--> --> An Integrated Work Flow for Mapping Stratigraphic Features in the Midland Basin: Examples from the Lower Wolfcamp Shale

AAPG Southwest Section Annual Convention

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An Integrated Work Flow for Mapping Stratigraphic Features in the Midland Basin: Examples from the Lower Wolfcamp Shale

Abstract

The Spraberry and Wolfcamp formations in the Midland Basin of west Texas have been heavily logged in numerous vertical wells. Localized stratigraphic features, however, remain difficult to predict and/or correlate. In this study we focus on the identification and delineation of an extensive (> 20-mile long) channelized debris flow complex, identified within the Lower Wolfcamp shale. Originally observed as an amplitude anomaly of unknown origin in a 3D seismic volume, the mapping of different seismic attributes and use of advanced visualization techniques show that the feature contains the unmistakable form of a meandering submarine channel system. Integration of available well logs and a fortuitously placed whole core located in the center of the anomaly confirm the channelized debris flow interpretation. The vertical sequence of facies seen in the core indicate the presence of a stacked succession of multiple individual flows, suggesting the channel was actively constrained to the same location for an extended period of time. Similar features have been noted in the Monterrey Basin, offshore California, and in the Amazon Fan, offshore Brazil, which provide modern analogs in terms of process and scale. Results of this work not only provide information on the debris flow architecture present in the Lower Wolfcamp shale but utilize techniques which apply to other deep-water units of the greater Permian Basin and elsewhere. These techniques have traditionally been used for conventional exploration; however, when utilized in resource plays, they can influence targeting, drilling and completions.