Gravity for Hydrocarbon Exploration

In an article recently published in GEOExPro, guest author Christine Fichler and Column Editors Martin Landrø and Lasse Amundsen discuss three important situations where gravity data can make a significant impact in hydrocarbon exploration. The cases are well-illustrated by gravity interpretation examples created in Geosoft Oasis montaj.

The first addresses limitations common in early exploration phases: lack of geological information due to little or no seismic coverage. A synthetic model of crystalline basement and sediments is presented and discussed to illustrate how gravity density interpretation can address questions of basin geometry, sedimentary thickness, and structural trends in these cases. Often they have been confirmed by seismic years later.

The second explains how gravity data can be crucial to help define the edge and base of salt diapirs to complement the difficulty of seismically imaging these formations. A successful example shows how imaging salt on seismic can benefit from gravity in different phases.

The final case is most interesting - how high resolution gravity data can be usefully applied in shallow lithology and gas mapping situations. By combining it with 3D seismic interpretation, gas saturation levels in shallow targets can be readily estimated.

The authors close by summarizing cost savings that can be gained by employing gravity data in these and other hydrocarbon exploration programs.

Read the article published in GEO ExPro.

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