Kinematic restoration has been widely used to assess the validity of geological interpretations and constrain the timing and nature of structural development. The techniques attempt to transform a 2D section and/or 3D geological model from one deformational state to another while conserving bed length, area or volume. This approach has proven particularly effective for unraveling the development of salt provinces, where the deformation associated with salt-related movement can add significant structural complexity.

Traditional restoration involves a combination of backstripping, restoration of horizons to a regional level and removal of across-fault offsets. Salt, which often masks deformation on seismic reflection surveys, cannot be restored directly using these techniques and is, therefore, assumed to flow out of the model as the overlying sedimentary basins develop. In this paper the principals behind forward modelling and restoring a salt diapir are detailed and evaluated with respect to the development of an active salt dome adjacent to the Butch Discovery, offshore Norway (Centrica (operator, 40%), Suncor Energy (30%), Faroe Petroleum (15%), and Tullow Oil (15%)). The presented results consider the impact and significance of different kinematic unfolding algorithms and the importance of out-of-plane movement when working in two and three dimensions.


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