Volume interpretation and visualization technology were used to fast-track a frontier exploration project involving over 6500 km2 of 3-D data and over 10,000 km of 2-D data. Two large concessions were evaluated, with the project progressing from initial data evaluation to drilling operations in a total of eighteen months. Volume interpretation and visualization technology were critical to this timeline, and were used in a variety of ways to allow these very large datasets to be analyzed in a short period of time. This presentation will be a live demonstration of that workflow, illustrating key uses of visualization technology in advancing the project.

Volume interpretation and visualization technologies from several vendors, as well as proprietary development, were used to accomplish the following tasks in the project life cycle:

  1. Initial scans through the seismic data, including transparency visualization to highlight amplitude anomalies and possible shallow DHIs

  2. Regional mapping using volume-based autotrackers

  3. Seafloor mapping and hazards analysis

  4. Spectral decomposition to identify stratigraphic features

  5. Volume-based attribute calculation to improve characterization of specific features in the data

  6. Volume-based fault and salt interpretation

  7. Volume-based pore pressure modeling

  8. Prospect-specific event mapping

  9. Visualization and interpretation of well results and special processing results

The benefits of the technology in improved productivity are clear: over a period of twelve months, some ninety leads were identified from 2-D and 3-D data; from this lead inventory, seven first-tier prospects were identified, of which two were ultimately selected as drilling candidates. Within six months of final prospect selection, the wells were drilled, and the same technologies are now being used to integrate the well results with the pre-drill subsurface interpretation.

This work demonstrates the value of volume interpretation and visualization technology in an exploration setting. The work was done in a heterogeneous, multi-vendor software environment, which, in combination with proprietary technologies, allows best-in-class technology to be applied at every stage.


The authors thank Shell International E&P Inc. and the data owners for permission to publish this paper.

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