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In reservoir engineering, hydrodynamic properties can be estimated from downhole electrical data using heuristic models (e.g., Archie and Kozeny-Carman's equations) relating electrical conductivity to porosity and permeability. Although proven to be predictive for many sandstone reservoirs, the models mostly fail when applied to carbonate reservoirs that generally display extremely complex pore network structures.

In this article, we investigate the control of the three-dimensional (3-D) geometry and morphology of the pore network on the electrical and flow properties, comparing core-scale laboratory measurements and 3-D x-ray microtomography image analysis of samples from a Miocene reefal carbonate platform located in Mallorca (Spain).

The results show that micrometer- to centimeter-scale heterogeneities strongly influence the measured macroscopic physical parameters that are then used to evaluate the hydrodynamic properties of the rock, and therefore, existing models might not provide accurate descriptions because these heterogeneities occur at scales smaller than those of the integration volume of the borehole geophysical methods. However, associated with specific data processing, 3-D imagery techniques are a useful and probably unique mean to characterize the rock heterogeneity and, thus, the properties variability.


Seismic correlations and well data confirm that deep-water carbonate beds of Mesozoic age have been found above the shallow allochthonous salt canopy in the northern Gulf of Mexico. These rafts of carbonate strata often overlie equivalent age Mesozoic carbonates in their correct stratigraphic position below the salt canopy.

The origin of keel structures is presently not well understood. As deformation occurs after shallow canopy emplacement, the keels are fairly recent developments geologically. Volumetrically few but intriguing observations suggest possible basement involvement in keel formation.

The Gulf of Mexico (GOM) is the 9th largest body of water on earth, covering an area of approximately 1.6 million km2 with water depths reaching 4,400 m (14,300’). The basin formed as a result of crustal extension during the early Mesozoic breakup of Pangaea. Rifting occurred from the Late Triassic to early Middle Jurassic. Continued extension through the Middle Jurassic combined with counter-clockwise rotation of crustal blocks away from North America produced highly extended continental crust in the subsiding basin center. Subsidence eventually allowed oceanic water to enter from the west leading to thick, widespread, evaporite deposition. Seafloor spreading initiated in the Late Jurassic eventually splitting the evaporite deposits into northern (USA) and southern (Mexican) basins. Recent work suggests that this may have been accomplished by asymmetric extension, crustal delamination, and exposure of the lower crust or upper mantle rather than true sea floor spreading (or it could be some combination of the two).
Explorer Article

"The Great American Carbonate Bank" sounds like a great read, doesn't it? Hear what Bill Morgan has to share about this memoir from a great sedimentologist, paleontologist and educator - James Lee Wilson.


Field analogs allow a better characterization of fracture networks to constrain naturally fractured reservoir models. In analogs, the origin, nature, geometry, and other attributes of fracture networks can be determined and can be related to the reservoir through the geodynamic history. In this article, we aim to determine the sedimentary and diagenetic controls on fracture patterns and the genetic correlation of fracture and diagenesis with tectonic and burial history. We targeted two outcrops of Barremian carbonates located on both limbs of the Nerthe anticline (southeastern France). We analyzed fracture patterns and rock facies as well as the tectonic, diagenetic, and burial history of both sites. Fracture patterns are determined from geometric, kinematic, and diagenetic criteria based on field and lab measurements. Fracture sequences are defined based on crosscutting and abutting relationships and compared with geodynamic history and subsidence curves. This analysis shows that fractures are organized in two close-to-perpendicular joint sets (i.e., mode I). Fracture average spacing is 50 cm (20 in.). Fracture size neither depends on fracture orientation nor is controlled by bed thickness. Neither mechanical stratigraphy nor fracture stratigraphy is observed at outcrop scale. Comparing fracture sequences and subsidence curves shows that fractures existed prior to folding and formed during early burial. Consequently, the Nerthe fold induced by the Pyrenean compression did not result in any new fracture initiation on the limbs of this fold. We assume that the studied Urgonian carbonates underwent early diagenesis, which conferred early brittle properties to the host rock.


The Distinguished Lecture program, funded in part by the AAPG Foundation, is the Association’s flagship initiative for spreading the latest in science, technology and professional information.

Explorer Geophysical Corner

Last month in this space we analyzed the relations of fracture patterns and layer curvature in clay models. This month we examine these relations in a central Oklahoma field developed by Pathfinder Exploration, Norman, Okla.

Explorer Emphasis Article

After decades spent visiting Morocco and neighboring Algeria, an AAPG member who's led countless field trips to some of the earth's most exotic places says the two old countries are evolving into modern times.


Prolific hydrocarbon discoveries in the subsalt, commonly known as the “presalt,” section of Brazil and the conjugate African margin have created a business imperative to predict reservoir quality in lacustrine carbonates. Geothermal convection is a style of groundwater flow known to occur in rift settings, which is capable of diagenetic modification of reservoir quality. We simulated variable density groundwater flow coupled with chemical reactions to evaluate the potential for diagenesis driven by convection in subsalt carbonates.

Rates of calcite diagenesis are critically controlled by temperature gradient and fluid flux following the principles of retrograde solubility. Simulations predict that convection could operate in rift carbonates prior to salt deposition, but with rates of dissolution in the reservoir interval only on the order of 0.01 vol. %/m.y., which is too low to significantly modify reservoir quality. The exception is around permeable fault zones and/or unconformities where flow is focused and dissolution rates are amplified to 1 to 10 vol. %/m.y. and could locally modify reservoir quality. After salt deposition, simulations also predict convection with a critical function for salt rugosity. The greatest potential for dissolution at rates of 0.1 to 1 vol. %/m.y. occurs where salt welds, overlying permeable carbonates thin to 500 m (1640 ft) or less. With tens of million years residence times feasible, convection under these conditions could locally result in reservoir sweet spots with porosity modification of 1% to 10% and potentially an order of magnitude or more in reservoir permeability. Integrating quantitative model–derived predictive diagenetic concepts with traditional subsurface data sets refines exploration to production scale risking of carbonate reservoir presence and quality.

Understanding the distribution and geometry of reservoir geobodies is crucial for net-to-gross estimates and to model subsurface flow. This article focuses on the process of dolomitization and resulting geometry of diagenetic geobodies in an outcrop of Jurassic host rocks from northern Oman. Field and petrographic data show that a first phase of stratabound dolomite is crosscut by a second phase of fault-related dolomite. The stratabound dolomite geobodies are laterally continuous for at least several hundreds of meters (sim1000 ft) and probably regionally and are one-half meter (1.6 ft) thick. Based on petrography and geochemistry, a process of seepage reflux of mesosaline or hypersaline fluids during the early stages of burial diagenesis is proposed for the formation of the stratabound dolomite. In contrast, the fault-related dolomite geobodies are trending along a fault that can be followed for at least 100 m (328 ft) and vary in width from a few tens of centimeters to as much as 10 m (sim1–33 ft). Petrography, geochemistry, and high homogenization temperature of fluid inclusions all point to the formation of the dolomite along a normal fault under deep burial conditions during the Middle to Late Cretaceous. The high 87Sr/86Sr ratio in the dolomite and the high salinity measured in fluid inclusions indicate that the dolomitizing fluids are deep basinal brines that interacted with crystalline basement. The dolomitization styles have an impact on the dimension, texture, and geochemistry of the different dolomite geobodies, and a modified classification scheme (compared to the one from Jung and Aigner, 2012) is proposed to incorporate diagenetic geobodies in future reservoir modeling.
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In-Person Training
Houston Texas United States 10 November, 2014 11 November, 2014 10487
Houston, Texas, United States
10-11 November 2014

This course summarizes the major advances and current controversies in dolomite research.

Houston Texas United States 12 November, 2014 12 November, 2014 10570
Houston, Texas, United States
12 November 2014

This course is designed to present the concepts of sedimentary geochemistry and biogeochemistry, along with the framework to interpret elemental and mineralogical records in such organic rich mudstone sequences.

Houston Texas United States 13 November, 2014 13 November, 2014 10572
Houston, Texas, United States
13 November 2014

The course begins with a short review of the basic principles of carbonate well logging and goes on to detail the different carbonate pore types and the logging methods used to differentiate the various pore types and to determine their hydrocarbon productive potential.

Oklahoma City Oklahoma United States 19 February, 2015 19 February, 2015 11378
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States
19 February 2015

This year’s Mississippian Lime Forum unleashes science, technology, and experience to solve persistent puzzles, and dramatically improve economics. Consider 2015 a breakthrough year as new, sometimes controversial new techniques and technologies are being implemented for the first time.

14 February, 3000 14 February, 3000 7816
14 February, 3000 14 February, 3000 7813
14 February, 3000 14 February, 3000 7815
14 February, 3000 14 February, 3000 7812
Online Training
10 November, 2011 10 November, 2011 1481
10 November 2011

This work investigates how heterogeneity can be defined and how we can quantify this term by describing a range of statistical heterogeneity (e.g. coefficient of variation and the Lorenz coefficient).

01 January, 2013 01 January, 9999 1459
1 January 2013 - 1 January 9999

There are more approximately 1,000 oil and gas fields in the world that have been classified as "giant," containing more than 500 million barrels of recoverable oil and /or 3 trillion cubic feet of gas.

30 August, 2012 30 August, 2012 1489
30 August 2012

The entire Middle Pennsylvanian–to–top Precambrian basement (500 m) interval was cored in early 2011 in the BEREXCO Wellington KGS #1-32 well in Wellington Field, Sumner County, KS.

07 June, 2012 07 June, 2012 1488
7 June 2012

Unger Field, discovered in1955, has produced 8.6 million barrels of oil from a thinly (several ft) bedded, locally cherty dolomite containing vuggy and intercrystalline porosity.

21 February, 2013 21 February, 2013 1495
21 February 2013

The course will review core data, petrophysical comparisons, rock physics modeling (including pseudo logs and mechanical properties).

24 October, 2013 24 October, 2013 1499
24 October 2013

This e-symposium will be introducing signal processing techniques as a means to maximize extracting geomechanical data from petrophysical logs.

28 April, 2011 28 April, 2011 1471
28 April 2011

The Niobrara Petroleum System of the U.S. Rocky Mountain Region is a major tight petroleum resource play.

11 November, 2010 11 November, 2010 1465
11 November 2010

This e-symposium is ideal for geologists, geophysicists, engineers and other geoscientists who are involved in gas shale exploration and production.

14 February, 3000 14 February, 3000 7817
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