Authors: Oppermann, RHJ


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Oppermann, RHJ 2012, 'High-resolution fracture recognition from seismic data ‒ applying oil and gas technology to mining', in Y Potvin (ed.), Deep Mining 2012: Proceedings of the Sixth International Seminar on Deep and High Stress Mining, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 247-255,

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During the last two decades, volume interpretation techniques have revolutionised traditional 3D seismic interpretation workflows in the oil and gas industry. While traditional interpretation mainly relies on an interpreter to work through a large volume of data to identify and manually characterise subsurface geology and resources, volume interpretation allows to filter and classify subsurface features and extract 3D geological information through automated processes at a much faster pace, with higher accuracy and at higher resolution. This paper presents innovative techniques and workflows in structural volume interpretation that have been developed and proven extremely successful in oil and gas projects. More recently, this technology has been applied to mining projects. The workflows integrate highest-resolution, automated fracture network mapping results from 3D seismic data with the detailed calibration and review of various drilling, mining and production data, allowing to delineate fluid barriers, fluid conduits, fault-related mineralisations or drilling and mining hazards in the subsurface. From this, groundbreaking insights can be gained into the 3D distribution of fracture networks, and how these can affect drilling and mining activities and the production of resources. Examples from oil and gas and mining projects around the world demonstrate that these new techniques can provide a step-change in understanding drilling, production and safety issues in existing wells or mines. Furthermore, they can be utilised to optimise future resource activities and recoveries, and increase the safety of future operations. Automated fracture extraction techniques challenge widespread perceptions of what is seismically resolvable from 3D seismic data. Fault and fracture networks can not only be identified faster and more reliably, but also at a much higher resolution than achieved by other current seismic methods. With the increased resolution, much greater fault/fracture densities are identified than previously mapped or recognised, and a better understanding of structural geometries and fault populations can be gained. A focused application of the new technology workflows can deliver increased recoveries from resources. It can also result in safer, cheaper and more successful drilling and mining operations. As such, these new techniques are proposed as Best Practice tools for both mining and oil and gas resource development planning and execution.

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