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A New Analytical Method to Evaluate Maximum Flexure for Improved Fracture Characterization From 3-D Seismic Data

Abstract

In 3-D seismic interpretation, maximum flexure is one of the most useful attributes for depicting the geometry of seismic reflections and detecting fractures in the subsurface. There are various approaches to evaluating maximum flexure from 3-D seismic data that are different in accuracy and efficiency. This study presents a new analytical solution to maximum flexure from 3-D seismic data. The new approach transforms the original co-ordinate system to a new one so that an analytical equation for maximum flexure can be easily derived in the transformed co-ordinate system. The advantage of the analytical approach is demonstrated through application to a fractured reservoir at Teapot Dome (Wyoming). Our new algorithm is analytically accurate and computationally efficient. In particular, the magnitude of maximum flexure illuminates faults and fractures more clearly than previous algorithms; whereas the associated azimuth makes it possible to automatically plot histograms and/or rose diagrams for defining fracture orientations, which is fundamental in fractured reservoir characterization and prediction.