A Quantitative Analysis of the Fluvio-Deltaic Mungaroo Formation: Better-Defining Architectural Elements from 3D Seismic and Well Data

  • Georgina Heldreich

Student thesis: Phd


Upper to lower delta plain fluvial sand bodies, sealed by delta plain mudstones, form important hydrocarbon reservoir targets. Modelling complex geobodies in the subsurface is challenging, with a significant degree of uncertainty on dimensions, distribution and connectivity. Studies of modern and ancient paralic systems have produced a myriad of nomenclature and hierarchy schemes for classifying fluvial architectural elements; often lacking clearly-defined terminology. These are largely based on outcrop data where lateral and vertical relationships of bounding scour surfaces can be assessed in detail. Many of these key defining criteria are difficult to recognise or cannot be obtained from typical 3D seismic reflection data at reservoir depths greater than or equal to 2 km subsurface. This research provides a detailed statistical analysis of the Triassic fluvio-deltaic Mungaroo Formation on the North West Shelf of Australia, which is one of the most important gas plays in the world. A multidisciplinary approach addresses the challenge of characterising the reservoir by utilising an integrated dataset of 830 m of conventional core, wireline logs from 21 wells (penetrating up to 1.4 km of the upper Mungaroo Fm) and a 3D seismic volume covering approximately 10,000 km2. Using seismic attribute analysis and frequency decomposition, constrained by well and core data, the planform geobody geometries and dimensions of a variety of architectural elements at different scales of observation are extracted. The results produce a statistically significant geobody database comprising over 27,000 measurements made from more than 6,000 sample points. Three classes of geobodies are identified and interpreted to represent fluvial channel belts and channel belt complexes of varying scales. Fluvial geobody dimensions and geomorphology vary spatially and temporally and the inferred controls on reservoir distribution and architecture are discussed. Results document periods of regression and transgression, interpreted in relation to potential allocyclic and autocyclic controls on the evolution of the depositional system.Statistical analysis of width-to-thickness dimensions and key metrics, such as sinuosity, provided a well-constrained and valuable dataset that augments, and has been compared to, existing published datasets. Uncertainty in interpretation caused by data resolution is addressed; something recognised in many other studies of paralic systems. Given the data distribution, type and resolution, geobodies have possible interpretations as either incised valleys or amalgamated channel belts, with implications for developing predictive models of the system.This study offers the first published, statistically significant dataset for the Mungaroo Formation. It builds upon previous regional work, offering a detailed analysis of this continental scale paralic system and provides insight into the controls and mechanisms that influenced its spatial and temporal evolution. Focusing on improved understanding of geobody distribution and origin, the statistical parameters generated provide a robust dataset that can be used for 3D static reservoir models of analogue systems. Thus, helping to constrain potential geobody dimensions and reduce the uncertainties associated with modelling.
Date of Award1 Aug 2017
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorDavid Hodgetts (Supervisor) & Jonathan Redfern (Supervisor)


  • Geostatistics
  • Geobody Geometries
  • Seismic Attribute Analysis
  • Sedimentology
  • Mungaroo Formation
  • Fluvio - Deltaic
  • Triassic

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