Mapping fault planes using seismic images is a crucial and time-consuming step in hydrocarbon prospecting. Conventionally, this requires significant manual efforts that normally go through several iterations to optimize how the different fault planes connect with each other. Many techniques have been developed to automate this process, such as seismic coherence estimation, edge detection, and ant-tracking, to name a few. However, these techniques do not take advantage of the valuable experience accumulated by the interpreters. We have developed a method that uses the convolutional neural network (CNN) to automatically detect and map fault zones using 3D seismic images in a similar fashion to the way done by interpreters. This new technique is implemented in two steps: training and prediction. In the training step, a CNN model is trained with annotated seismic image cubes of field data, where every point in the seismic image is labeled as fault or nonfault. In the prediction step, the trained model is applied to compute fault probabilities at every location in other seismic image cubes. Unlike reported methods in the literature, our technique does not require precomputed attributes to predict the faults. We verified our approach on the synthetic and field data sets. We clearly determined that the CNN-computed fault probability outperformed that obtained using the coherence technique in terms of exhibiting clearer discontinuities. With the capability of emulating human experience and evolving through training using new field data sets, deep-learning tools manifest huge potential in automating and advancing seismic fault mapping.

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