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Increasing Interpreter Capability in Structurally Complex Settings

John G. Solum1, Steve Jolley2, Ron Lawson3, and Steve Naruk4
1Shell Global Solutions BV, Rijswijk, The Netherlands
2Shell Canada Limited, Calgary, AB, Canada
3Shell Global Solutions Inc., Houston, TX, USA
4Shell International Exploration and Production, Houston, TX, USA


Interpretation of faulted reservoirs is hindered by an industry-wide lack of structural specialists which in turn hinders the development of structurally-proficient interpreters. The consequences of this are interpretations that violate geological rules, which ultimately lead to expensive errors since fault property predictions and reservoir flow models based on invalid interpretations are meaningless.

Two related strategies to address this problem are 1) focused training using paper maps, outcrop visits and digital models of the same structures, and 2) development of automated QA/QC tools that guide the non-specialist during interpretation, in essence providing a virtual structural geologist.

The first component of the focused training is to provide participants with a structure map with data near faults removed to simulate seismic no-data zones and structural uncertainly. Participants are tasked with drawing fault polygons that honor simple rules such as conservation of throw at fault intersections, identification of fault tips, and consistent sense of offset along strike. The second component is a visit to the outcrop from which the paper map was derived, providing the opportunity for modifying their maps. The final component provides participants with a digital model (with or without synthetic seismic) of the outcrop, giving them the opportunity to create a geologically-valid interpretation that can be used for fault property prediction or reservoir model creation.


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