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We investigated the following problem: “How do fluvial depositional processes create compartmented gas reservoirs?” Using vertical seismic profile (VSP) data to define where selected thin-bed gas reservoirs were positioned in a 3-D seismic data volume, we created horizon slices through this 3-D image that showed the reflection amplitude behavior across the depositional surfaces where targeted thin-bed reservoirs were located. We saw intriguing meander features on these 3-D amplitude displays, which appeared to be realistic depictions of intermeshed fluvial channels. We then overlaid well-log cross sections on these 3-D seismic images, which inferred the depositional environments that were found by wells that penetrated the reservoir system, and these geologic constraints confirmed that the imaged meander features were indeed channels.

The most important nonseismic data that we used to understand how 3-D seismic images can reveal reservoir compartment boundaries were various forms of reservoir engineering data that proved which wells shared a common pressure compartment and which wells did not. Using these engineering constraints, we showed that many of the seismically imaged channel features created reservoir compartment boundaries that impeded lateral fluid flow. Equally important, we showed that some seismically imaged channels had minimal effect on lateral flow and did not form compartment boundaries. We concluded that in any effort where 3-D seismic data are used to infer the internal compartmentalized architecture of a reservoir system, good quality reservoir engineering control, such as pressure interference tests and pressure decline curves, must be incorporated into the 3-D interpretation.

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