Improved Basin Analog System to Characterize Unconventional Gas Resource



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Unconventional resources will play an important role in filling the gap between supply and demand for future world energy. In North America, the impact of unconventional resources on energy supplies is growing continuously. However, around the world they have yet to serve as a major contributor to the energy supply, partly due to the scarcity of information about the exploration and development technologies required to produce them.

Basin analogy can be used to estimate the undiscovered petroleum potential in a target basin by finding a geological analog that has been explored enough that its resource potential is fully understood. In 2006, Singh developed a basin analog system BASIN (Basin Analog Systems INvestigation) in detail that could rapidly and consistently identify analogous reference basins for a target basin. My research focused on continuing that work, comprehensively improving the basin analog system in four areas: the basin analog method; the database; the software functionality; and the validation methods.

The updated system compares basins in terms of probability distributions of geological parameters. It compensates for data that are sparse or that do not represent basin-level geological parameters, and it expands the system's ability to compare widely varying quantitative parameters. Because the updated BASIN database contains more geologic and petroleum systems information on reference (existing) basins, it identifies analog basins more accurately and efficiently.

The updated BASIN software was developed by using component-based design and data visualization techniques that help users better manage large volumes of information to understand various data objects and their complicated relationships among various data objects.

Validation of the improved BASIN software confirms its accuracy: if a basin selected as the target basin appears in the reference basin list with other basins, the target basin is 100% analogous only to itself. Furthermore, when a target basin is analyzed by both BASIN and PRISE (Petroleum Resources Investigation and Summary Evaluation) software, results of the improved BASIN closely matched the PRISE results, which provides important support for using BASIN and PRISE together to quantitatively estimate the resource potential in frontier basins.