NEOS’s multi-measurement methodology provides a variety of tools to help the explorationist interpret the subsurface with greater accuracy and confidence. One of these tools, embedded within our NeoSphere software platform, applies a proprietary statistical technique to all acquired geo-datasets and the attributes calculated therefrom (e.g., Bouger gravity, reduced-to-pole magnetic data, microseepage indicators) to mathematically determine the measurements and attributes that best correlate with known fields (or high producing wells) in a designated area of investigation.
Once these ‘correlative anomalies’ are determined (from among several dozen possible variables, the importance of which vary from basin to basin), the software applies pattern recognition algorithms to identify the same set of correlative anomalies in areas without well control. In essence, the software is searching for undiscovered fields (or well locations) that share the same set of ‘geo-anomalies’ as the discoveries and best producing wells in an area of interest.
The methodology is applicable in both conventional and unconventional plays, and can be used to ‘hunt’ for a variety of geological and reservoir attributes, including hydrocarbon accumlations (producing fields), reservoir sweet spots (high-production well locations), and fracture swarms.
In the image above, the geologic objective function was set to ‘probability of a hydrocarbon accumulation’ in the Pico formation of California’s Ventura Basin. The hottest colors correspond to the areas that are projected to be most conducive to liquid hydrocarbon accumulations. The black dots correspond to wells (or groups of wells) that have been drilled into, and produce from, the Pico. You will note that there is a very good correlation between the predicted hot spots and the well locations.
Even in this relatively shallow (and therefore highly drilled) geologic horizon, there are still several indicated hot spots that have yet to be drilled. The results become even more interesting at depth, where the number of well penetrations into the geostatistically identified anomalies is even smaller and, therefore, the corresponding exploration potential is even higher.
As with any measurement or tool, the interpreter doesn’t blindly follow the output, but instead uses the insights provided to de-risk previous exploration concepts and to identify possible new leads worthy of further study. Nonetheless, the methodology shows great potential for adding new life into this old basin, and for optimizing the deployment of human and financial capital to the most promising exploration and development opportunities in any operator’s portfolio.