Towards Reducing Structural Interpretation Uncertainties Using Seismic Data

Abstract : Subsurface structural models are routinely used for resource estimation, numerical simulations, and risk management; it is therefore important that subsurface models represent the geometry of geological objects accurately. The first step in building a subsurface model is usually to interpret structural features, such as faults and horizons, from a seismic image; the identified structural features are then used to build a subsurface model using interpolation methods. Subsurface models built this way therefore inherit interpretation uncertainties since a single seismic image often supports multiple structural interpretations. In this manuscript, I study the problem of reducing interpretation uncertainties using seismic data. In particular, I study the problem of using seismic data to determine which structural models are more likely than others in an ensemble of geologically plausible structural models. I refer to this problem as "appraising structural models using seismic data". I introduce and formalize the problem of appraising structural interpretations using seismic data. I propose to solve the problem by generating synthetic data for each structural interpretation and then to compute misfit values for each interpretation; this allows us to rank the different structural interpretations. The main challenge of appraising structural models using seismic data is to propose appropriate data misfit functions. I derive a set of conditions that have to be satisfied by the data misfit function for a successful appraisal of structural models. I argue that since it is not possible to satisfy these conditions using vertical seismic profile (VSP) data, it is not possible to appraise structural interpretations using VSP data in the most general case. The conditions imposed on the data misfit function can in principle be satisfied for surface seismic data. In practice, however, it remains a challenge to propose and compute data misfit functions that satisfy those conditions. I conclude the manuscript by highlighting practical issues of appraising structural interpretations using surface seismic data. I propose a general data misfit function that is made of two main components: (1) a residual operator that computes data residuals, and (2) a projection operator that projects the data residuals from the data-space into the image-domain. This misfit function is therefore localized in space, as it outputs data misfit values in the image-domain. However, I am still unable to propose a practical implementation of this misfit function that satisfies the conditions imposed for a successful appraisal of structural interpretations; this is a subject for further research.
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Modeste Irakarama. Towards Reducing Structural Interpretation Uncertainties Using Seismic Data. Applied geology. Université de Lorraine, 2019. English. ⟨NNT : 2019LORR0060⟩. ⟨tel-02329173⟩

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