Analytical Uncertainty Propagation in Facies Classification with Uncertain Log-Data

Ciabarri, Fabio (Eni S.p.A) | Pirrone, Marco (Eni S.p.A) | Tarchiani, Cristiano (Eni S.p.A)


Abstract Log-facies classification aims to predict a vertical profile of facies at well location with log readings or rock properties calculated in the formation evaluation and/or rock-physics modeling analysis as input. Various classification approaches are described in the literature and new ones continue to appear based on emerging Machine Learning techniques. However, most of the available classification methods assume that the inputs are accurate and their inherent uncertainty, related to measurement errors and interpretation steps, is usually neglected. Accounting for facies uncertainty is not a mere exercise in style, rather it is fundamental for the purpose of understanding the reliability of the classification results, and it also represents a critical information for 3D reservoir modeling and/or seismic characterization processes. This is particularly true in wells characterized by high vertical heterogeneity of rock properties or thinly bedded stratigraphy. Among classification methods, probabilistic classifiers, which relies on the principle of Bayes decision theory, offer an intuitive way to model and propagate measurements/rock properties uncertainty into the classification process. In this work, the Bayesian classifier is enhanced such that the most likely classification of facies is expressed by maximizing the integral product between three probability functions. The latters describe: (1) the a-priori information on facies proportion (2) the likelihood of a set of measurements/rock properties to belong to a certain facies-class and (3) the uncertainty of the inputs to the classifier (log data or rock properties derived from them). Reliability of the classification outcome is therefore improved by accounting for both the global uncertainty, related to facies classes overlap in the classification model, and the depth-dependent uncertainty related to log data. As derived in this work, the most interesting feature of the proposed formulation, although generally valid for any type of probability functions, is that it can be analytically solved by representing the input distributions as a Gaussian mixture model and their related uncertainty as an additive white Gaussian noise. This gives a robust, straightforward and fast approach that can be effortlessly integrated in existing classification workflows. The proposed classifier is tested in various well-log characterization studies on clastic depositional environments where Monte-Carlo realizations of rock properties curves, output of a statistical formation evaluation analysis, are used to infer rock properties distributions. Uncertainty on rock properties, modeled as an additive white Gaussian noise, are then statistically estimated (independently at each depth along the well profile) from the ensemble of Monte-Carlo realizations. At the same time, a classifier, based on a Gaussian mixture model, is parametrically inferred from the pointwise mean of the Monte Carlo realizations given an a-priori reference profile of facies. Classification results, given by the a-posteriori facies proportion and the maximum a-posteriori prediction profiles, are finally computed. The classification outcomes clearly highlight that neglecting uncertainty leads to an erroneous final interpretation, especially at the transition zone between different facies. As mentioned, this become particularly remarkable in complex environments and highly heterogeneous scenarios.

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