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Petrel Variogram Modeling: defining values to variograms adjustments

In this workflow we will treat the relationship between geology and geostatistics. In other words, treat how to transform geological information into data for variography. This is not a rule, but a guide to be followed in geological modeling and that must be adapted to each geological situation. After you have done the upscale of the data to the grid, it is necessary to do a statistical analysis of the obtained values. The algorithm used in petrophysical modeling will imply in the need of an adjustment of the variogram and the informations obtained in the statistical analysis of the data. Following a deterministic (kriging) or stochasthic (Sequential Gaussian Simulation) approach, it will be necessary to have the adjustment of the variogram of the data to be populated. If the chosen method is Moving Average (interpolation) than the variogram adjustment will not be necessary. Before explaining the definition of the values to variogram adjustment, it is important to have an idea about some geostatisticals concepts - like covariance, correlation and spatial semivariance - and understand some variogram properties in order to define the parameters according to your geological informations.

Introduction to the concepts of covariance, correlation and spatial semivariance

Certainly you have seen that covariance and correlation are measures of similarity between two different variables. To extend these concepts to spatial similarity, consider a scatterplot in which the data pairs represent measures of the same variable related to a distance. The distance that separates one data pair from another, is known as lag (h). Consider, for example, a distance of 1000 meters. When we try to correlate pairs of points separated for this distance, we cannot expect to find points that are really separated by 1000m. So, we should use a lag tolerance to find pairs of points. We generally use 50% of tolerance. When we correlate these points, we will have a crossplot

Petrel Variogram Modeling: defining values to variograms adjustments

of the values found for the data variation related to distance h. From this graphic we can extract 3 statistical variables: covariance, correlation and semivariance.

Figure 1: h-scattergram showing measured variable related to a distance h For that, we should consider: u = vector of the spatial coordinates (x, y for this 2D case) z (u): variable in study h: lag vector representing the spatial distance between two points z (u + h) : lagged version of variable under consideration.

So, if we consider that N(h) is the number of pair of points separated for distance (h), we have:

Covariance: C (h) =

1 N (h) z(ui ) z(ui + h) m0 m+h N (h) i =1

Correlation: (h) =

C (h)

0 +h

Petrel Variogram Modeling: defining values to variograms adjustments

Semivariance: ( h) =

1 N (h) [z (ui h) z (ui )] 2 N ( h) i =1

With m0 e m+h being, respectively, the mean of the lag vector and lagged version of the variable and 0 and +h their standard deviations. The semivariance is the dispersion of h-scattergram related to the 45 line shown in Figure 1. Summarizing is a dissimilarity measure.

Experimental Variogram

Here we will show an example of how an experimental variogram is calculated. Remember that the experimental variogram is the double of semivariance, which means, 2 . Consider samples taken from a borehole in a constant distance h.

Figure 2: Measures taken in a borehole.

We have the following measures:

Petrel Variogram Modeling: defining values to variograms adjustments

Table 1 i z(ui) 1 5 2 7 3 8 4 11 5 9

So, if we do h = 1,

2 =

[ (7 5) 2 + (8 7) 2 + ... ] = 2 2 + 12 + 32 + (2) 2
8 8

= 2.25

If we do h = 2,

2 =

[ (8 5) 2 + (11 7) 2 + ... ] = 32 + 4 2 + 12
6 6

= 4.33

With each of these points, we build the experimental variogram that will be adjusted by a variogram model (spherical, exponential, gaussian, etc).

Figure 3: Experimental variogram of the data from Table 1.

Petrel Variogram Modeling: defining values to variograms adjustments

Variogram Properties

When we do a geostatistical analysis of the data, which we are going to use in modeling, we should take in consideration 3 fundamental informations brought by the variogram. They are: sill, range and nugget. For a better comprehension of what each one means, see Figure 4. Note the variation of the data related to a distance h.

Figure 4: Variogram properties

When the distance between the compared points increases, so does the semivariance. It will increase until a certain distance (range) and then, stabilize in a value (sill) that is equal to the variance of the population data. This means that, at this point, there is no more relationship between the data pairs considered for the distance h. The nugget effect is a scale effect. It is related to how the semivariance behaves in a small space (scales smaller than the smallest experimental lag). If the distance h is small and the semivariance value is reduced - which means that the points to be compared can be very similar - it will not have a nugget. However, if in this small distance the variance between the points is big, the nugget effect will appear. In this case we can say that, the bigger the nugget, the more discontinuous is the data.

Petrel Variogram Modeling: defining values to variograms adjustments

Variogram models

Each variogram model has distance h as a parameter. This distance has a major, minor and vertical component. The vertical component is the stratigraphy component. The major one is horizontal and aligned to the anisotropy. The minor is perpendicular to the major. To define the direction of the variograms, three angles are needed. But since vertical angle is aligned to stratigraphy and minor direction is perpendicular to major, we just need the major angle. The models found in Petrel are the following (Figure 5): Spherical: increases linearly in the origin and curves in direction of the sill. Exponential: similar to the spherical in the origin (reaches the sill later than spherical), but curves in direction to the sill asymptotically. Gaussian: has a parabolic shape at short distances.

Figure 5: Variogram Models. 1 - Spherical; 2 - Exponential; 3 - Gaussian.

Tips for variogram modeling in Petrel


First, do a variogram map to know if your data is anisotropic (the regionalized

variable can present a differentiated spatial continuity according to distinct directions). RMB on the upscaled property and select Settings. In the window that pops up, go to Variogram tab, as shown in Figure 6. In this tab, choose Variogram map and vary the range parameters in x, y and z.

Petrel Variogram Modeling: defining values to variograms adjustments

Figure 6: Variogram tab showing XY range. But which are the most suitable values to put in those windows?

The tip here is: for the search radius (x,y) think about the dimensions of your
reservoir (East-West, North-South). Which is the thickness of the zone to be analyzed? Divide the dimensions by 2 to obtain, respectively, the values to be used for x, y and z (concern which direction is x and which is y). As the semivariogram is symmetric from the origin for both directions to be analyzed, we consider a unidirectional variogram and center their axis in a point, so the range will determine the maximum reach, and it will be a circle from this axis.


After finding your data is rather anisotropic or not, go to the second step: variogram

adjustment for XY directions. For that, open Data Analysis and select the property. In the Variogram tab, put the anisotropy value in the field for major direction. See Figure 7. Do not forget to use the vertical variogram adjustment to find the nugget of your data.

Petrel Variogram Modeling: defining values to variograms adjustments

Figure 7: Data Analysis - Variogram tab.

The tip here is: How many wells do you have?

The number of steps does not need to be bigger than the number of wells - in the analysis direction - because Petrel will not find data to calculate the variance. In other words, if you have 5 wells in the anisotropy direction, it is not necessary to have more than five lags. But pay attention to the lag distance.

Another tip here is: Which is the mean distance between your wells? Try to
approach the lag distance to this mean. If the lag distance is smaller than the distance between the wells, we will not be able to find pairs of points and Petrel will not find values to be calculated for small distances. And it is valuable to say that the most important thing in a variogram is its behavior in the origin (small distances) because it will determine how continuous the data is.

Petrel Variogram Modeling: defining values to variograms adjustments

Small number of steps and search radius can be tested to confirm the obtained informations. For example, if your search radius is 2000 meters and you see that the variogram is achieving the sill near 500 meters, you can reduce the search radius and the steps to analyze if there will be changes in the range. Furthermore, use a tolerance angle for search because your wells rarely form a regular grid. If you have an anisotropy direction, try to restring the tolerance angle as much as you can. Begin with 22.5 to find pairs of points for the variogram. However, if you do not have anisotropy, make it 90 or greater, so you can get all the horizontal directions. The band width can be large if you do not have anisotropy direction. In the other case, and if you have enough data, try to make it 1 to 3 times the unit lag distance.


After adjusting lag distance, search radius, etc., press fit variogram to regression

curve and Petrel will adjust the most suitable model for the experimental variogram. If
you do not agree with the adjustment, modify the range and sill. Try to adjust in a way that honors the scenario.


Another important information is which variogram model will be used.

The tip here is: the Gaussian can be used for continuous geological data - for
example, a channel - because it has an implicit continuity for short distances. The spherical is the most used for geological adjustments. Use it if your data approaches the sill faster than the exponential.


In the vertical direction you must calculate the vertical variogram in order to get the

nugget. For that, do the following questions: How heterogeneous is your reservoir? Which is your layer size?

The tip here is: Try to make the lag distance similar to the data spacing. If your
data is sampled in each two meters, try to make h = 2 or multiples. Start adjusting for that the number of steps is equal or near to the mean maximum thickness. See which distance the variogram reaches the stability. Reduce the search radius to

Petrel Variogram Modeling: defining values to variograms adjustments

values a little bit bigger than this range and with that, vary the steps and the range for this interval. Use the tolerance angle when you have directional wells. If you have horizontal ones they should not be used to compute the vertical variogram. When selecting the lag tolerance, use 25% of the lag distance when you have many data and pretty regular grid. But you can increase it in case of sparse data (lets say to 70%). Furthermore, try to not make the search radius bigger than half the reservoir thickness. Lag distances greater than one half of the reservoir do not allow data in the center of the reservoir to be used. Consider the bandwidth in case of directional wells. For vertical ones, use a small bandwidth. And do not use a big tolerance angle because it will get large variability. Try to begin with 5. Generally, the combination between small tolerance angle and small bandwidth limits the calculation to points with the same stratigraphic position.

Petrel Variogram Modeling: defining values to variograms adjustments