Abstract

Numerical 3D high-resolution models of subsurface petroelastic properties are key tools for exploration and production stages. Stochastic seismic inversion techniques are often used to infer the spatial distribution of the properties of interest by integrating simultaneously seismic reflection and well-log data also allowing accessing the spatial uncertainty of the retrieved models. In frontier exploration areas, the available data set is often composed exclusively of seismic reflection data due to the lack of drilled wells and are therefore of high uncertainty. In these cases, subsurface models are usually retrieved by deterministic seismic inversion methodologies based exclusively on the existing seismic reflection data and an a priori elastic model. The resulting models are smooth representations of the real complex geology and do not allow assessing the uncertainty. To overcome these limitations, we have developed a geostatistical framework that allows inverting seismic reflection data without the need of experimental data (i.e., well-log data) within the inversion area. This iterative geostatistical seismic inversion methodology simultaneously integrates the available seismic reflection data and information from geologic analogs (nearby wells and/or analog fields) allowing retrieving acoustic impedance models. The model parameter space is perturbed by a stochastic sequential simulation methodology that handles the nonstationary probability distribution function. Convergence from iteration to iteration is ensured by a genetic algorithm driven by the trace-by-trace mismatch between real and synthetic seismic reflection data. The method was successfully applied to a frontier basin offshore southwest Europe, where no well has been drilled yet. Geologic information about the expected impedance distribution was retrieved from nearby wells and integrated within the inversion procedure. The resulting acoustic impedance models are geologically consistent with the available information and data, and the match between the inverted and the real seismic data ranges from 85% to 90% in some regions.

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