Fault Seal Analysis

Finding and mapping traps and risking fault seals is an everyday task in the oil industry. About 75% of all hydrocarbon-bearing traps are fault-related. Traps are found and mapped mainly using seismic data and/or well data. Seals cannot be seen directly in seismic data and a prediction of their occurrence and quality requires lithological knowledge for which well data is usually necessary.

Predicting the sealing potential of faults requires structural and lithological information.

The term 'fault seal' is also often used in a production context, to describe the effect of fault zones in impairing across-fault fluid flow. These dynamic seals might not be capable of retaining hydrocarbons over a geological timescale, but their relatively low permeability may dramatically impact on production rates and strategies.


Our range of in-house software for fault seal analysis include:

  • TrapTester T7 for complete 3D structural & stratigraphic infill modelling, hydrocarbon column height prediction, quantification of fault reactivation risk
  • Triangle for quick-look 1D assessment of fault seal and juxtaposition
  • TransGen for generating geologically robust transmissibility multipliers for cellular models

How we can help you:

Fault-plane mapping: Produce a 3D framework model of the prospect containing detailed reservoir units and/or well properties mapped on the fault surface to show which reservoirs are juxtaposed across the faults and where.

Fault-zone composition: Predict the distribution of the main fault-rock types where reservoirs are in potential communication across the fault (e.g. as indicated by calculation of 'Shale Gouge Ratio').

Hydrocarbon column height: Estimate seal capacity of the fault by calibrating the fault-zone composition with observed hydrocarbon accumulations. And use these calibrations to predict the height of the hydrocarbon column than can be supported by the fault.

Fault Reactivation: Establish the likelihood that the fault may be prone to reactivation under in-situ stress conditions.

Fault properties for reservoir models: Derive geologically realistic fault properties, such as fault-zone permeability and transmissibility modifiers for use in history matching.

Badleys worldwide experience in Fault Seal Analysis:

For over 20 years, Badleys have been at the forefront of the application of fault seal analysis techniques to quantify the seal characteristics of faults in exploration and production environments. We have applied these methods in all the main hydrocarbon provinces worldwide. Indeed, our methods and workflows have become the industry standard for fault seal assessment.

For further details about our Seismic Interpretation consulting services, please contact our consultancy team.


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