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3D Outcrop Studies of Tidally-Influnced Reservoirs: Using Lidar to Quantify Architecture and Heterogeneity Distribution

Darrin Burton
Bureau of Economic Geology, University of Texas at Austin Austin, Texas, USA
[email protected]

The utility of reservoir models are highly dependant on the accuracy of geologic framework model. The appropriate outcrop analog can provide geologists and engineers with a correct understanding of reservoir geometry and heterogeneity distribution. However, traditional outcrop studies are limited in their precision due to sampling rate (i.e. 100’s of meters between 1D measured sections) and measurement accuracy. New digital technologies are increasing the resolution, accuracy, and repeatability of outcrop-based studies. Improved outcrop studies will result in far more realistic geologic framework model for reservoir studies.

Lidar (light detection and ranging) has emerged in the past few years as an important tool for reservoir modeling. Lidar can quickly and accurately collect millions of spatially referenced points that mimic the outcrop surface. As a result, lidar data provides digital, quantitative information about reservoir geometry and heterogeneity from outcrop analogs.

While using lidar data to condition reservoir models has become popular in recent years, publish studies have rarely utilized the quantitative power of lidar to understand reservoir geometry. Also, few geologic studies have used the remote sensing capabilities of lidar. In this study we investigate the utility of lidar as a spatial and spectral tool to quantify V-shale, net-to-gross, sand/shale bed geometries, and use lidar reflectance to simulate gamma ray logs. Lidar data will be integrated with traditional outcrop studies, core analysis, and behind-the-outcrop well logs to condition framework models for reservoir simulation. These detailed models will help us to better understand the effects of scale, heterogeneity, architecture, and depositional setting on subsurface reservoir performance.


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90094 © 2009 AAPG Foundation Grants in Aid