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Integrating Guided Workflows, Good Practices, Training and Interactive Support Systems Directly Within the Interpretation Environment

Steve Freeman, Jeremy Campbell, Bjorn Goosen, and Simon Harris
Rock Deformation Research Ltd., Leeds, UK


Structural interpretation and structural modeling is now routinely performed by a broad range of geoscientists throughout the industry. Faulted prospects and fields are now more typically modelled by general geoscientists (geophysicists and geologists) rather than specialist structural geologists. The acceptance of the importance of structural modeling and its increased uptake in the industry is positive but it generates a number of challenges. One of the main issues is how can sufficient and appropriate guidance, support and training be effectively delivered to the geoscientists to aid their structural interpretation workflows? How can this guidance prompt the user to ask the right questions about their interpretation e.g. does it balance/reconstruct? How has the structure evolved through time? Are the offsets sensible and consistent with the stratigraphy?

In this contribution we will present a recently developed solution to this challenge. To address this knowledge gap we have created a software system that is embedded directly within the interpretation environment and allows instant access to background theoretical concepts, real world worked examples, video guidance, training datasets, good practice workflows and quality control steps.

In order to produce the optimum interpretation many different aspects need to be addressed. Structural geology theory and 3D spatial awareness are key but without a clear understanding of the capabilities and limitations of the specific software platform then the final result is likely to be restricted. Likewise theory alone is often of little use without awareness of the practical solutions to specific tasks. For non-structural geologists therefore, a good knowledge of the software platform may not be supported with similar awareness of the theories that limit which interpretations are viable and what tools are available to test for viability.

When general geoscientists are performing interpretations on a broad range of geology it is unlikely that they can access the appropriate training on the appropriate subject at the specific time they require it .Training will often lose much of its value if it is not turned into practical application in a relatively short amount of time. To address this requirement for instant access the solution we have developed is embedded within the interpretation environment. As such the training and support is available when the interpreter requires it. This training can both act as standalone support for the interpreter but also act in conjunction with more traditional classroom or field based training. Materials from these traditional training environments can be embedded into the interpretation environment.

The content of the system is extendable such that specific geological or interpretation styles can be added; likewise different organizations have different best practice workflows and guidelines. These can be embedded and made available directly to the interpreter from within the interpretation environment and from the objects they are interpreting.

Structural interpretations are being performed worldwide by interpreters and geomodellers with a broad range of backgrounds, many with little structural background. This is a necessity given the sheer volume of structural interpretation required by the industry to aid effective exploration and production programmes. These interpreters require support, guidance and training to be able to deliver robust structural models. Embedding these support materials directly within the interpretation environment closes the gap between need, awareness and support and is likely to result in better structural interpretations and more efficient exploration and production programmes.


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #120140© 2014 AAPG Hedberg Conference 3D Structural Geologic Interpretation: Earth, Mind and Machine, June 23-27, 2013, Reno, Nevada