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Structural Modeling to Optimise Basin Analysis

Armelle Kloppenburg, Alan Gibbs, and Serena Jones
Midland Valley Exploration, 144 West George Street, G2 2HG, Glasgow, UK

The process of developing a geometrically valid description of structures such as stratigraphic beds, folds, faults and fractures and understanding the development of these structures in 3D space and through time is one key component of structural modeling today. This process may be used to sequentially restore or forward model deformation due to folding, and/or faulting. At present, this type of structural modeling is done digitally either in 2D or 3D space using a series of restoration algorithms to mimic rock deformation processes in compressional, extensional, strike-slip and salt tectonic settings. The modeling is applicable from regional to reservoir scale.

Structural analysis and validation should be done at early stages of any project to promote geological understanding, minimize risk and optimize results. Key benefits of structural modeling for basin modeling include:

1Validation of your (seismic) interpretation to minimize risk
If a seismic interpretation of horizons and key structures such as folds, faults and fractures is invalid all further analysis will be incorrect. Use structural modeling to test your concept model as well as your 1st order fault linkages and fault and horizon geometries and cut-offs.
2Inclusion of the 4th dimension: Time
Understanding of the present and past geometry of horizons and key structures as well as the timing of deformation minimizes structural geometric risk. It aids in the identification of key controlling parameters such as geometrically focused flows, fault seal variation ‘Fault thieving’, reservoir compartmentalization by fault and/or fracture development, and kitchen extent. Perform sequential restorations either in 2D or 3D depending on the style of deformation.
3Integration of the basin model with other aspects of the hydrocarbon system
Structurally valid paleo-surfaces and paleo-volumes allow sediment pathway analysis. This approach when integrated with depositional environment models provides additional value to trap, charge and focussed flow modeling in the context of the structural geometric risk.
4Optimization of the design for your basin modeling study
Knowledge and analysis of present and past geometries, structural style and development, orientations, amplitudes and wavelengths of the main structures, structural trend, and tectonic transport direction allows you to optimize the location selection of a 1D study, the orientation of a 2D study, helps to identify the key parameters for risking.


AAPG Search and Discover Article #90066©2007 AAPG Hedberg Conference, The Hague, The Netherlands