Most carbonate fractured reservoirs display complex behaviour in the simulation and production stages of their development, and this complexity is thought to be the result of the different fracture distributions and intensities within the reservoir. Accurate fracture characterization is therefore essential and the two techniques most commonly used for fracture prediction are ‘strain analysis’ and ‘curvature analysis’. In this paper these two methods of fracture analysis are compared by applying them to the Gachsaran oil field in the Zagros folded belt and comparing the predictions of the two with the performance history of the reservoir. This reservoir is well suited for such a study as there is a large quantity of seismic data and over 350 wells have been drilled. Fracture intensity indicator maps have been produced using both methods and the results compared with production index data from the wells. The indicator map produced using the 3D strain analysis method in which special attention was given to the structural setting, structural evolution and the position of the fractures with respect to the local stress orientation, was found to be more compatible with the production index data than the map produced using the method of curvature analysis. In addition, the study also demonstrates that one of the great advantages of strain analysis compared to the curvature method is its ability to predict variations in the vertical direction and thus provide data related to a reservoir volume rather than simply to a surface.

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