Abstract

Seismic fault detection using principal component analysis (PCA) is an effective method for interpreting fault distribution and orientations in the Bakken Formation. The PCA fault attribute indicates significantly different, and geologically more plausible, 3D fault distributions than conventional seismic attributes, such as curvature. The PCA fault attribute has identified different fault patterns in the Upper, Middle, and Lower Bakken members and the Three Forks Formation. Two distinct fault trends in approximately 40°–50° northeast–southwest and 50°–60° northwest–southeast directions are observed in the Bakken Formation in the study area, and they are apparent on the strike and dip attributes derived from the PCA fault attribute. Fault cuts interpreted from missing well-log sections correlate well with the PCA fault attribute. Seismically derived fault orientations correlate with borehole image log data in the horizontal wells. Crossing conjugate faults observed on the fault dip attribute may result in the widening of the faulted area and localized thinning of the rock sequence where the faults intersect, and this could potentially enhance permeability along the fault strike.

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