Skip to Main Content

Seal bypass systems

Joe Cartwright, Mads Huuse and Andrew C. Aplin
Seal bypass systems
AAPG Bulletin (August 2007) 91 (8): 1141-1166


We present an interpretational framework for the analysis of a diverse set of geological structures that breach sealing sequences and allow fluids to flow vertically or subvertically across the seal. In so doing, they act as seal bypass systems (SBS). We define SBS as seismically resolvable geological features embedded within sealing sequences that promote cross-stratal fluid migration and allow fluids to bypass the pore network. If such bypass systems exist within a given seal sequence, then predictions of sealing capacity based exclusively on the flow properties (capillary entry pressure and hydraulic conductivity) of the bulk rock can potentially be negated by the capacity of the bypass system to breach the grain and pore network. We present a range of examples of SBS affecting contrasting types of sealing sequences using three-dimensional (3-D) seismic data. These examples show direct evidence of highly focused vertical or subvertical fluid flow from subsurface reservoirs up through the seal sequence, with leakage internally at higher levels or to the surface as seeps. We classify SBS into three main groups based on seismic interpretational criteria: (1) fault related, (2) intrusion related, and (3) pipe related. We show how each group exhibits different modes of behavior with different scaling relationships between flux and dimensions and different short- and long-term impacts on seal behavior.

ISSN: 0149-1423
EISSN: 1558-9153
Coden: AABUD2
Serial Title: AAPG Bulletin
Serial Volume: 91
Serial Issue: 8
Title: Seal bypass systems
Affiliation: Cardiff University, School of Earth Ocean and Planetary Sciences, 3D Lab, Cardiff, United Kingdom
Pages: 1141-1166
Published: 200708
Text Language: English
Publisher: American Association of Petroleum Geologists, Tulsa, OK, United States
References: 122
Accession Number: 2007-088816
Categories: Economic geology, geology of energy sources
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. 1 table, sects.
N51°00'00" - N61°10'00", W04°00'00" - E11°00'00"
Secondary Affiliation: University of Newcastle, GBR, United Kingdom
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States. Reference includes data supplied by American Association of Petroleum Geologists, Tulsa, OK, United States
Update Code: 200740
Close Modal
This Feature Is Available To Subscribers Only

Sign In or Create an Account

Close Modal
Close Modal