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A Comparative Study of Deep Learning Models for Fracture and Pore Space Segmentation in Synthetic Fractured Digital Rocks

by Hongsheng Wang, Ruichang Guo, Jianqiao Leng, Seyyed A Hosseini, Ming Fan
Publication Type
Conference Paper
Book Title
SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition
Publication Date
Page Numbers
1 to 12
Publisher Location
Dallas, Texas, United States of America
Conference Name
SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition 2023
Conference Location
San Antonio, Texas, United States of America
Conference Sponsor
Society of Petroleum Engineers
Conference Date

This study focuses on the comparative study of deep learning (DL) models for pore space and discrete fracture networks (DFNs) segmentation in synthetic fractured digital rocks, specifically targeting low-permeability rock formations, such as shale and tight sandstones. Accurate characterization of pore space and DFNs is critical for subsequent property analysis and fluid flow modeling. Four DL models, SegNet, U-Net, U-Net-wide, and nested U-Net (i.e., U-Net++), were trained, validated, and tested using synthetic datasets, including input and label image pairs with varying properties. The model performance was assessed regarding pixel-wise metrics, including the F1 score and pixel-wise difference maps. In addition, the physics-based metrics were considered for further analysis, including sample porosity and absolute permeability. Particularly, We first simulated the permeability of porous media containing only pore space and then simulated the permeability of porous media with DFNs added. The difference between these two values is used to quantify the connectivity of segmented DFNs, which is an important parameter for low-permeability rocks. The pixel-wise metrics showed that the nested U-Net model outperformed the rest of the DL models in pore space and DFNs segmentation, with the SegNet model exhibiting the second-best performance. Particularly, nested U-Net enhanced segmentation accuracy for challenging boundary pixels affected by partial volume effects. The U-Net-wide model achieved improved accuracy compared to the U-Net model, which indicated the influence of parameter numbers. Similarly, nested U-Net has the closest match to the ground truth of physics-based metrics, including the porosity of pore space and DFNs, and the permeability difference quantifying the connectivity of DFNs. The findings highlight the effectiveness of DL models, especially the U-Net++ model with nested architecture and redesigned skip connections, in accurately segmenting pore spaces and DFNs, which are crucial for pore-scale fluid flow and transport simulation in low-permeability rocks.