AAPG Middle East Geoscience Technology Workshop, Integrated Emerging Exploration Concepts

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Integrating Numerical Modelling Approaches in Conceptual Hydrocarbon Exploration


This communication discusses the return on experience of the latest innovation tackling Hydrocarbon Exploration in mixed sedimentary systems (i.e., carbonate, evaporites and siliciclastics) using integrated modelling approaches and sensitivity analysis. Predicting the presence as well as the lateral and vertical extent and heterogeneities of Petroleum Systems elements remains a major challenge in the Oil and Gas industry as traditional conceptual and/or stochastic techniques appear to be insufficient in capturing vertical and lateral variability of facies and textures in complex reservoirs. The use of Forward Stratigraphic models helps testing the proposed Conceptual Plays by achieving a more geologically sound and constrained 3D sequence stratigraphic framework that results in the generation of ecological, bathymetric and facies maps needed to better localize the development of reservoirs, seals as well as stratigraphic traps. The workflow developed following various international projects (Arabian Plate, North and Central America, Europe) tackles the several limitations witnessed while using stochastic methodologies by (1) achieving a multi-disciplinary data integration, (2) accounting for the evolution of geological processes with time, (3) representing complex sedimentary geometries (algal mounds, reefs, aggradation, progradation, clinoforms), (4) assessing the sensitivity of the proposed geological model with regards to the evolution of environmental conditions and by (5) generating multiple plausible geological scenarios and facies probability/risk grids (6) Integrating the FSM results in a Basin Model to map the hydrocarbon expulsion, migration, charge and accumulation with regards to the tectonostratigraphic evolution of the system. The ultimate aim of this approach is to push the industry towards more geologically plausible and integrated numerical techniques to tackle the Play Fairway Assessment and de-risk petroleum systems elements.