Mass-transport complexes (MTCs) are important stratigraphic elements in many deepwater basins. In hydrocarbon exploration, MTCs have traditionally been identified as seals although they can also act as migration pathways or cannibalize and compartmentalize adjacent reservoirs. Although the ever-improving resolution of seismic data has enhanced the knowledge about these deposits (e.g., geometry, distribution), at present the potential of MTCs to act as top and/or lateral seals is difficult to predict predrilling and few case studies are publicly available. The key objective here is to present examples of seismically resolvable characteristics of two MTCs in the Jubilee gas field, offshore Gulf of Mexico: one of the MTCs cannibalized part of the reservoir, and the other acted as the top seal. The Jubilee field is an area where the ability of MTCs to act as a top seal has been proven — the field produced approximately 205 billion cubic feet of natural gas until abandonment in 2016. When evaluating the sealing potential of MTCs, seismic interpretation can offer a powerful technique to identify indicators of hydrocarbon leakage. Additionally, mass flows that form MTCs can be highly erosive and cannibalize underlying reservoir deposits, which increase reservoir heterogeneity that can lead to compartmentalization. Our results indicate that the seal MTC in the Jubilee field is a detached MTC and that the translational morphodomain overlies the gas accumulation. Consequently, when predicting the seal potential of MTCs from seismic data, it is important to determine (1) the type of MTC (i.e., attached versus detached), (2) the specific MTC morphodomain overlying the hydrocarbon accumulation/prospect (i.e., the headwall, translational, or toe morphodomains), and (3) the presence of seismic indicators of fluid migration pathways (e.g., gas chimneys, pockmarks, etc.). These results shed some light on the present challenges of predicting the seal potential of MTCs in frontier basins around the world.

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