Innovators in Geoscience Technology Series

Interview with Javier Tellez-Rodriguez

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)

Digital images of outcrops that have been acquired by drone can be used to develop high-resolution depositional models and more accurate reservoir models. Welcome to an interview with Javier Tellez-Rodriguez, who discusses his work with the Burro Canyon Formation in southwest Colorado in which is uses drones for high-quality 3D imaging.

What is your name and your relation to geology?

My name is Javier Tellez, I obtained my BSc in geology from the Universidad Nacional – Colombia and I my MSc in Geology from The University of Oklahoma. I worked for Occidental Petroleum Colombia as a reservoir geologist for six years and then in 2014 I moved to Norman, Oklahoma to start my postgraduate education. Currently, I am a Ph.D. Geology student at the University of Oklahoma working for the Reservoir Characterization and Modeling Laboratory.

What is your main research objective?

I am working in western Colorado, Piceance Basin. My objectives are to reconstruct the depositional environment and sub-environments, and to characterize architectural elements (bed-set, amalgamated bed-sets and floodplains) both dimensionally and statistically, for a better understanding of reservoir heterogeneity and its applications in modeling.

Which formations are you currently studying? Why?

I am currently working at the Burro Canyon Formation in Grand Junction and Delta, southwest Colorado. This formation offers a great exposed outcrop stretching for 50 miles and previous research about its fluvial system provides a solid background for our investigation. Also, this formation produces hydrocarbons in northern areas, therefore, subsurface information is available for testing our modeling hypothesis.

Please describe your work with mapping using drones - what kind of drones did you use? What was your 3D modeling software?

I am using a Phantom 3 professional by DJI. The main use of the drone is to take pictures in grids or patterns both in aerial and oblique views. The combination of drone imagery, traditional fieldwork, and ground control points (GPS points) allow for three-dimensional reconstructions of outcrop exposures. Photoshop and Pix4D are used for the photography processing and analysis. Then, PETREL software is employed for reservoir 3D modeling.

Where did you map? What kinds of analysis did you do? What kinds of 3D models did you build? What were some of the most exciting things you learned?

I am currently mapping the Burro Canyon formation to determine vertical stacking patterns and the distribution of architectural elements within those sequences.

After the models are calibrated and georeferenced, dimensions and occurrences of architectural elements within the outcrops are considered for detail evaluation of sandstone-bodies. The results are then used as input in 3D reservoir modeling process.

Two models are constructed. Three-dimensional outcrop models for extracting georeferenced data about sandstone bodies. Next, I use the collected data and combine it with traditional fieldwork methods and subsurface well information for building three-dimensional subsurface models.

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