Towards an effective automated interpretation method for modern hydrocarbon borehole geophysical images
Borehole imaging is one of the fastest and most precise methods for collecting subsurface data that provides high resolution information on layering, texture and dips, permitting a core-like description of the subsurface. Although the range of information recoverable from this technology is widely acknowledged, image logs are still used in a strictly qualitative manner. Interpreting image logs manually is cumbersome, time consuming and is subjective based on the experience of the interpreter. This thesis outlines new methods that automate image log interpretation and extract subsurface lithofacies information in a quantitative manner. We developed two methodologies based on advanced image analysis techniques successfully employed in remote sensing and medical imaging. The first one is a pixelbased pattern recognition technique applying textural analysis to quantify image textural properties. These properties together with standard logs and core-derived lithofacies information are used to train a back propagation Neural Network. In principle the trained and tested Neural Network is applicable for automated borehole image interpretation from similar geological settings. However, this pixel-based approach fails to make use explicitly of the spatial characteristics of a high resolution image. TAT second methodology is introduced which groups identical neighbouring pixels into objects. The resultant spectrally and spatially consistent objects are then related to geologically meaningful groups such as lithofacies by employing fuzzy classifiers. This method showed better results and is applied to outcrop photos, core photos and image logs, including a ‘difficult’ data set from a deviated well. The latter image log did not distinguish some of the conductive and resistive regions, as observed from standard logs and core photos. This is overcome by marking bed boundaries using standard logs. Bed orientations were estimated using an automated sinusoid fitting algorithm within a formal uncertainty framework in order to distinguish dipping beds and horizontal stratification. Integration of these derived logs in the methodology yields a complete automated lithofacies identification, even from the difficult dataset. The results were validated through the interpretation of cored intervals by a geologist. This is a supervised classification method which incorporates the expertise of one or several geologists, and hence includes human logic, reasoning, and current knowledge of the field heterogeneity. By including multiple geologists in the training, the results become less dependent on each individual’s subjectivity and prior experience. The method is also easily adaptable to other geological settings. In addition, it is applicable to several kinds of borehole images, for example wireline electrical borehole wall images, core photographs, and logging-while-drilling (LWD) images. Thus, the theme of this dissertation is the development of methodologies which makes image log interpretation simpler, faster, less subjective, and efficient such that it can be applied to large quantities of data.