mass changes per volume. In oil and gas reservoirs, such changes are primarily due to fluid movement and substitutions. Thus, while seismic method provides unparalleled structural resolution, time-lapse gravity method has the potential for characterizing the “content” that is the fluid saturation within “containers” delineated by seismic images. There have been significant advances in instrumentation, data acquisition, and quantitative interpretation in time-lapse gravity methods. As a result, we may be on the threshold of a new phase in the application of this method. This paper will focus on the quantitative interpretation techniques for time-lapse gravity data through different inversions and the associated applications in characterizing both the static and dynamic properties of the reservoirs. In particular, we will present and review inversion techniques for recovering time-lapse density distribution in reservoir and joint inversion methods of time-lapse gravity data with production data for imaging the permeability and saturation distribution in reservoirs.


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