Fault interpretation uncertainties using seismic data, and the effects on fault seal analysis: a case study from the Horda Platform, with implications for CO 2 storage

Michie, Emma A. H.; Mulrooney, Mark J.; Braathen, Alvar

Significant uncertainties occur through varying methodologies when interpreting faults using seismic data. These uncertainties are carried through to the interpretation of how faults may act as baffles or barriers, or increase fluid flow. How fault segments are picked when interpreting structures, i.e. which seismic line orientation, bin spacing and line spacing are specified, as well as what surface generation algorithm is used, will dictate how rugose the surface is and hence will impact any further interpretation such as fault seal or fault growth models. We can observe that an optimum spacing for fault interpretation for this case study is set at approximately 100 m, both for accuracy of analysis but also for considering time invested. It appears that any additional detail through interpretation with a line spacing of inline-formula≤ 50 m adds complexity associated with sensitivities by the individual interpreter. Further, the locations of all seismic-scale fault segmentation identified on throw–distance plots using the finest line spacing are also observed when 100 m line spacing is used. Hence, interpreting at a finer scale may not necessarily improve the subsurface model and any related analysis but in fact lead to the production of very rough surfaces, which impacts any further fault analysis. Interpreting on spacing greater than 100 m often leads to overly smoothed fault surfaces that miss details that could be crucial, both for fault seal as well as for fault growth models.

Uncertainty in seismic interpretation methodology will follow through to fault seal analysis, specifically for analysis of whether in situ stresses combined with increased pressure through COinline-formula2 injection will act to reactivate the faults, leading to up-fault fluid flow. We have shown that changing picking strategies alter the interpreted stability of the fault, where picking with an increased line spacing has shown to increase the overall fault stability. Picking strategy has shown to have a minor, although potentially crucial, impact on the predicted shale gouge ratio.

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Michie, Emma A. H. / Mulrooney, Mark J. / Braathen, Alvar: Fault interpretation uncertainties using seismic data, and the effects on fault seal analysis: a case study from the Horda Platform, with implications for CO2 storage. 2021. Copernicus Publications.

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