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Abstract

The keys to exploration success are to be able to see different possibilities and to improve the ability to predict. Analogue studies highlight the importance of visualizing geology as seen in outcrop when interpreting subsurface seismic and well data. Outcrops of the deep water Brushy Canyon Formation, Delaware Basin, West Texas, have proven useful as analogues to the deep water exploration targets on the Norwegian shelf.

The Permian Brushy Canyon Formation consists of submarine canyon-fill, slope, and basin-floor deposits. The siltstone-rich slope is dominated by bypass, slope-adjustments, and degradational processes. Through time, slump scars coalesce, confining and directing sediments basinward. The sand-rich basin floor is dominated by constructional processes, complex stacking of sediment bodies, and depositional compensation cycles.

Slope and basin-floor settings are observed in the Tertiary and Cretaceous deep water depositional systems on the Norwegian shelf. The settings and scale of the depositional systems, the distribution of sands, and the geometries of the sand bodies are comparable to the Delaware Basin. Slump-scar confined channel complexes on the slope, multistory channel complexes on the basin floor, and distal pinchout prospects can be defined and directly correlated to field observations.

By integrating field observations with subsurface data, regional 3D seismic interpretation, high-quality well data, and geophysical modeling, the projects have resulted in more reliable interpretations, enhanced prediction of sediment pathways and sand distribution, and finally the development of new prospects on the Norwegian shelf.

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