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Nelson, Ronald A., Amoco, Exploration & Production Technology Group, Houston, Texas

Abstract: Modern Approaches to Exploration in Fractured Reservoirs

Fractured reservoirs have been an important part of the history of the petroleum industry worldwide, but they have always challenged us by their complexity and seemingly unpredictable nature. These reservoirs have inherent difficulties in accurately determining their volumes and in predicting their performance through time. In the last 20 years, however, advances in methodology and in the quantification of various fractured reservoir properties have allowed us to better define those parameters critical to working with these reservoirs. These new techniques fall into the general categories of advancements of log characterization, reservoir property measurement, quantification of fracture distributions, reservoir simulation, assigning drilling locations directions, and linking fracture and matrix diagenesis.

The modern approach to working with and exploring for fractured reservoirs involves the use of new quantitative approaches in a multidisciplinary, integrated manner. Work flow from characterization through upscaling to simulation should occur seamlessly, with the roles of geologist, geophysicist, and engineer becoming blurred. Although we have come a long way in our understanding of fractured reservoirs and how we quantify them, emphasis must still be placed on refining our exploration strategies. Most companies still overestimate technical risk in these reservoirs and underestimate the upside case in economic risk determinations. Guidelines will be presented to help solve these persisting problems.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90934©1997-1998 AAPG International Distinguished Lecturers