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3-D Geological Models: What We Should Have Learnt from 2-D and How to Avoid Expensive Conceptual Mistakes and Numerical Errors in 3-D

Ricki Walker1, Dylan Griffiths1, and Barrie Wells2
1Department of Informatics, Gwynedd, United Kingdom
2Conwy Valley Systems Limited, Conwy, United Kingdom

This paper sets out to show how the algorithms underpinning geometrical modelling in 3D can significantly affect the results we see, both in scope and in volumetrics output from software. Software performing tasks as diverse as reservoir simulation and structural reconstruction, in fields as dissimilar as GIS and forward modelling.
The audience will learn why it is important to understand how modelling software uses the data given to it and will see how experience in traditional mapping and contouring and experience with 2D (and so-called 2.5D) software packages can be used to predict how we can make the best use of 3D modelling software.
The work presented is the culmination of a five year research programme involving a team of geologists, mathematicians and modellers working on both well established and newly developed algorithms to test what works and under what geological conditions. This work has shown that well-established and widely used algorithms have significant limitations, and has both catalogued and cross-related them to the geological conditions under which they do and do not work. Understanding these limitations and why they arise will improve 3D modelling, whether for reservoir simulation or creating 3D cross-sections.

Presentation GEO India Expo XXI, Noida, New Delhi, India 2008©AAPG Search and Discovery