The Use of LANDSAT Images to Constrain Facies Variability on Isolated Carbonate Platforms from the Exploration to the Production Scale
Steven L. Bachtel1, Gregory S. Benson2, Robert L. Brovey2, and Lisa Li3
1 ConocoPhillips Co., Houston, TX
2 ExxonMobil Upstream Research Company, Houston, TX
3 ExxonMobil Exploration Co., Houston, TX
Modern carbonate platforms provide excellent analogs for facies distributions at the platform-scale along a single time-line. Remote sensing techniques (and calibration from literature) can be used to evaluate the variation of facies-fill patterns from large numbers of platforms rapidly and economically. The distribution of facies can be seen in context with measurable sedimentary processes and the quantitative output from the displays can be used to derive statistics for geologic modeling. Although the data may be somewhat coarse (28.5 m pixels in this case), it is much finer than typical geologic models (100-200m cells).
Facies variations between platforms can be studied in context with paleogeography and modern hydrographic and climate data. Observed constraints on the variation in facies distributions allow the construction of multiple scenarios during the evaluation of exploration and new field assessments. Direct measurement of facies bodies can also be accomplished and used to compare to process data. An example of the variation in reef flat grainstone width on multiple platforms will be shown in relation to the direction of the average annual wind.
More quantitative predictions of facies and water depth can also be made using the brightness and color components of the LANDSAT data. The resulting depth and facies grids can be used to create depth versus facies plots, facies proportions (by platform, environment, or quadrant), or create 3D visualizations. The facies grids can also be used to calculate variograms and to compare the effects of scale-up on our perception of facies continuity in geologic models.