Facies classification using unsupervised machine learning

Facies classification using unsupervised machine learning

Facies are uniform sedimentary bodies of rock which are distinguishable enough from each other in terms of physical characteristics (e.g. sedimentary structure, grain sizes), deposited under the action of a relatively uniform hydrodynamic regime in a given depositional setting. The different types of facies based on these properties include sedimentary facies, lithofacies, seismic facies, etc.

Facies are uniform sedimentary bodies of rock which are distinguishable enough from each other in terms of physical characteristics (e.g. sedimentary structure, grain sizes), deposited under the action of a relatively uniform hydrodynamic regime in a given depositional setting. The different types of facies based on these properties include sedimentary facies, lithofacies, seismic facies, etc.

The physical and organic characteristics found in these rock units usually provide some insight into the different process and systems (e.g. depositional environments) which may have occurred in the region. Combinations of several facies with physical models and other geological data can help provide informative low-dimensional models of the geologic region, leading to better insights regarding the geology of the region.

Taken from Wikimedia: An example of facies classification in a geological formation.

In oil and gas exploration, knowledge of the depositional environment is vital as it can help in providing a decent picture of the petroleum systems involved. A petroleum system consists of source rocks (organic matter rich rocks which generate hydrocarbons if heated sufficiently), reservoir rocks (set of rock units that holds hydrocarbon reserves which migrate from the source rock), and seal rock (relatively impermeable rock units that form a barrier around reservoir rocks, preventing hydrocarbon migration beyond the reservoir). A succession of facies with sandstone units, for instance, might be an indicator of a good reservoir, as they tend to have high permeability and porosity, ideal conditions to store hydrocarbons. A common rule known as Walther’s Law of facies stipulates that vertical succession of facies reflects lateral changes in the depositional environment i.e. Two adjacent facies within the rock record must have been deposited laterally in formation. Therefore, the amount of hydrocarbon in place may be estimated by observing the lateral extent and geometries of the facies containing the reservoir units.

data-science machine-learning geology oil-and-gas artificial-intelligence

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