Generation of a Synthetic Vertical Profile of a Fluvial Sandstone Body
- Paul Edwin Potter (Indiana U., Indiana Geological Survey) | Robert F. Blakely (Indiana U., Indiana Geological Survey)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Society of Petroleum Engineers Journal
- Publication Date
- September 1967
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 243 - 251
- 1967. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 5.8.7 Carbonate Reservoir, 4.3.4 Scale, 1.2.3 Rock properties, 2.4.3 Sand/Solids Control
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Any stratigraphic section or bedding sequence can be synthesized if there is a transition procedure from one lithology or bedding type to another, and if thickness distributions of the different lithologies are known. Stratigraphic sections of a fluvial sandstone body were synthesized with five bedding types: cross-bedding, massive beds, parting lineation, ripple mark and mudstone. The transition procedure from one bedding type to another used dependent, Markovian random processes which have a memory that extends one step backward in the depositional process. As observed in nature, median grain size and sand wave thickness (cross-bedding and ripple mark) decline upward in the synthesized sections as proportions of the different bedding types change. Grain size and permeability were also incorporated into the sections. By changing the transition procedures, bed thickness distributions, rate of upward decline or sand wave height and length, different types of sections can be synthesized, thus making it possible to model many different sedimentation problems.
This paper describes a general method for synthesizing stratigraphic sections and bedding sequences of sedimentary, metamorphic or igneous origin. Synthetic generation is of interest for several reasons. Close correspondence between real and synthetic sections suggest that the factors used in the synthesizing model may indeed be the correct ones, thus giving the investigator a check on his assumptions. Rapid, inexpensive simulation of many stratigraphic sections permits one to synthesize a rock body (sandstone or carbonate reservoir) or, on a larger scale, the fill of a sedimentary basin. Harbaugh gives an example of mathematical simulation of a carbonate basin. He simulated the basin in the hope that improved prediction would follow better understanding of the depositional processes. From the petroleum engineer's viewpoint it seems reasonable to believe that the synthetic generation of rock properties and their distribution in a reservoir should be relevant in the study of reservoirs.
Any stratigraphic section or bedding sequence can be generated provided there is a transition procedure from one lithology or bedding type to another and provided the thickness distributions of the different units are known. The transition procedure involves random processes that are either independent or dependent. If the depositional process is independent, previous deposition will have no influence on present deposition. However, if it is dependent, past deposition will influence either present or future deposition. Such a dependent depositional process can be thought of as having a memory that extends backward in time through one or more pulses of deposition. A process with a memory can be described by a Markov process. Because the concept of memory or dependence appears to be in accord with our understanding of many depositional processes, Markov processes were used to synthesize the bedding sequences of this study (see Appendix).
The above methods are perfectly general and are appropriate for any stratigraphic section or bedding sequence: bedding types in a beach deposit, an evolving carbonate bank or the changing lithologic fill of a thick geosyncline sequence. We chose to synthesize a vertical profile of a fluvial sandstone body because its characteristics were well documented, much was known about fluvial processes and fluvial-deltaic sandstone bodies constitute an important class of petroleum reservoirs.
CHARACTERISTICS AND ORIGIN OF FLUVIAL CYCLE
The fluvial cycle has been well documented in recent years by Bersier, Allen and Visher. Deposits from fluvial cycles range from 10 to 150 ft or more in thickness and are characterized by a "fining upwards": coarse sandstones with occasional conglomerates grade upward into medium- to fine-grained sandstone, and hence into siltstone and mudstone.
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