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Low Resistivity Reservoirs: Path to Explore, Discover and Develop Call for Abstracts
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Isolated carbonate buildups (ICBs) are commonly attractive exploration targets. However, identifying ICBs based only on seismic data can be difficult for a variety of reasons. These include poor-quality two-dimensional data and a basic similarity between ICBs and other features such as volcanoes, erosional remnants, and tilted fault blocks. To address these difficulties and develop reliable methods to identify ICBs, 234 seismic images were analyzed. The images included proven ICBs and other features, such as folds, volcanoes, and basement highs, which may appear similar to ICBs when imaged in seismic data. From this analysis, 18 identification criteria were derived to distinguish ICBs from non-ICB features. These criteria can be grouped into four categories: regional constraints, analysis of basic seismic geometries, analysis of geophysical details, and finer-scale seismic geometries. Systematically assessing the criteria is useful because it requires critical evaluation of the evidence present in the available data, working from the large-scale regional geology to the fine details of seismic response. It is also useful to summarize the criteria as a numerical score to facilitate comparison between different examples and different classes of ICBs and non-ICBs. Our analysis of scores of different classes of features suggests that the criteria do have some discriminatory power, but significant challenges remain.
Three-D seismic surveys usually are designed in a way that the subsurface features are regularly sampled in different dimensions, comprising the spatial coordinates, offsets and azimuths.
A three-dimensional seismic data set and published data from exploration wells were used to reconstruct the tectonostratigraphic evolution of the Mandal High area, southern North Sea, Norway. The Mandal High is an elongated southeast-northwest–trending horst. Three fault families in the Lower Permian sequence, inherited from the basement structural grain of Caledonian origin, are interpreted: (1) a north-northwest–south-southeast–striking fault family, (2) a northeast-southwest–striking fault family, and (3) a near east-west–striking fault family. In addition, an east-southeast–west-northwest–striking fault family (4) that formed during Late Jurassic rifting and was reverse reactivated in the Late Cretaceous is interpreted. We suggest that inversion occurred because of small dextral motion along fault family 1. A final fault family (5) displays various strike orientations and is associated with salt movements.
Seven chronostratigraphic sequences defined by well data and recognized on three-dimensional seismic data are interpreted and mapped: Early Permian rifting in a continental environment; Late Permian deposition of the Zechstein salt and flooding; Triassic continental rifting; uplift and erosion in the Middle Jurassic with deposition of shallow-marine and deltaic sediments; rifting and transgression in a deep-marine environment during the Late Jurassic; a post-rift phase in a marine environment during the Early Cretaceous; and flooding and deposition of the Chalk Group in the Late Cretaceous. An eighth sequence was interpreted—Paleogene–Neogene—but has not been studied in detail. This sequence is dominated by progradation from the east and basin subsidence. Well and seismic data over the Mandal High reveal that large parts of the high were subaerially exposed from Late Permian to Late Jurassic or Early Cretaceous, providing a local source of sediments for adjacent basins.
Similar to the Utsira High, where several large hydrocarbon discoveries have been recently seen, the Mandal High might consist of a set of petroleum plays, including fractured crystalline basement and shallow-marine systems along the flanks of the high, thereby opening up future exploration opportunities.
Seismic Interpretation is the extraction of subsurface geologic information from seismic data. On that definition we all are agreed.
Thus far, the subject of deep-marine sands emplaced by baroclinic currents associated with internal waves and internal tides as potential reservoirs has remained an alien topic in petroleum exploration. Internal waves are gravity waves that oscillate along oceanic pycnoclines. Internal tides are internal waves with a tidal frequency. Internal solitary waves (i.e., solitons), the most common type, are commonly generated near the shelf edge (100–200 m [328–656 ft] in bathymetry) and in the deep ocean over areas of sea-floor irregularities, such as mid-ocean ridges, seamounts, and guyots. Empirical data from 51 locations in the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, Arctic, and Antarctic oceans reveal that internal solitary waves travel in packets. Internal waves commonly exhibit (1) higher wave amplitudes (5–50 m [16–164 ft]) than surface waves (2 m [6.56 ft]), (2) longer wavelengths (0.5–15 km [0.31–9 mi]) than surface waves (100 m [328 ft]), (3) longer wave periods (5–50 min) than surface waves (9–10 s), and (4) higher wave speeds (0.5–2 m s–1 [1.64–6.56 ft s–1]) than surface waves (25 cm s–1 [10 in. s–1]). Maximum speeds of 48 cm s–1 (19 in. s–1) for baroclinic currents were measured on guyots. However, core-based sedimentologic studies of modern sediments emplaced by baroclinic currents on continental slopes, in submarine canyons, and on submarine guyots are lacking. No cogent sedimentologic or seismic criteria exist for distinguishing ancient counterparts. Outcrop-based facies models of these deposits are untenable. Therefore, potential exists for misinterpreting deep-marine baroclinic sands as turbidites, contourites, basin-floor fans, and others. Economic risks associated with such misinterpretations could be real.
Integrated three-dimensional (3-D) paleomorphologic and sedimentary modeling was used to predict the basin architecture and depositional pattern of Pleistocene forearc basin turbidites in a gas hydrate field along the northeast Nankai Trough, off central Japan. Structural unfolding and stratigraphic decompaction of the targeted stratigraphic unit resulted in successful modeling of the paleobathymetry at the time of deposition. This paleobathymetry was characterized by a simple U-shaped paleominibasin. Subsequent turbidity current modeling on the reconstructed paleobathymetric surface demonstrated morphologically controlled turbidity current behavior and selective turbidite sand distribution within the minibasin, which strongly suggests the development of a confined turbidite system. Among three candidate inflow patterns, a northeasterly inflow pattern was determined as most likely. In this scenario, flow reflection and deflection caused ponding and a concentration of sandy turbidite accumulation in the basin center, which facilitated filling of the minibasin. Such a sedimentary character is undetected by seismic data in the studied gas hydrate reservoir formation because of hydrate-cementation–induced seismic anomalies. Our model suggests that 3-D horizon surfaces mapped from 3-D seismic data along with well-log data can be used to predict paleobasin characteristics and depositional processes in deep-water turbidite systems even if seismic profiles cannot be determined because of the presence of gas hydrates.
In the March issue of Geophysical Corner, my colleagues Marcilio Matos and AAPG member Kurt Marfurt discussed the concept of phase unwrapping and the computation of phase residues.
A joint AAPG–Society of Petroleum Engineers–Society of Exploration Geophysicists Hedberg Research Conference was held in Saint-Cyr sur Mer, France, on July 8 to 13, 2012, to review current research and explore future research directions related to improved production from carbonate reservoirs. Eighty-seven scientists from academia and industry (split roughly equally) attended for five days. A primary objective for the conference was to explore novel connections among different disciplines (primarily within geoscience and reservoir engineering) as a way to define new research opportunities. Research areas represented included carbonate sedimentology and stratigraphy, structural geology, geomechanics, hydrology, reactive transport modeling, seismic imaging (including four-dimensional seismic, tomography, and seismic forward modeling), geologic modeling and forward modeling of geologic processes, petrophysics, statistical methods, numerical methods for simulation, reservoir engineering, pore-scale processes, in-situ flow experiments (e.g., x-ray computed tomography), visualization, and methods for data interaction.
Interpreters use phase each time they design a wavelet to tie seismic data to a well log synthetic.
3-D seismic data are being viewed as the way to reduce drilling cost overruns and maximize ultimate recovery from a shale-producing field – and for relatively minimal additional cost.
Three-dimensional (3D) seismic-reflection surveys provide one of the most important data types for understanding subsurface depositional systems. Quantitative analysis is commonly restricted to geophysical interpretation of elastic properties of rocks in the subsurface.
Wide availability of 3D seismic-reflection data and integration provide opportunities for quantitative analysis of subsurface stratigraphic sequences. Here, we integrate traditional seismic-stratigraphic interpretation with quantitative geomorphologic analysis and numerical modeling to explore new insights into submarine-channel evolution.
Request a visit from Jacob Covault!
Around 170 million years ago, the Gulf of Mexico basin flooded catastrophically, and the pre-existing landscape, which had been a very rugged, arid, semi-desert world, was drowned beneath an inland sea of salt water. The drowned landscape was then buried under kilometers of salt, perfectly preserving the older topography. Now, with high-quality 3D seismic data, the salt appears as a transparent layer, and the details of the drowned world can be seen in exquisite detail, providing a unique snapshot of the world on the eve of the flooding event. We can map out hills and valleys, and a system of river gullies and a large, meandering river system. These rivers in turn fed into a deep central lake, whose surface was about 750m below global sea level. This new knowledge also reveals how the Louann Salt was deposited. In contrast to published models, the salt was deposited in a deep water, hypersaline sea. We can estimate the rate of deposition, and it was very fast; we believe that the entire thickness of several kilometers of salt was laid down in a few tens of thousands of years, making it possibly the fastest sustained deposition seen so far in the geological record.
Request a visit from Frank Peel!
In comparison with the known boundary conditions that promote salt deformation and flow in sedimentary basins, the processes involved with the mobilization of clay-rich detrital sediments are far less well established. This talk will use seismic examples in different tectonic settings to document the variety of shale geometries that can be formed under brittle and ductile deformations.
Request a visit from Juan I. Soto!
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