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Isolated carbonate buildups (ICBs) are commonly attractive exploration targets. However, identifying ICBs based only on seismic data can be difficult for a variety of reasons. These include poor-quality two-dimensional data and a basic similarity between ICBs and other features such as volcanoes, erosional remnants, and tilted fault blocks. To address these difficulties and develop reliable methods to identify ICBs, 234 seismic images were analyzed. The images included proven ICBs and other features, such as folds, volcanoes, and basement highs, which may appear similar to ICBs when imaged in seismic data. From this analysis, 18 identification criteria were derived to distinguish ICBs from non-ICB features. These criteria can be grouped into four categories: regional constraints, analysis of basic seismic geometries, analysis of geophysical details, and finer-scale seismic geometries. Systematically assessing the criteria is useful because it requires critical evaluation of the evidence present in the available data, working from the large-scale regional geology to the fine details of seismic response. It is also useful to summarize the criteria as a numerical score to facilitate comparison between different examples and different classes of ICBs and non-ICBs. Our analysis of scores of different classes of features suggests that the criteria do have some discriminatory power, but significant challenges remain.
Jurassic deposition in the Maghrebian tethys was governed by eustasy and rifting. Two periods were delineated: (1) a carbonate shelf (Rhaetian–early Pliensbachian) and (2) a platform-basin complex (early Pliensbachian–Callovian). The carbonate shelf evolved in four stages, generating three sedimentary sequences, J1 to J3, separated by boundary sea level falls, drawdown, exposure, and local erosion. Sediment facies bear evidence of sea level rises and falls. Lateral changes in lithofacies indicate shoaling and deepening upward during the Sinemurian. A major pulse of rifting with an abrupt transition from carbonate shelf to pelagic basin environments of deposition marks the upper boundary of the lower Pliensbachian carbonate shelf deposits. This rifting episode with brittle fractures broke up the Rhaetian–early Pliensbachian carbonate shelf and has created a network of grabens, half grabens, horsts, and stacked ramps. Following this episode, a relative sea level rise led to pelagic sedimentation in the rift basins with local anoxic environments that also received debris shed from uplifted ramp crests. Another major episode spanning the whole early Pliensbachian–Bajocian is suggested by early brecciation, mass flows, slumps, olistolites, erosion, pinch-outs, and sedimentary prisms. A later increase in the rates of drifting marked a progress toward rift cessation during the Late Jurassic. These Jurassic carbonates with detrital deposits and black shales as the source rocks in northeastern Tunisia may define interesting petroleum plays (pinch-out flanking ramps, onlaps, and structurally upraised blocks sealed inside grabens). Source rock maturation and hydrocarbon migration began early in the Cretaceous and reached a maximum during the late Tortonian–Pliocene Atlassic orogeny.
Explorer Emphasis Article

Complex considerations: Mention the Bakken Formation and most people think of unlimited potential – but several dynamics have a huge impact on productivity.

Explorer Emphasis Article

Who’s got the last laugh now? The Uteland Butte once was a sandstone that operators quickly passed through – and often ignored – on their way to other targets. But things are changing in Utah.

Explorer Historical Highlight

This story is an illustration of how a single geologist working for a major company can develop new exploration concepts in a “mature basin” and turn it into one of that company’s most successful plays in the onshore United States.

Explorer Emphasis Article

Across the board: The Mississippi Lime play proves that hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling techniques can be used for more than just shale production.


Considerable effort has been devoted to the development of simulation algorithms for facies modeling, whereas a discussion of how to combine those techniques has not existed. The integration of multiple geologic data into a three-dimensional model, which requires the combination of simulation techniques, is yet a current challenge for reservoir modeling. This article presents a thought process that guides the acquisition and modeling of geologic data at various scales. Our work is based on outcrop data collected from a Jurassic carbonate ramp located in the High Atlas mountain range of Morocco. The study window is 1 km (0.6 mi) wide and 100 m (328.1 ft) thick. We describe and model the spatial and hierarchical arrangement of carbonate bodies spanning from largest to smallest: (1) stacking pattern of high-frequency depositional sequences, (2) facies association, and (3) lithofacies. Five sequence boundaries were modeled using differential global position system mapping and light detection and ranging data. The surface-based model shows a low-angle profile with modest paleotopographic relief at the inner-to-middle ramp transition. Facies associations were populated using truncated Gaussian simulation to preserve ordered trends between the inner, middle, and outer ramps. At the lithofacies scale, field observations and statistical analysis show a mosaiclike distribution that was simulated using a fully stochastic approach with sequential indicator simulation.

This study observes that the use of one single simulation technique is unlikely to correctly model the natural patterns and variability of carbonate rocks. The selection and implementation of different techniques customized for each level of the stratigraphic hierarchy will provide the essential computing flexibility to model carbonate settings. This study demonstrates that a scale-dependent modeling approach should be a common procedure when building subsurface and outcrop models.

A joint AAPG–Society of Petroleum Engineers–Society of Exploration Geophysicists Hedberg Research Conference was held in Saint-Cyr sur Mer, France, on July 8 to 13, 2012, to review current research and explore future research directions related to improved production from carbonate reservoirs. Eighty-seven scientists from academia and industry (split roughly equally) attended for five days. A primary objective for the conference was to explore novel connections among different disciplines (primarily within geoscience and reservoir engineering) as a way to define new research opportunities. Research areas represented included carbonate sedimentology and stratigraphy, structural geology, geomechanics, hydrology, reactive transport modeling, seismic imaging (including four-dimensional seismic, tomography, and seismic forward modeling), geologic modeling and forward modeling of geologic processes, petrophysics, statistical methods, numerical methods for simulation, reservoir engineering, pore-scale processes, in-situ flow experiments (e.g., x-ray computed tomography), visualization, and methods for data interaction.
Explorer Article

Industry and academia are teaming up to pump up activity in the Mississippian of the Midcontinent United States.


This article addresses the controls exerted by sedimentologic and diagenetic factors on the preservation and modification of pore-network characteristics (porosity, pore types, sizes, shapes, and distribution) of carbonates belonging to the Bolognano Formation. This formation, exposed at the Majella Mountain, Italy, is composed of Oligocene–Miocene carbonates deposited in middle- to outer-ramp settings. The carbonates consist of (1) grainstones predominantly composed of either larger benthic foraminifera, especially Lepidocyclina, or bryozoans; (2) grainstones to packstones with abundant echinoid plates and spines; and (3) marly wackestones to mudstones with planktonic foraminifera.

The results of this field- and laboratory-based study are consistent with skeletal grain assemblages, grain sizes, sorting, and shapes, all representing the sedimentologic factors responsible for high values of connected primary macroporosity in grainstones deposited on the high-energy, middle to proximal outer ramp. Cementation, responsible for porosity reduction and overall macropore shape and distribution in grainstones to packstones deposited on the intermediate outer ramp, was mainly dependent on the following factors: (1) amount of echinoid plates and spines, (2) grain size, (3) grain sorting and shapes, and (4) clay amount. Differently, in the wackestones to mudstones, laid down on the low-energy, distal outer ramp, matrix is the key sedimentologic factor responsible for low values of scattered macroporosity and dominance of microporosity. The aforementioned results may be useful to improve the prediction of reservoir quality by means of mapping, simulating, and assessing individual carbonate facies with peculiar pore-network characteristics.

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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


14 February, 3000 14 February, 3000 7815
14 February, 3000 14 February, 3000 7813
14 February, 3000 14 February, 3000 7816
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).

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.

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.

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).

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.

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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