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Variability in Structural Interpretation: A Seismic Case Study from Industry

Frank Richards and Nick Richardson
Dana Petroleum/KNOC, Aberdeen, Scotland, UK


Despite advances in seismic acquisition and processing techniques, and the concomitant improvement of sub-surface imaging, robust structural interpretations are still critically dependent on geological thinking by interpreters who fully consider structural processes, evolution and mechanical behaviour in the appropriate geological context. Consideration of the ranges and probabilities derived from such analysis has a fundamental impact on assessments of hydrocarbon volumes and production rates used to calculate prospect and field economics.

This paper reviews the results of a case study in which 7 teams of geoscientists interpreted identical 2D seismic dataset with the aim of mapping and defining structural traps (i.e. prospects). Analysis of final top structure maps gives valuable and surprising insights into the degree of variability that can occur during the interpretation process. The study also allows us to look at the potential financial impactions of various interpretations and on how we can, as geoscientists, use 3D geometrical thinking, structural tools and analogues to produce more consistent and accurate results.


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