From Bureau of Economic Geology, The University of Texas at Austin (
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AAPG Annual Convention, Houston, Texas, April 9–12, 2006

Quantitative Seismic Geomorphology of Pliocene and Miocene-Age Fluvio-Deltaic Reservoirs in the Northern Gulf of Mexico
Shelf Province

Carla M. Sanchez and Lesli Wood


Quantitative Seismic Geomorphology and analysis of morphometric data from both ancient and modern systems have been applied to the analysis of ancient hydrocarbon productive fluvio-deltaic reservoir intervals in order to make predictions about reservoir quality, characterize its external and internal architecture, and explain fluid flow across fields. The northern Gulf of Mexico shelf is a historic gas and oil province where it is believed that significant reserves remain to be produced from similar reservoir types.

Seismic amplitude proportional slices, attribute extractions, and abundant data from 150 well penetrations have been used to collect a significant morphometrics database on the Pliocene and Miocene-age fluvio-deltaic reservoirs of the northern Gulf of Mexico shelf. The study area encompasses approximately 906 sq km across portions of Vermilion Northeast Addition and the South Marsh Island Addition. Integration of basic geomorphologic empirical relationships, the process sedimentology, paleo-flow conditions and lithologic nature of these systems improves predictions of the reservoir distribution and geometry, and allows further understanding of the area’s opportunity and uncertainty. In addition, the collection of dimensional data through the integration of GIS and Workstation Interpretation tools provides statistically robust values for reservoir modeling and enhances the application of analogs in creating appropriate predictive models. Results create new opportunities to pursue in old fields, lend insights into the paleoclimatology of the region and aid in developing models to quantify the nature of the subsurface through quantitative seismic geomorphologic analysis.