Numerical Modeling of Deepwater Channel Stacking Pattern from Outcrop and the Quantification of Reservoir Significance
Michael J. Pyrcz, Timothy McHargue, Morgan Sullivan, Julian Clark, Nicholas Drinkwater, Andrea Fildani, Henry Posamentier, Brian Romans, Marge Levy, 2011. "Numerical Modeling of Deepwater Channel Stacking Pattern from Outcrop and the Quantification of Reservoir Significance", Outcrops Revitalized: Tools, Techniques and Applications, Ole J. Martinsen, Andrew J. Pulham, Peter D.W. Haughton, Morgan D. Sullivan
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Channel stacking pattern in deepwater reservoirs has a significant impact on reservoir producibility. These stacking patterns are the result of feedbacks between turbidity currents and associated supply variations and the evolution and aggradation of slope physiography. Turbidite flow events that leave significant physiographic relief due to underfilled within-channel deposition or local erosion tend to have greater influence on subsequent flow events, resulting in organized channel stacking patterns. Turbidite flow events that fill their channels do not confine subsequent flows and result in disorganized channel stacking patterns. High rates of system aggradation result in a greater degree of inter-element disconnection, low rates result in amalgamated elements.
Event-based models are amenable to the integration of expert rules related to the influence of channel fill (fraction of active channel fill) and aggradation rate on channel stacking pattern. The event-based approach is part of a new subset of geostatistical modeling that focuses on greater integration of stratigraphic concepts and sedimentological process. In the event-based method stochastic models are constructed as a sequence of depositional events. The sedimentological process and allogenic forcing are approximated as a set of empirical and predictive rules. The resulting numerical laboratory efficiently constructs high-resolution reservoir models and allows calibration of model response to changes in input values.
Event-based models are constructed based in part on outcrop examples with various channel stacking patterns. The resulting models are used to explore the relationship between stacking pattern, preservation potential of axis, off-axis and margin facies assemblages and reservoir producibility. In addition, these models can be used to illustrate hierarchical relationships, explore larger issues related to the value of architectural information and to aid in the discovery of new rules by induction combining outcrop observations and models results.
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Outcrops are fundamental to everything we hope to achieve in geological understanding. They are gateways to geological processes, earth history and they help ground-truth remote sensing applications. With increasing resolution of subsurface tools and techniques, one could be forgiven in believing that outcrops have had their day and their utility is less than in the past great eras of field mapping and the development of facies models. This premise is far from the truth and this new SEPM volume illustrates how new analytical techniques are revitalizing outcrops and in the process creating a wealth of new data and fresh geological understandings. In this book you will find a compilation of the growing arsenal of outcrop tools and techniques and a consideration of future developments. This collection of papers, delivered at a SEPM Research Conference on the West coast of Ireland in the summer of 2008, is a smorgasbord of case studies, workflows, modeling, and applications which spans clastic and carbonate settings. Whatever your interest in outcrop geology and its application there is something in this volume for you. If you are seeking guidance for using new outcrop tools, looking for efficiencies in data collection or desiring new insights for old and favorite outcrops, this volume is a must have. This volume also makes an excellent reference or textbook for any group of professionals or students working or studying the new technologies that have allowed new insights from outcrops. We also consider this a superbly timed publication because many new outcrop tools are now becoming mainstream via reduced purchase and operating costs. Once you read this volume, and there are reduced prices for SEPM members and students, please share your new experiences with the authors and editors and help continue the revitalization of our shared and continually surprising outcrop library of the earth.