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GeoTeric: the future for seismic interpretation

Innovation and Heritage

Investment in new and innovative technologies plays an increasingly critical role in the pursuit of finding and exploiting economic and profitable hydrocarbon reserves. Nothing is more critical for that success than development of a heightened understanding of the subsurface, its geological composition and geophysical characteristics. From early in the lifetime of a hydrocarbon asset through its development and production, critical decisions are constantly made on this understanding.

With a heritage in medical imaging, ffA have been pioneers of advances in seismic interpretation techniques for over 15 years. Throughout this time ffA's focus has been developing new and innovative ways of using objective image processing techniques to investigate and analyse 3D seismic data. Already renowned for pioneering the term 3D seismic analysis and introducing geobody analysis, RGB and CMY colour blending techniques and bringing frequency decomposition and spectral enhancement to the market.

ffA have broken down the barriers to within 3D seismic data to objectively provide geological information directly to the seismic interpreter.

The Geological Expression Software

Earlier this year ffA reached a milestone in the Company's history with the launch of GeoTeric, the Geological Expression software which delivers a new paradigm in seismic interpretation.

Geological Expression has been developed to bridge the gap between processing, interpretation and 3D modelling by directly translating geophysical data into geological information. Based on ffA proprietary technology GeoTeric overcomes the challenges faced by interpreters across the spectrum of geological and geophysical environments including salts, pre-salt, carbonates, faults, shale and clastics.

GeoTeric will unlock the full potential of seismic data giving interpreters the power to make the most informed, seismically-driven decisions. GeoTeric has been developed to minimise interpretation workflow times and maximise the life of field more rapidly than any other application available in the market today.

This is vital in all Exploration environments globally, but none more so that in the deepwater salt and carbonates environments of the Santos Basin.

Geological Expression, supports a more efficient way of working in seismic interpretation. The Geological Expression workflow fully embraces seismic attributes but integrates methods that make it much easier to identify, access and utilise the information that is relevant to achieving the interpreter's objectives.

These techniques allow that information to be turned into "tangible" representations of geological elements that can be taken into the next stages of the overall subsurface workflow.

Better understanding and greater certainty

Within E&P activities globally, 3D seismic data remains the only way to access the subsurface information needed to build an understanding of the geology at hand at a reasonable lateral resolution, away from the pinpoint sampling of an exploration wells. This is why in 2011 the industry has invested some £8 billion (GBP) in seismic acquisition and processing, resulting in seismic data coverage for some 11 million square kilometres of licensed offshore acreage.

The past five years has seen marked advances in seismic acquisition and processing technologies, with larger survey acquisitions at higher resolutions leading to increasing volumes of 3D seismic data requiring interpretation. With this flood of data, economic realities have placed a restriction on the time available for their interpretation, meaning the very data source which has seen such significant investment, is not being adequately mined for the subsurface information it contains.

Conversely, frontier exploration is taking place in some of the most challenging geographical locations and inhospitable environments; where exploration costs are high, the margins are smaller.

This is precisely where improvements in subsurface understanding can be used to reduce the uncertainty associated with reserves estimates and recovery risks, allowing for better decisions to be made in these tight margin cases.

This is precisely where 3D seismic data needs to be fully exploited and where the first return on that acquisition investment needs to be made, through the use of innovative geological expression technologies within the interpretation workflow.

With richer information comes better understanding, with better understanding comes greater certainty.

Salt and its Geological Expression

In pre-salt and salt environments GeoTeric will provide rapid and tailored regional reconnaissance, produce accurate salt boundary delineations, and define the true 3D geometry of salt features. GeoTeric generates the geological information Interpreters need to overcome the complex imaging and interpretation challenges of sub-salt and pre-salt datasets and will provide detailed representations of diapirs and canopies for salt-related reservoir analysis and trapping geometries.

With advanced noise attenuation, GeoTeric makes sub-salt seismic events easier to map, objectively revealing intricate geological changes that can indicate potential hydrocarbons. Finer variations in seismic signature – invisible in seismic reflectivity – are quickly detected.

The GeoTeric Noise Cancellation and Data Conditioning workflows add enormous value to all seismic data in any geological environment and reveals the geology within existing data set, removing the requirement for re-processing.

GeoTeric's geological expression capabilities directly target salt dependent stratigraphic traps; imaging of salt body geometries in unprecedented detail and clarity, alongside associated fault and fracture systems and depositional layers in the surrounding matrix, ensures that all the information needed for successful salt trap interpretation is extracted from seismic data.

The Industry leading Frequency Decomposition, Colour Blending and seismic attributes analysis workflows within GeoTeric are used to power these Geological Expression workflows.

The next stage in the Geological Expression workflow extracts this geology into highly detailed 3D object representations. The pioneering Adaptive Geobodies technology - developed by ffA in collaboration with Lundin Norge - is exclusively the only interpretation technology that can extract 3D representations of geology from multi-attribute data whilst being robust to significant changes in the expression of that geology. This robust delineation is achieved through combination of statistical data driven surface tracking techniques and the ability for precise interpreter control in real time.

The result is the ability to rapidly track and extract salt and other complex geological structures in its vicinity, at levels of detail many orders higher that would be otherwise achieved and in a fraction of the time.

GeoTeric has become the market leader in geological expression technology, its capabilities allowing interpreters to power on in pre-salt environments and through complex salt interpretation challenges.

Adaptive Geobodies: Turning viability geology into geological model content in real time

Adaptive Geobodies empowers interpreters to generate 3D geobodies in real time based on single or multiple attribute responses intuitively, interactively and most importantly quickly.

Adaptive Geobodies gives the interpreter interactive control over the objective data driven parameters used by the technology to track the expression of geology, and the position of any part of the interpreted surface at any time.

The data driven, interpreter guided technology, leaves the machine to do what it does best; detect and follow subtle variation in signal, simultaneously within multiple seismic attributes following expressions that are impossible to interpret or detect on seismic alone, helping the interpreter to discover these geological geometries within their data.

By equal measure, the technology allows interpretative steps to be made, bridging and compensating for ambiguities within the data, incorporating the expert knowledge of the interpreter to guide and when needed intervene in order to extract meaningful geological bodies.

By providing this technology, GeoTeric has made it possible for the interpreter to extract any feature they can see and therefore the power to make the quickest and most informed seismically driven decisions.

Sophisticated 3D manual manipulation tools and the ability to account for the interplay between different elements of the geology makes it possible to extract 3D geobodies in areas such as salt boundaries, braided channel or karst systems where it would be impossible with all other commercially available techniques.

Adaptive Geobodies, is the only data driven, interpreter guided approach to understanding the 3D morphology of the geological elements imaged within the seismic data and will map salt in days, not weeks.

Carbonates and their Geological Expression

The Geological Expression carbonates workflow provides a better understanding of reservoir geometry, heterogeneity and inter-connectivity for effective production from carbonate plays.

Specific expression workflows highlight and delineate carbonate features including Reefs, Build-ups and Karst.

Dissolution features such as karst, breccia and canyons are imaged using one of several attributes which can identify either the edges or the infill of dissolution features. By utilising both sets of information in tandem, intuitive pictures of the dissolution system provide an excellent basis for mapping those features.

Build up and reef features are well characterised by their geometric expression which is captured using GeoTeric's bedform analysis capabilities producing 3D 'map' volumes highlighting mounds, clinoforms, on-laps, and pinchouts, irrespective of their amplitude and highlighting important frequency variation related to thickness and porosity.

GeoTeric will improve well planning and placement by rapidly identifying variations in fracture density that are almost impossible to recognise with conventional interpretation. Comprehensively identifying small scale faults that are at the limit of seismic resolution is impossible to do manually, but with GeoTeric they can be rapidly identified and the density of faulting investigated to define the optimal position for effective production.

Mapping Karsts as 3D Geobodies

Accurate and detailed mapping of Karst geometries is onerous and highly time consuming task, even once their expression has been identified. Without Geological Expression workfows it is a task that it often not undertaken or tried by not accomplished to the detriment of the resulting interpretation an d field development plan.

Geological Expression workflows that leverage the 3D object delineation capabilities of the Adaptive Geobodies can transform this equation making previously impossible tasks, tractable within the everyday interpretation workflow.

As a case in hand; Carbonate build-ups with a limited vertical extent are occasionally expressed as poorly resolved reflectors. These "doublets" are identified by analysing the wavelet shape so that peak and trough anomalies are highlighted in the data.

Once highlighted the doublets are converted into Geobodies using the data driven user guided Adaptive Geobodies technique so that the extent and connectivity of the potential build-up areas can be visualised in 3D. The result are thin but laterally extensive features that can be used to rapidly map out productive areas of these build ups and provide a perimeter pinch out zone geometry in 3D.

In another case; the 3D geometries of vertically extensive dissolution features such as pipes, are imaged and delineated using a similar Geological Expression workflows. The size, extent and connectivity of the features is analysed, and information on the relative density and porosity of the surrounding rock can be inferred from the extent of the dissolution.

Combining these techniques to map karst and dissolution systems with the fault imaging capabilities of GeoTeric to identify fault corridors, GeoTeric is able to rapidly provide the interpreter with 3D understanding of compartmentalisation and potential oil migration pathways throughout the reservoir, significantly reducing drilling risk and increasing recovery potential.

Geological Expression utilises sophisticated technology to deliver dramatic gains in productivity through a workflow whose structure will be familiar to seismic interpreters.

The power to make the most seismically driven decisions.

Geological Expression combines an interactive data driven approach which is guided by the interpreter in real time, this the future of seismic interpretation. It integrates the interpreter knowledge and the objective measurement together and leads to more accurate interpretations and extreme productivity gains.

Geological Expression workflows now give the interpreter the power to make the most informed seismically driven decisions, leading to a more efficient route from seismic acquisition to drilling, delivers more accurate information, more quickly and with greater certainty than ever before.

A full Geological Expression workflow, such as embodied in ffA's GeoTeric software can be realised today, bridging the gap between processing and 3D modelling by unlocking access to the heightened levels of geological understanding that can be obtained from 3D seismic data.

The interactive data driven – interpreter guided approach on which the Geological Expression workflow is based is fundamental to being able to deal with the immense and ever increasing volume of seismic data that the Exploration & Production industry is investing so heavily in acquiring.

For further information on GeoTeric, the Geological Expression software, please contact

Romario Lima:

Press-Release -  July 3, 2012 - Contributing Authors: J. Henderson, S. Purves, H. Garcia, R. Lima, ffA