ABSTRACT

Faults in the subsurface can be an avenue of, or a barrier to, hydrocarbon flow and pressure communication. Manual interpretation of discontinuities on 3D seismic amplitude volume is the most common way to define faults within a reservoir. Unfortunately, 3D seismic fault interpretation can be a time-consuming and tedious task. Seismic attributes such as coherence help define faults, but suffer from “staircase” artifacts and nonfault-related stratigraphic discontinuities. We assume that each sample of the seismic data is located at a potential fault plane. The hypothesized fault divides the seismic data centered at the analysis sample into two subwindows. We then compute the coherence for the two subwindows and full analysis window. We repeat the process by rotating the hypothesized fault plane along a set of user-defined discrete fault dip and azimuth. We obtain almost the same coherence values for the subwindows and the full window if the analysis point is not located at a fault plane. The “best” fault plane results in maximum coherence for the subwindows and minimum coherence for the full window if the analysis point is located at a fault plane. To improve the continuity of the fault attributes, we finally smooth the fault probability attribute along the estimated fault plane. We illustrate the effectiveness of our workflow by applying it to a synthetic and two real seismic data. The results indicate that our workflow successfully produces a continuous fault attribute without staircase artifacts and stratigraphic discontinuities.

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