Leveraging 3D Wheeler Diagrams and relative time mapping in seismic data to improve stratigraphic interpretation: Application, Assumptions, and Sequence Stratigraphic Revelations

Monday, 15 December 2014
Lisa Renee' Goggin, Chevron Corporation Houston, Houston, TX, United States
Our understanding of subsurface stratigraphic relationships is guided by stratigraphic concepts that were developed using many varieties and scales of data including paleontological samples, cuttings and core, outcrop analogs, well logs, and seismic. Subsurface stratigraphic correlations are strongly influenced by the type, density, and distribution of the data available. The exploration geologist typically interprets 2D and 3D seismic reflections to define prospects and plays. In structurally simple areas, he or she often assumes that seismic reflectors mark depositional boundaries that are essentially time-synchronous events represented by a single wavelet character. In reality, seismic reflectors usually display spatial wavelet variability, seldom resolve individual beds and are the product of the amplitude expression of a range of lithologic changes that encompasses a range of geologic time and depositional processes. Our assumption that seismic reflections are time-synchronous can lead to errors in stratigraphic correlation that only become evident when our prediction of well or field performance is unrealized. To mitigate the potential for this correlation error, we must modify how we interpret seismic data. 

 In this presentation we will focus on the concept of defining or approximating time-correlative surfaces in seismic data, leverage concepts of the Wheeler transform to place these seismic reflectors into the relative time domain and then examine the diachronous nature of these time-mapped surfaces in 3D. We will then explore how the 3D mapping of time-correlative surfaces fits sequence stratigraphic concepts and discuss whether this new approach requires us to change our interpretation paradigms.