The fault characterisation is a key for the hydrocarbon fields’ exploration and production where it provides trap boundary and fluid flow baffle at many scales. By its nature the fault is a complex, discrete and much localized component of the subsurface and its characterisation is a difficult task involving many techniques, expertise on poorly accurate data sources. A review of the fault’s fundamental concepts, operational context, source data, tools and methods leading and constraining its characterisation and representation is proposed. These extensive reviews on the yet blooming fault modelling tools, R&D activity and know-how by object-oriented analysis and design techniques inherited from the computer science domain allow proposing a paradigm, the Fault Object, a self descriptive, self operative tool. The “Fault Object”, a proposal for building a generalized fault model, is introduced and its attributes, representations, interfaces and methods are detailed. Finally, the added-value of the model is highlighted by its application to workflow design and adaptation, software toolbox developments, training set-up, uncertainty evaluation and parameters ranking or R&D projects design.


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