Advances in carbonate exploration and reservoir analysis

Joanna Garland, Joyce Neilson, Stephen Laubach, Kate Whidden

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle

87 Citations (Scopus)


The development of innovative techniques and concepts, and the emergence of new plays in carbonate rocks are creating a resurgence of oil and gas discoveries worldwide. The maturity of a basin and the application of exploration concepts have a fundamental influence on exploration strategies. Exploration success often occurs in underexplored basins by applying existing established geological concepts. This approach is commonly undertaken when new basins ‘open up’ owing to previous political upheavals. The strategy of using new techniques in a proven mature area is particularly appropriate when dealing with unconventional resources (heavy oil, bitumen, stranded gas), while the application of new play concepts (such as lacustrine carbonates) to new areas (i.e. ultra-deep South Atlantic basins) epitomizes frontier exploration.

Many low-matrix-porosity hydrocarbon reservoirs are productive because permeability is controlled by fractures and faults. Understanding basic fracture properties is critical in reducing geological risk and therefore reducing well costs and increasing well recovery. The advent of resource plays in carbonate rocks, and the long-standing recognition of naturally fractured carbonate reservoirs means that new fracture and fault analysis and prediction techniques and concepts are essential.

A key area of progress has been integration of stratigraphic, structural, geomechanical and diagenetic analysis to populate reservoir models accurately. Dramatic increases in computing and digital imaging capabilities are being harnessed to improve spatial analysis and spatial statistics in reservoirs and ultimately improve 3D geocellular models.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
Specialist publicationSpecial Publication - Geological Society of London
PublisherGeological Society of London
Publication statusPublished - 30 Oct 2012


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