The rise of unconventional resource plays to prominence in the oil and gas industry has presented geophysics with a set of unprecedented challenges, chief among which is the problem of resource and reserve estimation. Instead of the traditional concerns with trap mapping, spill points, and degree of fill, unconventional resource plays require information on reservoir quality, fracability, fracture networks, and the stimulated rock volume (SRV) resulting from frac-completion programs. Figure 1 shows the critical differences in risk assessment between traditional and unconventional systems. The quantification of the “deliverability system” is the principal area, which geophysical methods must address. These requirements lead to a reliance on seismic inversion, attributes such as curvature and coherence, and microseismic data.

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