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Interpretation of faulted reservoirs is hindered by an industry-wide lack of structural specialists, which in turn hinders the development of structurally proficient interpreters. This can have expensive consequences, including poor models of dynamic flow in reservoirs, erroneous calculations of reserves, and difficulties during well drilling. Focused training using paper maps, outcrop visits, and digital models of the same structures helps to introduce and reinforce concepts.

The first component of the training is to provide participants with a set of two-dimensional seismic lines created from a geological model of a faulted reservoir. Participants must create a structure contour map containing faults that honor simple rules such as conservation of throw at fault intersections, identification of fault tips, consistent sense of offset and vergence along strike, and identification of fault relays. The second component is a visit to the outcrop from which the paper map was derived, providing the opportunity to discuss differences between faults in outcrop and faults as visible on seismic data. The final component provides participants with a digital model of the outcrop, giving them the opportunity to create a geologically valid interpretation that can be used for fault property prediction or reservoir model creation.

This three-pronged training provides grounding in structural geology and lets interpreters know the rules that their fault framework models should obey. Applying these techniques during interpretation saves time by ensuring that “busts” are caught and fixed before they become institutionalized, and also closes the gap between the geophysicist/seismic interpreter and the geologist/static modeler.

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