Application of outcrop analogues in successful exploration of a sand injection complex, Volund Field, Norwegian North Sea
Andrew Hurst, Mads Huuse, Davide Duranti, Mario Vigorito, Eric Jameson, Anne Schwab, 2016. "Application of outcrop analogues in successful exploration of a sand injection complex, Volund Field, Norwegian North Sea", The Value of Outcrop Studies in Reducing Subsurface Uncertainty and Risk in Hydrocarbon Exploration and Production, M. Bowman, H. R. Smyth, T. R. Good, S. R. Passey, J. P. P. Hirst, C. J. Jordan
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Identification and exploration drilling of the Volund Field as part of a sand injection complex is the first example of deliberate targeting of sandstone intrusions in oil exploration. Outcrop data were an important element in the process of constraining the uncertainty associated with reservoir presence and connectivity. A strong lobby against the relevance of sand injectites as exploration targets, and significant uncertainty associated with sub-surface sand injectite analogues associated with existing oil fields, combined to discourage and down-grade Volund’s prospectivity. Few outcrop studies provided data of relevance to exploration of sandstone intrusions and original outcrop data were utilized in evaluation of Volund. Sills and saucer-shaped sandstone intrusions are the most common reservoir units observed at outcrop and similar features were identified in the 3D seismic across the Volund Field prospect. A large-scale sand injection origin rather than a depositional origin was proposed. Outcrops of sandstone intrusions demonstrated excellent reservoir quality in composite sandstone bodies that cross-cut depositional bedding. High-quality reservoirs with excellent vertical and lateral connectivity are observed and used to support the prediction of similar quality reservoirs in the Volund prospect.
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The Value of Outcrop Studies in Reducing Subsurface Uncertainty and Risk in Hydrocarbon Exploration and Production
Field studies over a range of scales have been important in the upstream oil and gas industry for decades. Advances in digital outcrop characterization and data capture, coupled with increased computational capabilities, have resulted in a resurgence in fieldwork; these field studies are required to develop depositional, stratigraphic and structural concepts and provide the data which underpin the current generation of complex, computer generated, 3D subsurface models. These models provide an informed means of benchmarking the subsurface along with a more considered view of subsurface uncertainty and management of the risks identified. The papers in this volume cover safety in the field, frontier basin petroleum system assessment, field appraisal and development including unconventional resources, applications of techniques such as LiDAR and 3D photogrammetry, and uncertainty characterization. The studies were undertaken in diverse locations such as the Faroe Islands, Italy, Algeria, India, the USA and Trinidad; they represent a range of tectonic settings and a wide geological time frame. The spectrum of papers is testament to the value and integral position that fieldwork occupies within the modern hydrocarbon industry.