--> --> 3-D Volumetric Interpretation – Advancing the Way We Interpret Seismic Stratigraphy and Geomorphology

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3-D Volumetric Interpretation – Advancing the Way We Interpret Seismic Stratigraphy and Geomorphology


Seismic stratigraphy, originally defined and described with 2D data, has become a primary classification scheme for 3D seismic interpretation in the petroleum industry. Defining interpretations within the context of these principles facilitates communication of geological ideas that can influence business decisions. The concepts are used to classify geologic information in scales ranging from basin models to core descriptions. Once defined within a seismic stratigraphic framework, details of any three-dimensional variability in stratigraphic architecture may be overlooked. The accuracy of any interpretation is dependent upon the clarity of our understanding of the 3D geological problem so it is imperative that we evaluate the three-dimensional architecture of seismic boundaries at the highest available resolution before they are classified within this system. Manual seismic interpretation methodologies and tight schedules may limit the ability to fully interrogate seismic data for more subtle, yet equally important geologic information, leading to biased interpretations. Eliminating this bias is critical to exploration success. Rapid volumetric interpretation (VI) using automatic wavelet tracking or dip-steered slicing is now performed at the resolution of the data. When VI is combined with intelligent models built using geological concepts and/or seismic attributes, geologic understanding is enhanced. This approach is a significant step forward for interpretation and offers us unprecedented opportunities to rapidly detect and effectively analyze geologic relationships in 3D seismic. We can easily visualize and interrogate the three-dimensional spatial relationships of seismic stratigraphic boundaries and are documenting the transient and diachronous nature of boundaries once thought to be fixed. The spatial uncertainty in sequence stratigraphic features is being better captured, understood and incorporated into basin risk estimates, improving exploration and development decisions. Here we review volumetric interpretation techniques that automatically define geomorphological and structural features, evaluate stratigraphic variability in 3D seismic data, classify seismic boundaries within the context of sequence stratigraphy and demonstrate how this approach can be used to rapidly reveal and quantify local to basin-scale geologic evolution of depositional systems.