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Spectral Decomposition Technology improves fault detection in Arabian Gulf carbonates, by Scott Burns, Occidental Petroleum of Qatar, Ltd and Karl Street, Landmark Graphics.*


algorithm to it. Coherence is a sort of PECTRAL standard tool that many companies DECOMPOSITION use to detect faults. In addition, Oxy (SPECDECOMP) is an Qatar ran SpecDecomp "tuning innovative reservoir cubes" on multiple horizons within imaging and interpretation the reservoir section to create technology originally developed and Discrete Fourier Transform (DFT) and commercialized by BP, Apache Maximum Entropy Method (MEM) Corporation and Landmark a few years volumes, which were then compared ago. SpecDecomp technology utilizes with existing fault interpretations, a sequence of seismic frequency fault picks from wells and the third slices through a hydrocarbon reservoir party coherence volume. to create a suite of amplitude maps, SpecDecomp technology yielded which can be selectively combined to higher resolution images of the yield much higher resolution images fracturing and faulting than of reservoir boundaries, lithologic Image of the Idd El Shargi North Dome field. This co-rendered image combines a coherency, inversion and a variety of heterogeneities and interval semi-transparent time structure map of the top reservoir horizon, and the phase other seismic attributes. In the thicknesses than traditional broadof the Discrete Fourier Transform (DFT) data at 60 Hz frequency (blue/white) generated by SpecDecomp. Arabian Gulf, apparently spectral band seismic displays. decomposition works best when one To date, most oil and gas wells, flow through these fractures can observes the phase of the decomposed data in companies have used SpecDecomp technology inadvertently water-out connected producing the higher frequencies, centered around a primarily for stratigraphic characterization of wells. In those cases, expensive remediation horizon at the reservoir level. When an anomaly clastic fluvial/deltaic channels. Occidental often occurs, which increases field development appears in the low frequencies, it normally Petroleum of Qatar, Ltd (Oxy Qatar) is one of the costs. Because most faults here are near-vertical indicates a structural feature such as a fault with first energy companies in the world to use with minimal throw, they are not easily imaged vertical throw, since stratigraphy in this area is SpecDecomp successfully to detect subtle faults using conventional surface seismic so uniform. The more demonstrable the effect on and fracture zones in carbonate reservoirs. Since interpretation. the low frequencies, the larger the feature. November 2002, the company has drilled about To reduce drilling risks and costs, therefore, However, when lineations or thin, dark lines 20 long reach horizontal wells in the Arabian the company needed better ways to detect open appear only in the high frequency range, they Gulf with the aid of SpecDecomp. fault zones and plan wells to avoid them. tend to indicate more subtle fractures with less For the analysis of surface 3D seismic data, In the fall of 2002, Oxy Qatar obtained an aperture, breadth or cross-sectional area. Oxy Qatar utilizes a number of sophisticated evaluation copy of the new SpecDecomp Depending on the orientation of these fractures software tools. In many cases, Spectral software. At that time, a third party was (NE-SW or NW-SE), one can infer with fairly high Decomposition has provided better insight into contracted to reprocess the existing 3D seismic probability whether they will be open or not. how carbonate reservoirs are fractured prior to volume and apply a well-known coherency Qualitative validation of such inferences drilling expensive horizontal wells. It has comes from comparison with regional improved the ability of geoscientists stress fields and the North Dome's and engineers to see problematic known fault fabric. The images fractures and has enhanced the obtained from SpecDecomp are placement of wells. considered trustworthy because they The Idd El Shargi North Dome dovetail so nicely with what field, offshore east of Qatar, is crissgeoscientists and engineers already crossed with faults and fractures know from drilling nearly 150 wells trending in two, roughly orthogonal and performing traditional seismic directions. NW-SE faults, which lie interpretation of time/amplitude data. parallel to the Zagros thrust zone to Spectral decomposition takes the the north, are generally closed or large-scale fault network in this field non-conductive to fluids. NE-SW to a finer level of resolution-much trending fractures are generally open like a fractal pattern. or non-sealing, lying parallel to the Shear wave birefringence analysis principal stress orientation. of vertical seismic profiles in a few of Encountering open, conductive the wells also provides highfaults or fractures during drilling resolution corroboration of the causes a number of costly problems. orientation of certain fracture zones Often wells lose circulation into a Oil and gas fields of the Arabian Gulf in the vicinity of Qatar, with the Idd El seen in SpecDecomp. fracture, forcing Oxy Qatar to drill Shargi fields marked by yellow boxes. Oxy Qatar expects to increase net Additional validation comes from with seawater. In water injection production from both fields by 2006.

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Figure 3. Four attribute images of the top reservoir horizon, Idd El Shargi North Dome: azimuth (top left), semblance or coherency (top right), amplitude of spectral decomposition at 60 Hz frequency (lower left) based on a 50 millisecond window analysis around the top reservoir horizon, and phase of the amplitude at 60 Hz frequency (lower right).

visual correlation of SpecDecomp with resistivity-at-bit (RAB) images obtained during the drilling of previous horizontal wells. RAB images provide the azimuthal orientation and inclination of fractures and sub-seismic faults within a wellbore. When one displays fractures from RAB images as well faults along a well path through the SpecDecomp volume, it is often possible to see perturbations on the spectral decomposition in fractured zones. SpecDecomp information, therefore, is used every time a well is drilled to help position the horizontal wellbore to minimize the number of faults or fractures encountered within the reservoir section. Because Oxy Qatar is drilling offshore, where the number of surface locations is limited, the

upper sections of these curvilinear wellbores sometimes cross fault zones seen in SpecDecomp, confirming predictions made prior to drilling. Once the well is landed in the reservoir zone, drilling engineers plan horizontal well trajectories to run parallel to NE-SW conductive faults in order to minimize costly drilling problems. Oxy Qatar typically holds well review meetings in its new visualization center. The geologist, geophysicist, drilling and facilities engineers often view spectral decomposition volumes using a sophisticated 3D volume visualization system, to see where potential faults and fractures might intersect the planned wellbore. SpecDecomp is one of the first tools both management and technical professionals

Close-up view of 60 Hz phase DFT slice showing a recently drilled horizontal well (green). Small purple and green hatch marks crossing the well path indicate faults picked by the field geologist either from well logs or resistivity-at-bit (RAB) data.

turn to in team gatherings. While planning a well, team members often want to see what SpecDecomp shows. Of course, it is not the only tool used to position wells, but it is used consistently. In a spectral decomposition volume, the z axis is frequency, not two-way travel time or depth as in normal seismic displays. Therefore, in order to display a well plan within the data volume, one can either bulk-shift the well plan up to near the top of the cube or bulk-shift the SpecDecomp data down to the actual well depth. In either case, the shape of the well remains accurate. Sometimes the team uses the full 3D volume visualization system, which provides a more dynamic look at the data. Both amplitude and the phase volumes are loaded, and the software enables users to toggle back and forth between volumes at the touch of a button. Using all this data, the team is better able to predict ahead of the drill bit where problems may occur. One way to further advance the current seismic analysis workflow would be to quantatively correlate SpecDecomp displays with fractures and faults detected in RAB wellbore images. While it is clear there is a correlation of some sort between RAB data and spectral decomposition, the ideal would be to obtain a correlation coefficient between RAB values for the density of fractures along a wellbore and a derivative of phase within SpecDecomp. Where the phase changes most rapidly, that is where faults and fractures tend to

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be found. Recently, Oxy Qatar shot a multicomponent 4C seismic survey over the Idd El Shargi North Dome. It was a wide azimuth P wave and shear wave survey. There are plans to run SpecDecomp on each of the wide azimuth slices, in addition to running it on the shear wave data, both to improve the imaging of subtle faults and to quantify fracturing within the reservoir. For the analysis of conventional surface 3D seismic data, Oxy Qatar considers Spectral Since November 2002, Oxy Qatar has drilled about 20 longDecomposition a highly reach horizontal wells in the Arabian Gulf with the aid of SpecDecomp. valuable new technology. There are many technical software tools available in the industry today, and oil companies spend a great deal of money on them. SpecDecomp is one software technology that has proven to offer significant value. I

New Roxar office

ROXAR, A LEADING technology solutions provider to the upstream oil and gas industry, recently opened its new regional headquarters for Asia Pacific in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The opening ceremony was attended by Roxar CEO, Sandy Esslemont, the Norwegian Ambassador to Malaysia, His Excellency Arild Eik, and senior executives from the Oil and Gas industry in the Asia Pacific Region. Over the last 12 months, Roxar has dramatically increased its presence in the Asia Pacific region through high-profile contracts, such as multi-million dollar software and services contracts with Malaysian oil giant, PETRONAS Carigali and PetroChina, the main unit of China National Petroleum Corporation. Other clients in the region include over 50 International and National E&P companies. Said Roxar CEO, Sandy Esslemont: Todays announcement signals Roxars determination to be the technology solutions partner of choice for oil and gas companies in the Asia Pacific Region who are challenged with raising recovery rates and maximizing reservoir performance. Our continued investment in local offices and local staff demonstrates our long-term commitment to the region and to our Asia Pacific customers. Our new Kuala Lumpur hub will be the engine for further expansion over the coming years.

*About the Authors Scott Burns is senior production geophysicist with Oxy Qatar in Doha. Karl Street is business development director for Landmark in Dubai.

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