Imaging Sand Bars using 3D GPR in an Outcrop Reservoir Analog: Cretaceous Ferron Sandstone, South-East Utah

Thursday, 17 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Azie Sophia Aziz1, Robert R Stewart1, Mohammad S Ullah2 and Janok Bhattacharya3, (1)University of Houston, Houston, TX, United States, (2)University of Hoston, Houston, TX, United States, (3)McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada
Outcrop analog studies provide crucial information on geometry and facies patterns to improve the understanding of the complex subsurface reservoir architecture for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) planning during field development. Ground-penetrating radar (GPR) has greatly facilitated analog outcrop study progress by bridging the gap in image resolution between seismic and well data. A 3D GPR survey was conducted to visualize architectural elements of friction-dominated distributary mouth bars within proximal delta front deposits in Cretaceous Ferron Sandstone at the top of the Notom Delta in south-east Utah. Sensors and Software’s Noggin 250 MHz system was used over a 25 m x 15 m grid. We employed a spatial sampling of 0.5 m for the inline (dip direction) and 1.5 m for the crossline (strike direction). Standard processing flows including time-zero correction, dewow, gain, background subtraction and 2D migration were used to increase the signal-to-noise ratio. Formation velocity estimates from the hyperbola matching yielded 0.131 m/ns which is comparable to the literature velocity of about 0.125 m/ns. The calculated average dielectric constant (directly related to volumetric water content) is 5.2 matches unsaturated sandstone. The depth of GPR penetration is limited to approximately 3 m - likely due to the compaction/carbonate cementation in the rock and interbedded layers of finer-grained material contributing to higher attenuation of the GPR signal. The vertical resolution is about 0.125 m, enabling the imaging of the dune-scale cross sets (15-20 cm thickness). Calculation of the medium porosity via an adapted Wyllie Time Average equation yields 7.8 % which is consistent with the average porosity (5-10%) obtained from the literature. Bedding diagrams from local cliff exposures in the previous studies show gently NE dipping accretion of single large foresets that were interpreted as small-scale unit bars, the amalgamation of which resulted in the progradation of large mouth bars. The GPR radargrams acquired in this study are not only capable to image the 3D architecture of these individual unit bars, but also capable to differentiate between various proximal mouth-bar facies: upper friction-dominated dune-scale cross beds and bar scale large foresets from lower inertia-dominated basal planar beds.