AAPG Geoscience Technology Workshop

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Forward Stratigraphic Modeling Value Added Workflows and Its Potential Use for Eastern Mediterranean Basin Plays


Forward Stratigraphic Modeling (FSM) is the numerical simulation of the processes of erosion, transport and deposition of clastic sediments, as well as carbonate growth and redistribution controlled by the interaction of sea-level change, paleogeography, paleoclimate, tectonics and variation in sediment supply. The output of such modeling may reveal the geometry and composition of the stratigraphic sequence This modeling process and its results can be effectively integrated into traditional E&P workflows, improving them by transforming what is typically a static geometrical interpretation into a dynamic simulation based interpretation process. Our experience of applying forward modeling in other basins indicates that this approach may add value in addressing the challenges existing in the eastern Mediterranean. Basin scale FSM models help geologists to understand the big trends and to predict features that may be difficult to identify in the seismic data. For example, backstepping deposits below seismic resolution, rift deposits in the deeper parts of the basin or diagenetic events. In turbiditic systems the distribution of architectural elements, sedimentary facies and rock properties are mainly controlled by sediment input, basin topography and syn-sedimentary tectonics. Forward stratigraphic models conditioned to honor well and seismic data are inherently more predictive than other methods, particularly for those features below seismic resolution. Well correlation without a geologic concept can become a pattern recognition exercise. Forward stratigraphic models provide such geologic concepts to assist in guiding well correlation, in the same way stratigraphic models integrated with seismic modeling help to improve the seismic interpretation process, particularly in the case of seismic stratigraphic interpretation. FSM allows for a structured approach in the search of stratigraphic traps. If the conditions for the creation of these traps can be identified in the model controls (sea level changes, syn-sedimentary tectonics, sediment inputs) and they can also be visualized in the model, then the basin location and the seismic signatures of the expected trap may be obtained. Forward stratigraphic modeling of carbonate rocks is based on modeling the growth of the different carbonate facies as a function of three main controls: wave energy dissipation, depositional water depth and suspended sediment. This approach allows the geologist to create predictive models of the distribution of the carbonate facies at both reservoir and basin scale. Modeling of the controlling factors of the meteoric diagenetic processes helps to predict the intensity of these processes. These factors include: residence time (the longer a rock mass remains in the meteoric environment the more the diagenetic processes will progress), zone coefficient (specific diagenetic processes have different intensity in the different meteoric diagenetic zones) and a stratigraphic curve that simulates the effect of weather over the diagenetic processes (hot and humid weather will boost the diagenetic processes). The integrated product of these controls along with the model history computes a model property that, when parameters are properly conditioned to the hard data, predicts the intensity of the diagenetic processes. These diagenetic attributes provide an aid in the search of reservoir intervals that may be invisible via other techniques. FSM can be applied from basin to reservoir scale and can be integrated with other basin or reservoir modeling techniques to allow refinement of both the complexity of the forward model and the accuracy of the hard data interpretation. In summary, FSM provides a reality check and a quality control for geologic concepts, bringing outcomes that improve many existing G&G workflows. It is expected that the application of this technology to the Eastern Mediterranean may improve the efficiency of finding new discoveries and enhanced recovery of existing fields