Rachel Wood

Rachel Wood

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“Science is an international social endeavour, where scientific and societal problems can often only be solved by courage, dedication and teamwork. My research interests cut across the fundamental and applied – indeed I am a believer that perceiving these as separate is often detrimental to progress. I am grateful for this opportunity to be associated with the AAPG Distinguished Lecture series and I greatly look forward to traveling and learning from those I meet, particularly students from diverse backgrounds.”

Rachel Wood is professor of Carbonate Geoscience at the University of Edinburgh. She is an authority on carbonate deposition, particularly the evolution of reef ecosystems and diagenesis. Rachel holds a bachelor’s in geology/zoology from the University of Bristol and a doctorate from the Open University.

After research fellowships at the University of Cambridge, Wood worked as a principal scientist at Schlumberger Cambridge Research. Since 2012 she has been co-director of the International Centre for Carbonate Reservoirs (ICCR) – an industry-sponsored consortium between the universities of Edinburgh, Heriot-Watt and Oxford. ICCR tackles a range of fundamental and applied carbonate reservoir challenges including those from geophysics, geology, geoengineering and geochemistry.

Wood is particularly interested in the interface between disciplines, such as between sedimentology, geochemistry and modelling, where interesting and difficult problems require novel and multidisciplinary approaches.


Video Presentation


  • 41508 Carbonate pore structure and therefore permeability is controlled in large part by unique diagenetic events and products, and a complex wettability structure that is often dominantly weakly-oil wet. This produces a highly diverse array of pore types and size, styles of connectivity and tortuosity, and in turn flow behaviours. While changes in porosity can be directly related to diagenetic petrographic characteristics such as cement distribution and dissolution features, quantifying how these textures control attendant changes in permeability ismore challenging. The impact of individual diagenetic events and their products on flow properties can, however, be isolated and modelled using 3D pore architecture models. Porosity and permeability evolution through many diagenetic scenarios often display several ‘diagenetic tipping points’ where the decrease in permeability is dramatically larger than expected for the associated decrease in porosity. The effects of diagenesis also alters the capillary entry pressures and relative permeabilities, so providing trends that can be applied to real rocks. In turn, such diagenetic pathway models can be used to provide constraints on predicted flow behaviour during burial and/or uplift scenarios using ‘diagenetic back stripping’ of carbonate rocks. In dominantly microporous carbonates, average pore radius controls single-phase permeability, but has minimal effect on multiphase flow. When moldic mesopores are added to a microporous matrix, they only impact flow when directly connected: micropores control the magnitude of single-phase permeability. Recovery, however, is dependent on both wetting scenario and pore network homogeneity: under water-wet imbibition, increasing proportions of microporosity yield lower residual oil saturations. Process-based models of early cementation (isopachous and syntaxial) show that isopachous cement is effective in closing pore throats and limiting permeability, but permeability changes due to syntaxial cement growth (preferentially on monocrystalline grains) is highly dependent on monocrystalline grain location and direction ofthe grain crystal axis, as this can create a highly ‘patchy’ distribution of cement. Modeling the Evolution of Permeability in Carbonates http://www.aapg.org/career/training/in-person/distinguished-lecturer/abstract/Articleid/41508/modeling-the-evolution-of-permeability-in-carbonates
    Modeling the Evolution of Permeability in Carbonates