Understanding exploration and development risk associated with lithology prediction can greatly benefit from the interpretation of 3D seismic data. Such data can afford direct imaging of depositional elements, which can then be analyzed by applying seismic stratigraphic and seismic geomorphologic principles to yield predictions of lithologic distribution with respect to reservoir, source, and seal facies, insights to compartmentalization, and identification of stratigraphic trapping possibilities. Benefits can be direct, whereby depositional elements at exploration depths can be identified and interpreted, or they can be indirect, whereby shallow-buried depositional systems can be clearly imaged and provide analogs to deeper exploration or development targets. Numerous examples of imaged depositional elements from both shallow- and deeply-buried sections are presented. Deep-water deposits, in particular, have benefited greatly from analyses of 3D seismic data. The understanding of the stratigraphic and geomorphological evolution of these deposits has increased significantly as a direct result of 3D seismic-based analyses. In highcost deep-water exploration settings, insights derived from such analyses are critical to reduce risk with regard to reservoir presence and reservoir compartmentalization to ensure economic success. Depositional elements in settings such as shoreface, shelf, estuarine, and fluvial, as well as in carbonate environments also benefit greatly from 3D seismic analyses. Common techniques for geologic visualization include 1) visualizing and illuminating stratigraphic horizons, 2) time slicing and flattened time slicing, 3) interval attribute analysis (including seismic waveform analysis), 4) voxbody interpretation and mapping, 5) 3D perspective rendering, and 6) opacity rendering. The key to successful application of this approach lies in the correct interpretation of geologically meaningful patterns revealed by these techniques. Workflows in conjunction with numerous examples from a variety of geologic settings will be shown.


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