The Analysis of Active Geology of Oil and Gas Fields for Development

Complex geologic structure.

Accurate characterization of the geology of oil and gas fields is an essential aspect of successful field development. Identifying and avoiding or mitigating risks as early as possible reduces development costs. With the wealth of geologic and other subsurface data and opens in a new windowefficient analytic software tools, geoscientists can be better informed than ever before regarding the geology of oil and gas fields and its influence on field development. In this blog, we focus primarily on identifying and mitigating geologic risks.

Proactively Identify and Mitigate Geologic Risks

Of particular concern in any geologic analysis is the identification of formations that present immediate or long-term development risks. A few examples help illustrate how geological information influences field development:

  • Over time, active faults and salt domes can threaten wellbore stability, shear casings, and bring production to a halt. Is the problem local, or is it characteristic of the entire field? Should the well be abandoned or is sidetracking a feasible alternative? Once an active fault is identified, future wells can be planned to avoid the active fault.
  • Shallow wells pose the threat of subsidence. At what point in field development might subsidence become a problem? How extensive would it be? What mitigation strategies would be most effective, based on knowledge of fields with similar formations?
  • Fissures, fractures, and cavities can induce lost circulation during drilling. What well planning strategies would minimize the risk of lost circulation during drilling or cementing?
Preliminary analysis of the geology of oil and gas fields doesn’t always reveal all potential risks—particularly in fields characterized by active geology. Additional data gathered during field development increases the geologic understanding. In one instance before commencing drilling, an initial wellbore stability study was done. However, after encountering severe instability problems in the first well, a more detailed geological analysis ensued. The results of the analysis indicated greater stability with wells oriented in a North-West to South-East plane. Subsequent horizontal wells planned with this orientation showed greater stability.
Although geoscientists may have significant volumes of geological and geophysical data, realizing the maximum benefit from the data is often hindered by the inability to combine and analyze the data in context. Software tools with strong data integration and visualization capabilities help overcome those problems.

Integrate and Visualize Data to Understand the Geology Of Oil and Gas Fields

Analysis of the geology of oil and gas fields is more conclusive when all relevant subsurface datasets can be integrated and rendered in a 3D space and evaluated by members of the reservoir team. opens in a new windowEarthVision, from Dynamic Graphics, Inc., is an integrated software package that combines a wide range of geologic and geophysical data such as seismic surveys, well logs, cores, and fluid samples. It enables geoscientists to transform geologic data into 3D models, contour maps, isochore maps, and cross-sections. Visualization facilitates a more detailed understanding of major fault gaps, normal and reverse faults, fault-wedge contours, overthrusts, salt diapirs, stratigraphic discontinuities, and other complex tectonic structures.
  • Integrate seismic interpretations with depth models via geo-model-driven velocity and time-to-depth conversion algorithms.
  • Create intermediate horizons using true vertical thickness (TVT) or true stratigraphic thickness (TST).
  • Employ geometric reconstructive techniques to represent strata depositional history in faulted reservoirs.
  • Show any or all wellbore and outcrop data used in generating a faulted 3D geologic model.

Powerful 3D visualization capabilities then allow geoscientists to collaboratively evaluate geologic risks and guide development strategy by:

  • Comparing and validating various fault and horizon interpretations.
  • Displaying individual fault blocks to explore fault structure in greater detail.
  • Determining which geologic model layers to display (or hide) so that fault offsets of particular areas can be analyzed.
  • Creating cross-sections (perpendicular to the x, y, or z axes) through 3D models and seismic volumes.
  • Annotating cross-sections with data from geophysical logs and property distributions within fault blocks.
As additional geologic data are acquired when new wells are drilled or additional seismic surveys are taken, the geological models and 3D visualizations are easily and quickly updated, allowing geoscientists to monitor the evolving geology of oil and gas fields.

Visualization facilitates a more detailed understanding of major fault gaps, normal and reverse faults, fault-wedge contours, overthrusts, salt diapirs, stratigraphic discontinuities, and other complex tectonic structures.

Visualize Changing Geology of Oil and Gas Fields Over Time

Geoscientists can obtain an even greater understanding of the changing geology of oil and gas fields throughout the evolution of a field using opens in a new windowCoViz 4D which excels in integrating geological models, geophysical data (developed with EarthVision), and many other relevant subsurface datasets. Using reservoir simulation models and seismic data acquired at various intervals during a field’s development and integrating it with data from well completions, well logs, production, and microseismic, CoViz 4D can animate the data to depict the changing geologic response.
Visualization environment using multiple locked viewing windows allowing comparison of a range of time steps from a single simulation run.

Visualization environment using multiple locked viewing windows allowing comparison of a range of time steps from a single simulation run.

Temporal analysis of geological changes gives geoscientists, well planners, and drilling and production engineers a far more accurate understanding of field dynamics. Better understating of geology and its influence on field development and performance leads to proactive identification of geological risks in support of well-informed planning and operational decision making.
EarthVision, software for 3D geologic model building, analysis, and visualization and CoViz 4D, a data visualization analytics software from Dynamic Graphics Inc., give geoscientists the ability to easily access and combine all relevant data associated with oil and gas fields. Powerful visualization capabilities allow teams to explore data relationships and analyze how geology changes over time, allowing your team to confidently make decisions that reduce operational risk and maximize recovery. To learn more about CoViz 4D contact our team.


4D Seismic Data Visualization: Why the 4th Dimension Is Just As Important As the Other Three

One seismic cube out of a time-lapse series shown with the velocity cube, different geologic models, reservoir simulation grid, production data, and well paths, completions and logs. Putting all this 3D and 4D data into a single environment provides a coherent history...

Big Data Oil and Gas Use Cases: Visual Interrelationships Between Multiple Variables

The oil and gas industry relies heavily on data for quantitative and qualitative analysis and assessment of variable interrelationships. Big data analytics has been useful in exploring, planning, designing, and developing hydrocarbon assets in terms of making...

Data Visualization to Guide the Recompletion of Oil and Gas Wells

Covisualization and analysis of fluid migration and depletion via 4D seismic along with production/injection values and geologic structure can enable better decision making when it comes to recompletion considerations.With easily recoverable oil either gone or...

Utilizing Visualization for Secondary Oil Recovery Efforts in Depleted Wells

Mature oil fields that have been previously drilled and produced offer an abundance of data generated over their operational life. This data is of great benefit in analysis and visualization for the purpose of determining viability for secondary recovery efforts....

Understanding the Role of Data Integration in Wellbore Trajectory Planning

Geologic complexity and a maze of existing wellbores can challenge the best well planners to navigate subsurface environments and determine the optimum wellbore trajectories for new, sidetrack, multilateral, or infill wells. Well planners share the responsibility with...

Visually Optimizing Big Data in the Oil and Gas Industry

Integrating large volumes of seismic, reservoir simulation and production data is paramount to optimizing big data analytics. Data used with permission of owner.Enhanced computing power, and instrumentation of production assets have fostered the acquisition and...

Seismic Reservoir Monitoring Through Visualization

An ideal design, development, and management plan for hydrocarbon asset development comes from having a better understanding of  all known geological and petrophysical aspects of the subsurface. But given the dynamic nature of the reservoir and its attributes, petroleum professionals can encounter some complexities in the process of in-depth analysis.

Quick, Accurate Relief Well Planning Using 3D Visualization Software

The crucial initial phase in the drilling of a relief well is the development of an extensive relief well plan. The planning requires geoscientists, drilling engineers, and well planners to have detailed information on the subsurface geology and its attributes as well...

Accessibility Tools

Share on Social Media