A key goal in industry and academic seismic research is overcoming long-standing imaging, inversion, and interpretation challenges. One way to address these challenges is to develop a realistic 3D geomodel constrained by local-to-regional geologic, petrophysical, and seismic data. Such a geomodel can serve as a benchmark for numerical experiments that help users to better understand the key factors underlying — and devise novel solutions to — these exploration and development challenges. We have developed a two-part case study on the Western Australia (WA) Modeling (WAMo) project, which discusses the development and validation of a detailed large-scale geomodel of part of the Northern Carnarvon Basin (NCB) located on WA’s North West Shelf. Based on the existing regional geologic, petrophysical, and 3D seismic data, we (1) develop the 3D geomodel’s tectonostratigraphic surfaces, (2) populate the intervening volumes with representative geologic facies, lithologies, and layering as well as complex modular 3D geobodies, and (3) generate petrophysical realizations that are well-matched to borehole observations point-wise and in terms of vertical and lateral trends. The resulting 3D WAMo geomodel is geologically and petrophysically realistic, representative of short- and long-wavefield features commonly observed in the NCB, and leads to an upscaled viscoelastic model well-suited for high-resolution 3D seismic modeling studies. In the companion paper, we study WAMo seismic modeling results that demonstrate the quality of the WAMo geomodel for generating shot gathers and migration images that are highly realistic and directly comparable with those observed in NCB field data.

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