A lithostratigraphic interpretation of seismic data sets covering the Unayzah fluviatile formation in central Saudi Arabia has allowed us to map the sandstone distribution and to characterize the average porosity of the formation. First, sandstone distribution was predicted through seismic facies identification and interpretation with well information. Seismic facies analysis was performed with statistical pattern recognition applied to the portions of traces at the reservoir level, these traces being characterized by a series of seismic attributes. A good convergence of results from unsupervised and supervised pattern recognition was observed. This increase the confidence in the interpretation of sandprone facies.
Second, using a statistical relationship between the reservoir average porosity defined at the wells and selected amplitudes of adjacent traces, the porosity was predicted all over the area covered by the seismic information. The model was based on a multivariate linear regression, showing satisfying quality criteria (correlation coefficient, residuals, etc.). The porosity variation predicted from the seismic data complements the sandstone distribution, derived from the seismic facies analysis. In particular, some areas where sandstones are predicted do not appear as porous as could have been suspected from their lithological content, perhaps as the result of diagenetic effects.
Last, seismic facies analysis with pattern recognition applied to 2-D exploratory lines, partly intersecting the 3-D data set, led to the identification of potential prospects (Unayzah interval with a high sand–shale ratio).