Field-based structural studies as analogues to sub-surface reservoirs
Published:January 01, 2016
David J. Sanderson, 2016. "Field-based structural studies as analogues to sub-surface reservoirs", 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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This paper examines a number of field analogues to structures in the sub-surface, based mainly on examples from SW Britain. Whereas sedimentological analogues are largely interpreted in terms of a clearly defined sequence of depositional events related to stratigraphy, structures can develop throughout the history of the reservoir and their timing is poorly constrained stratigraphically. This leads to fundamental differences in how the two types of analogues are used. The simplest and most direct use of structural analogues comes from comparison of field structures with those sampled in the sub-surface, where they can guide conceptual development of reservoir models. Many examples of this approach exist from the development of stratabound fracture systems to the formation of linked fault systems and fracture networks. Field analogues also play an important role in the study of sub-seismic structures, providing a link to evidence from core. One new area is the application of topology to the study of fault and fracture networks. Not only does this provide insight into fundamental relationships between structures, such as their relative age and connectivity, but it also provides new methods of analysis of great relevance to the spatial variation and scaling of structures.
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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.