The focus of hydrocarbon exploration has now moved into frontier regions where structural complexity, heterogeneous overburden, and hydrocarbon system fundamentals are significant challenges requiring an integrated exploration approach. Three-dimensional controlled-source electromagnetic (CSEM) anisotropic resistivity imaging is emerging as a technique to combine with seismic imaging in such regions. However, the typically reconstructed horizontal resistivity ρh and vertical resistivity ρv models often have conflicting depth structures that are difficult to explain in terms of subsurface geology. It is highly desirable to reduce ambiguity or subjectivity in depth interpretation of ρh and ρv models and also achieve comparability with other coincidentally located subsurface models. We have developed a workflow for integrating information from seismic well-based inversion, interpreted seismic horizons, and resistivity well logs in a cross-gradient-guided simultaneous 3D CSEM inversion for geologically realistic ρh and ρv models whose parameter estimates for a selected reservoir interval can then be better optimized to aid reservoir characterization. We developed our workflow using exploration data from a complex fold-thrust belt. We found that the integrated cross-gradient approach led to ρh and ρv models that have a common depth structure, are consistent with seismic and resistivity logs, and are hence less ambiguous for geologic interpretation and reservoir parameter estimation.

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