Virtual Outcrops: 3-D reservoir analogues

Jamie K. Pringle, J.D. Clark, A.R. Westerman, D.A. Stanbrook, A.R. Gardiner, and B.E.F. Morgan

Sedimentary architectures observed in 2-D outcrop sections are commonly used to build petroleum reservoir models. Advances in digital photogrammetry now allow the analysis of outcrop analogue aerial photographs, not only in three dimensions, but also dynamically. Digital photogrammetric techniques have also been adapted to close range photographs of well exposed cliff sections, to derive high resolution, bedding measurements in 3-D. Merging the aerial and terrestrial photogrammetric output with other data, such as shallow cores or Ground Penetrating Radar creates 3-D volumetric, Digital Solid Models (DSM) (see research website). A DSM can be extensively interrogated and the resulting meta-data used to construct 3-D, deterministic, reservoir models. Subsequent fluid flow simulations through these reservoir models can be animated, allowing identification of areas of interest or potential field management problems, such as by-passed hydrocarbons. Animations constructed from digital fly-throughs of these models communicate results from target outcrops, pinpointing areas of interest for follow-up field reconnaissance and better understanding of stratigraphy.