2019 AAPG Annual Convention and Exhibition:

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Rapid Modeling of Microbial Carbonates Using a Sketch Based Tool


Microbial carbonates typically contain undular, domal, conical or columnar build-up geometries. Internally, these build-ups show complex layering which may be horizontal to steeply dipping and often interrupted by large cavities or vertical conduits. The spatial organization of the build-ups can be random, along alignments or in complex (polygonal) networks. These microbial build-up geometries and associated heterogeneities are difficult and time consuming to capture in conventional reservoir modeling workflows. The templates to represent them are either unavailable, or inflexible and unrealistic, and a high grid resolution is required to capture the detail.

Sketch-based interfaces and modelling (SBIM) is an approach that uses a number of 2D digital sketches to generate 3D geometries of interest. SBIM has the potential to overcome limitations of traditional reservoir modelling workflows, allowing complex geometries to be created rapidly using a simple, intuitive interface. Sketches may be on a blank screen to test concepts, or guided by 2D or 3D images or data from modern or ancient analogues or subsurface reservoirs. SBIM allows rapid creation of different geometries to test and compare diverse hypotheses or concepts.

Here we demonstrate the utility of SBIM to create 3D models of complex build-up geometries in microbial carbonates. Multiple realistic 3D models are generated across scales representing, for example, the internal detail and central conduit of conical build-ups, and the alignment of build-ups in polygonal networks. The 3D models are created in the order of minutes to an hour. We demonstrate SBIM implemented within the Rapid Reservoir Modelling (RRM) software. RRM allows users to sketch geometry in 3D at any scale and compute relevant parameters for characterization or implementation in larger scale models (upscaling).