Abstract

Seismic direct hydrocarbon indicators (DHIs) are routinely used in the identification of hydrocarbon reservoirs and in the positioning of drilling targets. Understanding seismic amplitude reliability and character, including amplitude variation with offset (AVO), is key to correct interpretation of the DHI and to enable confident assessment of the commercial viability of the reservoir targets. In many cases, our interpretation is impeded by limited availability of data that are often less than perfect. Here, we present a seismic quantitative interpretation (QI) workflow that made the best out of imperfect data and managed to successfully derisk a multiwell drilling campaign in the Auger and Andros basins in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. Data challenges included azimuthal illumination effects caused by the presence of the Auger salt dome, sand thickness below tuning, and long-term production effects that are hard to quantify without dedicated time-lapse seismic. In addition, seismic vintages with varying acquisition geometries led to different QI predictions that further complicated the interpretation story. Given these challenges, we implemented an amplitude derisking workflow that combined ray-based illumination assessments and prestack data observations to guide selection of the optimal seismic data set(s) for QI analysis. This was followed by forward modeling to quantify the fluid saturation and sand thickness effects on seismic amplitude. Combined with structural geology analysis of the well targets, this workflow succeeded in significantly reducing the risk of the proposed opportunities. The work also highlighted potential pitfalls in AVO interpretation, including AVO inversion for the characterization of reservoirs near salt, while providing a workflow for prestack amplitude quality control prior to inversion. The workflow is adaptable to specific target conditions and can be executed in a time-efficient manner. It has been applied to multiple infill well opportunities, but for simplicity reasons here, we demonstrate the application on a single well target.

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