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2nd Edition: Geological Process-Based Forward Modeling AAPG Call For Abstracts
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Shale may be the reservoir du jour, but a wide range of conventional reservoirs still hold promise in diverse regions throughout the world.
Analog outcrops are commonly used to develop predictive reservoir models and provide quantitative parameters that describe the architecture and facies distribution of sedimentary deposits at a subseismic scale, all of which aids exploration and production strategies. The focus of this study is to create a detailed geological model that contains realistic reservoir parameters and to apply nonlinear acoustic full-waveform prestack seismic inversion to this model to investigate whether this information can be recovered and to examine which geological features can be resolved by this process.
Outcrop data from the fluviodeltaic sequence of the Book Cliffs (Utah) are used for the geological and petrophysical two-dimensional model. Eight depositional environments are populated with average petrophysical reservoir properties adopted from a North Sea field. These units are termed lithotypes here. Synthetic acoustic prestack seismic data are then generated with the help of an algorithm that includes all internal multiples and transmission effects. A nonlinear acoustic full-waveform inversion is then applied to the synthetic data, and two media parameters, compressibility (inversely related to the square of the compressional wave velocity vP) and bulk density, ρ, are recovered at a resolution higher than the shortest wavelength in the data. This is possible because the inversion exploits the nonlinear nature of the relationship between the recorded data and the medium contrast properties. In conventional linear inversion, these details remain masked by the noise caused by the nonlinear effects in the data. Random noise added to the data is rejected by the nonlinear inversion, contributing to improved spatial resolution. The results show that the eight lithotypes can be successfully recovered at a subseismic scale and with a low degree of processing artifacts. This technique can provide a useful basis for more accurate reservoir modeling and field development planning, allowing targeting of smaller reservoir units such as distributary channels and lower shoreface sands.
In prospective basins affected by exhumation, uncertainty commonly exists regarding the maximum burial depths of source, reservoir, and seal horizons. One such basin is the Otway Basin, an important gas province in southeastern Australia, which has witnessed several exhumation events. Here, we present estimates of net exhumation magnitudes for 110 onshore and offshore petroleum wells based on the sonic transit time analyses of Lower Cretaceous fluvial shales. Our results show significant post-Albian net exhumation in the eastern onshore Otway Basin (1500 m [4920 ft]) and a generally minor net exhumation (200 m [655 ft]) elsewhere in the Otway Basin, consistent with estimates based on thermal history data. The distribution of net exhumation magnitudes in relation to mid-Cretaceous and Neogene compressional structures indicates that exhumation was dominantly controlled by short-wavelength basin inversion driven by plate-boundary forces.
Deeper burial coupled with high geothermal gradients in the onshore eastern Otway Basin and along the northern basin margin during the early Cretaceous have rendered Lower Cretaceous source rocks mostly overmature, with any remaining hydrocarbons from the initial charge likely to be trapped in tightly compacted reservoirs and/or secondary (fracture-related) porosity. However, the embrittlement of these reservoirs during their deeper burial may present opportunities for the development of low-permeability plays through hydraulic fracturing where smectite clay minerals are illitized. Source rocks at near-maximum burial at present day are at temperatures suitable for gas generation, with key controls on prospectivity in these areas including the sealing potential of faulted traps and the relationship between charge and trap development.
Criteria for recognizing stratigraphic sequences are well established on continental margins but more challenging to apply in basinal settings. We report an investigation of the Upper Devonian Woodford Shale, Permian Basin, west Texas based on a set of four long cores, identifying sea level cycles and stratigraphic sequences in an organic-rich shale.
The Woodford Shale is dominated by organic-rich mudstone, sharply overlain by a bioturbated organic-poor mudstone that is consistent with a second-order eustatic sea level fall. Interbedded with the organic-rich mudstone are carbonate beds, chert beds, and radiolarian laminae, all interpreted as sediment gravity-flow deposits. Bundles of interbedded mudstone and carbonate beds alternate with intervals of organic-rich mudstone and thin radiolaria-rich laminae, defining a 5–10 m (16–33 ft)-thick third-order cyclicity. The former are interpreted to represent highstand systems tracts, whereas the latter are interpreted as representing falling stage, lowstand, and transgressive systems tracts. Carbonate beds predominate in the lower Woodford section, associated with highstand shedding at a second-order scale; chert beds predominate in the upper Woodford section, responding to the second-order lowstand.
Additional variability is introduced by geographic position. Wells nearest the western margin of the basin have the greatest concentration of carbonate beds caused by proximity to a carbonate platform. A well near the southern margin has the greatest concentration of chert beds, resulting from shedding of biogenic silica from a southern source. A well in the basin center has little chert and carbonate; here, third-order sea level cycles were primarily reflected in the stratigraphic distribution of radiolarian-rich laminae.
Data derived from core and well-logs are essentially one-dimensional and determining eolian system type and likely dimensions and orientation of architectural elements present in subsurface eolian reservoir successions is typically not possible from direct observation alone. This is problematic because accurate predictions of the three-dimensional distribution of interdune and dune-plinth elements that commonly form relatively low-permeability baffles to flow, of net:gross, and of the likely distribution of elements with common porosity-permeability properties at a variety of scales in eolian reservoirs is crucial for effective reservoir characterization.
Direct measurement of a variety of parameters relating to aspects of the architecture of eolian elements preserved as ancient outcropping successions has enabled the establishment of a series of empirical relationships with which to make first-order predictions of a range of architectural parameters from subsurface successions that are not observable directly in core. In many preserved eolian dune successions, the distribution of primary lithofacies types tends to occur in a predictable manner for different types of dune sets, whereby the pattern of distribution of grain-flow, wind-ripple, and grain-fall strata can be related to set architecture, which itself can be related back to original bedform type.
Detailed characterization of individual eolian dune sets and relationships between neighboring dune and interdune elements has been undertaken through outcrop studies of the Permian Cedar Mesa Sandstone and the Jurassic Navajo Sandstone in southern Utah. The style of transition between lithofacies types seen vertically in preserved sets, and therefore measurable in analogous core intervals, enables predictions to be made regarding the relationship between preserved set thickness, individual grain-flow thickness, original bedform dimensional properties (e.g., wavelength and height), the likely proportion of the original bedform that is preserved to form a set, the angle of climb of the system, and the likely along-crest variability of facies distributions in sets generated by the migration of sinuous-crested bedforms. A series of graphical models depict common facies arrangements in bedsets for a suite of dune types and these demonstrate inherent facies variability.
Quartet made its debut in the industry this year. The reviews are in and it looks like the value brought to the field is proving it to be innovative and time-saving.
The high-cost of drilling environments has been addressed by a new technology using wireless telemetry to feed real-time data back to the surface. Here's one review.
The Marcellus Shale is considered to be the largest unconventional shale-gas resource in the United States. Two critical factors for unconventional shale reservoirs are the response of a unit to hydraulic fracture stimulation and gas content. The fracture attributes reflect the geomechanical properties of the rocks, which are partly related to rock mineralogy. The natural gas content of a shale reservoir rock is strongly linked to organic matter content, measured by total organic carbon (TOC). A mudstone lithofacies is a vertically and laterally continuous zone with similar mineral composition, rock geomechanical properties, and TOC content. Core, log, and seismic data were used to build a three-dimensional (3-D) mudrock lithofacies model from core to wells and, finally, to regional scale. An artificial neural network was used for lithofacies prediction. Eight petrophysical parameters derived from conventional logs were determined as critical inputs. Advanced logs, such as pulsed neutron spectroscopy, with log-determined mineral composition and TOC data were used to improve and confirm the quantitative relationship between conventional logs and lithofacies. Sequential indicator simulation performed well for 3-D modeling of Marcellus Shale lithofacies. The interplay of dilution by terrigenous detritus, organic matter productivity, and organic matter preservation and decomposition affected the distribution of Marcellus Shale lithofacies distribution, which may be attributed to water depth and the distance to shoreline. The trend of normalized average gas production rate from horizontal wells supported our approach to modeling Marcellus Shale lithofacies. The proposed 3-D modeling approach may be helpful for optimizing the design of horizontal well trajectories and hydraulic fracture stimulation strategies.
The Distinguished Lecture program, funded in part by the AAPG Foundation, is the Association’s flagship initiative for spreading the latest in science, technology and professional information.
Ideally, seismic data should be acquired at high spatial and temporal sampling, so that the small subsurface features of interest can be clearly seen on the seismic display.
Join us for the 4th Edition of: "Stratigraphic Traps of the Middle East" workshop.
The workshop will be hosted by AAPG in Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia 5-7 March 2024.
As oil and gas exploration and production occur in deeper basins and more complex geologic settings, accurate characterization and modeling of reservoirs to improve estimated ultimate recovery (EUR) prediction, optimize well placement and maximize recovery become paramount. Existing technologies for reservoir characterization and modeling have proven inadequate for delivering detailed 3D predictions of reservoir architecture, connectivity and rock quality at scales that impact subsurface flow patterns and reservoir performance. Because of the gap between the geophysical and geologic data available (seismic, well logs, cores) and the data needed to model rock heterogeneities at the reservoir scale, constraints from external analog systems are needed. Existing stratigraphic concepts and deposition models are mostly empirical and seldom provide quantitative constraints on fine-scale reservoir heterogeneity. Current reservoir modeling tools are challenged to accurately replicate complex, nonstationary, rock heterogeneity patterns that control connectivity, such as shale layers that serve as flow baffles and barriers.
Request a visit from Tao Sun!
The carbonate sequences that were deposited in the now exhumed Tethyan Ocean influence many aspects of our lives today, either by supplying the energy that warms our homes and the fuel that powers our cars or providing the stunning landscapes for both winter and summer vacations. They also represent some of the most intensely studied rock formations in the world and have provided geoscientists with a fascinating insight into the turbulent nature of 250 Million years of Earth’s history.
By combining studies from the full range of geoscience disciplines this presentation will trace the development of these carbonate sequences from their initial formation on the margins of large ancient continental masses to their present day locations in and around the Greater Mediterranean and Near East region.
The first order control on growth patterns and carbonate platform development by the regional plate-tectonic setting, underlying basin architecture and fluctuations in sea level will be illustrated. The organisms that contribute to sequence development will be revealed to be treasure troves of forensic information. Finally, these rock sequences will be shown to contain all the ingredients necessary to form and retain hydrocarbons and the manner in which major post-depositional tectonic events led to the formation of some of the largest hydrocarbon accumulations in the world will be demonstrated.
Request a visit from Keith Gerdes!
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