From what we could tell at last week’s AAPG annual conference in Houston, a multi-physics approach to subsurface interpretation is on the ascent. We had a number of highly encouraging discussions with geoscientists who are increasingly acknowledging the benefits of simultaneously interpreting all possible geophysical measurements, regardless of where the area of opportunity resides within the E&P lifecycle.
Trying to map the thickness of a target shale horizon over a large area in a frontier unconventional play? No problem. Simply access or acquire airborne Gravity and Magnetic data, constrain these datasets with sparse 2-D seismic or well control (when available) and surface geology. After some inversion and modeling, you’ll have a series of 2-D, basement-to-surface cross-sections at your disposal which can ultimately be converted into a 3-D structural and stratigraphic cube from which all sorts of interesting data can be extracted:
- Burial depth
- Basement composition.
All of the above can be used to infer thermal regimes and how gas-prone or liquids-rich (and economic) the target shale horizon might be. Throw in a little airborne-acquired, passive-source Electromagnetic (EM) data and you can begin to capture insights into lateral variations in TOC, rock properties and Vitrinite reflectance (and thermal maturity). Additional geophysical measurements – including those captured with Radiometric or Hyperspectral sensors – can further constrain the models and the interpretation(s) that result.
Developing an asset area with extensive seismic and well control? No problem. Additional geophysical measurements can make your legacy investments even more valuable. By adding new measurements to the subsurface model, you’ll have the ability to derive insights into physical properties that acoustic and near-well information simply can’t provide. Sure, you might have access to every seismic attribute imaginable, providing key insights into important reservoir properties like fracture density, fracture orientation and brittleness. But how will you incorporate the role basement faulting, topography or composition might have on variations in EUR or well productivity? And how will you sort through all the various G&G measurements, attributes, and derivatives you might have at your disposal? In many instances, advanced multivariate geostatistical and data mining techniques (Predictive Analytics) can play a role in support of the experienced human interpreter.
By embracing a multi-physics approach to subsurface interpretation, geoscientists are uncovering new insights into regional prospectivity and well productivity in both conventional and unconventional plays, irrespective of whether they are operating in data-poor frontier settings or data-rich exploitation environments.
To learn more, click here to download the NEOS Multi-Measurement Interpretation white paper.