Technical Paper
Technical Paper

A Predictive Rock Physics Framework for Frontier Exploration

Written by: Nick Huntbatch, Alsing Selnes, and Neil Whitfield of Ikon Science

Ikon Science presents a Predictive Rock Physics Framework for Frontier Exploration.  Exploration in frontier basins is challenging; subtle targets, large seismic datasets, sparse well penetrations, and many unknowns. There is an obvious requirement for interpretations to be robust, but also delivered on a commercial timeframe.

In order to make robust and informed interpretations of seismic amplitudes, we need to understand the geological controls on the elastic properties of each seismically distinct rock type that may be present within the basin; we also need to understand if some rocks can’t be imaged. The geological properties that we are interested in, and those that control elastic properties, include the rock mineralogy, porosity, fluid saturation, depth of burial, and compaction state, as well as pore pressure and stress. To make this connection we need to turn to rock physics.

In order to establish links between the geological properties of interest and the seismic responses observed away from well control, we often turn to well data. In frontier basins, well control is often limited, and as a consequence, understanding the geological signal behind the seismic observations can be difficult.

In this paper, discussion of the key considerations that should be made when developing a predictive rock physics framework is provided. This is illustrated by reference to an example from the Canadian Atlantic margin (see Huntbatch, et al 2016). Detailed information on this regional study can be found on the Nalcor Energy website.

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