In oil and gas exploration, geologists use seismic data to image subsurface geology and identify potential hydrocarbon accumulations. Often these images lack the necessary resolution to capture complex patterns of rock layers and other stratigraphic details. Under-resolved imaging can lead to drilling unproductive wells—at a cost of $100 million or more—or to overly optimistic production forecasts.
Geologists at Shell developed algorithms in MATLAB® that use measurements from known geologic features to predict other features in the same region. These algorithms provide statistical prognoses of reservoir presence and character, which are used to optimize reservoir development and improve production forecasts. The geologists worked with MathWorks Consulting Services to package and deploy the algorithms to other Shell geologists worldwide.
“The combination of our domain knowledge with the MathWorks consultants’ experience in developing software frameworks in MATLAB enabled us to develop a more usable interface and deployment model,” says Nick Howes, geologist at Shell.