A Major Breakthrough in Fracture Recognition from Seismic - Important Implications for Resource Operations & Recoveries
Oppermann, Ralf H.*1
(1) OPPtimal Exploration & Development Pty Ltd, Perth, WA, Australia.
In recent years, various automated fault extraction techniques have been developed to support or replace manual fault mapping efforts, which are typically labour-intensive, time-consuming and imprecise. Ultimately, automated fault extraction offers the opportunity to replace the subjective interpretation of faults with the objective measurement of faults.
This paper presents new techniques and workflows that have been developed to integrate highest-resolution 3D seismic image processing results with the detailed calibration and review of various seismic, well and also mining data. The new methods have delivered groundbreaking insights into the physical description of resources.
Properly calibrated, 3-dimensional fault & fracture network volumes deliver faster and more reliable and objective fault evaluations, and a better understanding of structural geometries and fault populations. The key benefit of hi-res automated fault extraction, however, is a marked increase in fault resolution. With the increased resolution, much higher fault/fracture densities are found than previously recognised. Also, many fault/fracture penetrations in wells are identified that were previously not recognized from seismic data or even well data. These seismic fault penetrations are often directly linked with drilling issues (e.g. fluid losses, gas kicks, borehole stability/geomechanical issues) and production issues, or opportunities (e.g. water/gas channelling, compartmentalisation, access to natural fracture networks).
Multiple examples from Oil & Gas projects around the world demonstrate that the new techniques provide a step-change in understanding drilling, production and safety issues in existing wells. They furthermore can be utilised to optimise future resource activities and recoveries, and increase the safety of future operations.
A new Improved Resource Recovery technique has been developed that increases recoveries from fractured, tight, unconventional and compartmentalised reservoirs.
A new Well Screening & Planning technique has been developed that reduces drilling risks and costs and optimises well placements within the resource area.
A focused application of the new technology workflows can deliver increased recoveries from resources. And it can result in cheaper, safer and more successful drilling and mining operations.
As such, the techniques are viewed as Best Practise tools for resource development planning and execution.
AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90141©2012, GEO-2012, 10th Middle East Geosciences Conference and Exhibition, 4-7 March 2012, Manama, Bahrain