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Gulf of Mexico: Mississippi Canyon

Combining Basin Modeling with Seismic Reservoir Characterization Workflows in the Deep-water Gulf of Mexico
Quantitative Seismic interpretation (QSI) integrates well-log data with seismic derived attributes such as impedances to interpret lithofacies spatial distribution. The well-log data serve as basis to build a training data of lithofacies elastic properties distributions. The training data is traditionally extended through rock physics to include any expected scenarios that are not captured by the well data. Predicting the scenarios not seen at the available well-control can come from basin modeling simulations of pressure and temperature histories across the study area. 
 
In structurally complex areas such as salt withdrawal mini-basins, basin modeling can guide rock physics models on how to extrapolate to scenarios not seen by spatially limited well control. Basin modeling can reasonably simulate the pressure and thermal histories even with spatially limited well-control as long as the model properly accounts for the structural evolution. Understanding the differences in pressure and temperature across the study area and hence the seismic signature can improve the QSI workflow in extending the training data to capture the spatial trends and also improve the derived results from seismic inversion by adding the extended data to the inversion background model. In this project, graduate student Wisam AlKawai explores the value added by basin modeling results to QSI workflows in the case of limited well control by testing the interpreted lithofacies spatial distributions by QSI. 
 
Thunder Horse Mini-Basin in the Mississippi Canyon, Gulf of Mexico
 
 
Although the Gulf of Mexico is one of the most studied basins, there are still ambiguities about the petroleum system development in the basin due due to several factors such as the complex structural framework associated with salt and the paucity of source rock data. Thunder Horse mini-basin is an example of the structural complexity associated with salt movement because the mini-basin history involve : formation of the mini-basin, inversion of the mini-basin into a turtle structure and extrusion of a shallow salt tongue. In this study, graduate student Wisam AlKawai explores the implications of salt movement and overpressure development in Thunder Horse to the source rock maturation and migration pathways.
 
The first part of the study is characterizing the distribution of the deep-water sand reservoirs  and the relationship between their develoment and the salt movement. The second part is understanding the development of overpressure by multiple processes particularly disequilbrium compaction and smectite to illite transformation. The thrid part is combining the results from the other two parts in basin modeling to properly simulate the source rock maturation and migration pathways.