Petroleum Geologists typically study hydrocarbon bearing reservoirs, understand the geology, and build numerical models to help better produce hydrocarbon. On the other hand, conventional sedimentologists try to simulate the natural process of sedimentation in laboratory through miniature sand box models to better understand such processes. But a proper integration of the laboratory-based techniques in developing subsurface reservoirs models was always lacking in the industry.
Petroleum geologists developed computer based geostatistical techniques based quantitative statistics like variograms, histograms to develop stochastic models of reservoirs which could be used to put a number and range on the geological uncertainty. However, geostatistics deals more with regularly sampled data, describing their spatial variability and directionality. In development oil fields with many wells sampling the reservoir, geostatistics helps us to create a more predictive subsurface reservoir model. However, in the exploratory state of a field with few drilled wells, the data for geostatistical analysis reduces and a robust conceptual geological is needed to build a predictive subsurface geological model where a proper integration of sedimentology and petroleum geology is required.
Different approaches like conceptual block diagrams of depositional models, average sand distribution maps, training images from present day analogs were tried. However, these were less than optimal, deterministic with a long turnaround time for any robust subsurface reservoir model.
A relatively recent addition to the geologist's set of quantitative tools has been Geologic Process Modeling (GPM), also known as Forward Stratigraphic Modeling (FSM) technique. This technique aims to digitally model the natural processes of erosion, transport and deposition of clastic sediments, as well as carbonate growth and redistribution based on quantitative deterministic physical principles (Cross 1990; Tetzlaff & Priddy 2001; Merriam & Davis 2001). The results show the geometry and composition of the stratigraphic sequence as a consequence of sea-level change, paleogeography, paleoclimate, tectonics and variation in sediment input. In other words, GPM brings the sedimentologists laboratory sandbox model to a petroleum geologist in his computer with the opportunity of unlimited experimentation. GPM technique is based solely on numeric modeling of open-channel flow, currents, waves, and the movement of sediment. The observed stratigraphy is the result of modeling a physical system which can then be further used for refinement in a geological facies model. (Tetzlaff et. al 2014) In the current study a 3D reservoir model for a field in Western Offshore India was built based on the results of Geological Process Model (GPM) for the thin deltaic reservoir sands as understanding reservoir continuity from seismic data was not possible. With only 4 wells available in the field, traditional geostatistics based reservoir models were inadequate in explaining the reservoir distribution. GPM based techniques helped not only in mapping the reservoir continuity but also opened up new areas for exploration in the area.