Often there’s no substitute for detailed data from a well-chosen outcrop analogue to help understand reservoir performance in the subsurface. For over a decade we’ve been at the forefront of pioneering new geospatial methods to record and analyse outcrop geology at very high resolution and spatial precision. Since 2004 we’ve laser-scanned hundreds of outcrops (across five continents and in all conditions!) and have some of the most experienced scanner operators anywhere globally. Our lidar data has been the starting point for analysing fractures across four-way closing anticlines, structural characterisation of reservoir analogues , reservoir modelling of 3D sedimentary channel architectures, and much, much more.
Lidar and digital photogrammetry form the basis for much of our outcrop analysis of fractured reservoirs for our industry clients, and for our multi-client fracture studies. These technologies aren’t a substitute for traditional fieldwork – we still spend a lot of time on hands-and-knees up close to the rock – but they are a very cost-effective way to get large datasets across extensive areas of outcrop. So together with differential GNSS (including GPS), these methods are really a tried-and-tested approach to ensure that we can capture typical fracture parameters that span the sub-seismic to seismic scale; i.e. from the cm-scale of a wellbore to much larger than the representative volume at the scale of a reservoir model. See here for a more detailed look at how we combine fracture data from outcrop with other surface and sub-surface data to derive robust inputs for modelling of fractured reservoirs.
We’ve supplemented our lidar data using digital photogrammetry for several years, and since 2013 have captured outcrop imagery with ‘drones’ (also variously known as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, UAVs; Unmanned Aerial Systems, UASs; Remotely Piloted Aircraft, RPAs). We have our own multi-rotor and fixed-wing aircraft, and have multiple pilots with PfCO certification from the CAA to operate UAVs commercially.
Example Project: Outcrop-Scale Innovation Project
Scanning fluvial channels, Spanish Pyrenees.
Integration of sedimentological logs, paleocurrent measurements
and lidar point-cloud.
Field Mapping, Structural De-Risking
We have several thousand days of fieldwork experience for clients around the globe. Sometimes this involves early reconnaissance to acquire the first field data from a new target area; other times we’re tasked with mapping potential fold & fault traps within an exploration block, or to interpret and de-risk specific complex structures.
Typical outputs include geological maps, balanced cross-sections, multiple structural interpretations, and raw field data. All our data are georeferenced, so it’s simple for you to load our waypoints, field observations, photo locations and directions, sample sites, as well as our interpretative outputs directly into ArcGIS, Google Earth, and your favoured G&G software.
We have a long legacy of embracing new mapping and survey technologies – but these are always thoroughly field tested as part of our ongoing academic research projects before deployment for client fieldwork, and are only used if they are robust and provide cost-effective improvements over existing methods. We’ve invested heavily in HSE and technical equipment and training so that we’re ready to mobilise at very short notice to support your fieldwork needs in all environments.
Example Project: Field Mapping, Structural De-Risking
Clients: Perenco, Hess and others
North Zagros fold & thrust belt (Late Precambrian to Recent stratigraphy) in NE Iraq and SE Turkey.
Field mapping of surface stratigraphy and structure across multiple license blocks, to understand trap geometry, potential trap breach, and to identify structural risk.
Structural fieldwork, GPS, GIS data collation, interpretation of satellite imagery, construction of balanced cross-sections, surface to sub-surface correlation (seismic, well data).
Regional to Basin-Scale Analysis
In addition to time spent in the field, we also have extensive experience of office-based regional and basin-scale projects. Some of our multiclient products are based on basin-scale collation of field mapping, satellite imagery, and regional geophysics data. Typical single-client projects involve integration and evaluation of geological, geophysical and geospatial data collated from client’s proprietary datasets and public domain sources.
Example Project: Regional to Basin-Scale Analysis
Client: Independent oil & gas company with interests in East Africa.
Extensional basin, East Africa.
To develop the client’s tectonic framework of the basin and wider region, to integrate exploration data consistently within that framework, and to help to develop and evaluate specific sub-basin plays.
GIS collation of legacy data and regional publications, gravity & magnetic modelling, seismic interpretation, structural cross-sections, structural model.
Continental to Global Tectonics
Despite our passion for field geology, we also understand the critical importance of the big picture! We’ve always combined our outcrop and field-scale projects alongside work in global tectonics and geodynamics, and for well over a decade we’ve supported the development of market-leading continental to global-scale products that help drive exploration.
Example Project: Continental to Global Tectonics
Client: Neftex Petroleum Consultants Ltd (now Halliburton).
Continental to global geodynamics, tectonics and structural geology in relation to oil and gas exploration.
To support the development of Neftex’s global geodynamic earth model.
Big-Data! ArcGIS integration of large volumes of geological data to catalogue global tectono-stratigraphy through the Phanerozoic and Late Proterozoic; crustal-scale tectonic cross-sections; global plate reconstructions.
NASA image credit.
Contact GRL Now:
+44 (0)191 384 1759