Rockies 3D; Business Drivers and the Multiple Benefits of the Full 3D Seismic and Associated Data-Sets
Vincent G. Rigatti, Jennifer Bates, and Marc Schutt
Questar E & P, Denver, CO
Much of the land in the Rockies inter-mountain petroleum basins is remote and controlled by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The decision to acquire regional-scale (+20 square miles) 3D seismic in the area is not an easy one as the financial commitment is high and the permitting and acquisition process is usually complex. In addition there can be severe topography, and critical wildlife habitat as well as historic cultural sites which all need to be incorporated into the survey design and future development plans. Due to this the permitting and pre-planning process can be complex and take several months to several years in the extreme case. However, once the business decision to acquire 3D has been made the benefits are multiple, and not limited to seismic data and associated drilling/development alone. Some of the full data-set benefits include:
1) High resolution aerial photography and/or Lidar. These pre-acquisition images are not only beneficial from the planning standpoint but also provide detail on surface topography, critical vegetation, land reclamation, water resources, existing roads, well locations and associated facilities.
2) Regional archeological surveys.
3) From the drilling standpoint, once the data has been processed and interpreted 3D seismic can reduce risk through the identification of shallow gas hazards, over-pressured zones and faulted/fractures intervals.
4) From the geologic and prospecting standpoint 3D seismic provides high resolution detail of subsurface structure and stratigraphy which can supply a significant reduction in pre-drill exploration/development risking.
5) From a reserve booking standpoint the structural and stratigraphic detail imaged by 3D seismic can greatly aid in assigning un-drilled well locations into the PUD, Probable and Possible categories.
AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90092©2009 AAPG Rocky Mountain Section, July 9-11, 2008, Denver, Colorado