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With the onset of the shale revolution in the United States, understanding shale reservoir rock properties has become increasingly important. The criteria used to characterize these ultra-low-permeability shale reservoirs and their resource potential commonly include organic richness, thermal maturity, lithologic heterogeneity, formation brittleness, and porosity. Because the lateral continuity of these systems often changes rapidly over short distances, it is desirable to quantify changes in these criteria both vertically and laterally within the reservoir. Here we present three seismic techniques used to identify, characterize, quantify, and map spatial distributions and variations of key attributes. Using seismic attribute data calibrated to key wells, we focus the mapping of three key attributes over a large region in South Texas: mechanical facies (i.e., fracability), fracture intensity as it relates to reservoir pressure, and total porosity over a large region in south Texas. This approach to mapping source rocks may change the way ultra-low-permeability shale reservoirs are evaluated in the future.

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