Abstract

Volume interpretation and visualization technologies are having a significant impact on upstream geoscience and engineering activities at ExxonMobil. From regional exploration to mature field development, from seismic interpretation to detailed well planning, from macroscopic to microscopic scales, volume interpretation and visualization technologies can improve business results.

Volume interpretation includes the methods and tools for efficient interpretation and analysis of 3-dimensional data using techniques such as geologic feature extraction, volumetric multi-attribute integration and analysis, and interactive well path planning. Visualization technologies facilitate the rapid comprehension of 3-D data through the interactive rendering of volumes, surfaces, lines, and points. We will use the term "Volume Interpretation" to include both interpretation and visualization technologies.

ExxonMobil's volume interpretation capabilities are derived from the integration of powerful computers, advanced display technology, commercial and proprietary software, and specialized geoscience and engineering methods. The value of ExxonMobil's combined volume interpretation and visualization techniques is measured in terms of

  1. exploration and development cycle time;

  2. technical quality;

  3. improved communication and collaboration;

  4. reserve additions;

  5. reservoir management;

  6. cost savings; and

  7. next generation technology development.

Appropriate application of state-ofthe-art volume interpretation technologies help enable ExxonMobil to execute a large portfolio of geoscience projects across a range of business stages.

Introduction

Volume interpretation technologies consist of computer hardware, software tools, and geoscience and engineering techniques for the examination and analysis of 3-dimensional data. But equally important to the "hard" technologies are the various "soft" work processes adopted to take advantage of volume interpretation. Some examples of these are large-scale collaboration, stereo viewing, spatial and temporal animation, rapid integration, and cross-functional learning.

The successful deployment of volume interpretation requires much more than the purchase of infrastructure and software. Successful development and application of state-ofart volume interpretation technologies requires a team of skilled geoscientists and engineers, software engineering expertise, a network of high speed, multi-processor graphic computers, large data storage systems, and a selective toolkit of volume interpretation software. Proprietary software modules developed to capitalize on our specific technical methods and organizational systems add powerful capabilities to selected vendor applications. This approach ensures that new functionality is rapidly incorporated and can be immediately used on business problems. ExxonMobil volume interpretation applications provide enhanced solutions to a wide range of technical challenges including:

  • quantitative DHI/AVO analyses,

  • quantitative reservoir properties,

  • migration pathway analysis,

  • integrated reservoir models,

  • interactive well planning and real-time geosteering,

  • data mining and pattern recognition,

  • flow simulation analysis for reservoir management and development planning, and

  • visualization center-to-visualization center collaboration.

Volume interpretation can be used to shorten the time from exploration reconnaissance to first production and improve the quality of technical interpretations through new methods of integrating complex and multidisciplinary types of data. These methods and tools can significantly improve work processes and when properly applied, directly translating into improved business perfor

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