In basins with unconventional plays, the importance of structural and tectonic inheritance on explorability and producability is oftentimes neglected. While a structural evaluation of the area of interest is routinely achieved locally (e.g., to predict natural fractures in the target zone), integration of this information into a regional framework is hampered by several factors – these can include a lack of appropriate company expertise, time and acreage constraints and the prevailing notion that structural information is less important for a particular unconventional play. The importance of an adequate regional structural evaluation is particularly relevant for the basin modeler, as basin models are used to predict maturity and fluid type by determining burial and thermal histories. In many basins, however, burial history alone does not adequately describe the observed maturity-controlling temperature gradient (e.g., Williston Basin). In these cases, an integration of structural and tectonic basin histories will commonly improve the accuracy and predictability of the basin model and basin maturity, respectively. This can be achieved in most cases by integration of available well information with regional datasets such as gravity and magnetics.

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