Geology - Structural Geology

Carbonate Reservoir Characterization



  Laura Galluccio, Catherine Breislin  (Badley Ashton, United Kingdom)


  1 day


  Geology – Carbonate Geology




  English, Italian


  5 CPD points




Course description

This carbonate reservoir characterization course focuses on the analysis of carbonate depositional textures and the subsequent diagenetic modifications as the main controls on the pore system evolution, heterogeneity and complexity. The intricate inter-relationship of the depositional and burial history can be unravelled to allow the prediction of reservoir facies, and hence, aid reconstruction and development of three-dimensional reservoir models. This course demonstrates the value of understanding pore system evolution as a part of large-scale volumetric assessments and the development of carbonate reservoirs.

Reservoir quality in carbonate successions is often defined by the storage capacity, flow potential (ie. porosity and permeability respectively, measurements that are often acquired during conventional core analysis) and connectivity of pores (recorded as the pore-throat radius distributions during special core analysis). The interplay between these quantifiable factors (including sample-scale heterogeneities) is inevitably linked to the original depositional characteristics of the carbonate sediments, together with their susceptibility to post-depositional diagenetic alteration, which results in the ultimately complex pore system. Therefore, the classification of individual pore types will be detailed in this course, with their primary depositional or secondary diagenetic origin being discussed in context with sedimentological and stratigraphic models in order to underpin their spatial relationships and potential connectivity. In addition, the characterization of micrite textures will be discussed to illustrate their impact on the microporosity, factors that are particularly important to consider in tight unconventional reservoirs.

The depositional controls on reservoir properties that will be taken into consideration in this course include the texture, grain size, clay and matrix content as well as the type and quantity of allochems. The relationship between dissolution processes that result in an enhancement of the pore system, cementation processes that reduce the pore volume and the resultant connectivity and fluid flow pathways will be assessed to constrain the dominant diagenetic controls on the reservoir properties. In addition to this, the process of dolomitisation will be scrutinised in order to determine if and how this process enhances and/or reduces reservoir properties.

Integrating the key controls on reservoir quality within the sedimentological framework enables the establishment of a conceptual reservoir architecture model, which can be used to assess and predict the vertical and lateral variations in porosity and permeability at the reservoir and/or field scale. This course outlines how to conceptually build a reservoir architecture model, which in turn can be used to aid reservoir modelling.

This course will be accompanied by a series of in-class exercises, which will emphasize the integration of the various datasets, providing participants with experience in carbonate reservoir characterization.


Course objectives

Upon completion of the course, participants will be able to:

  • Identify the different pore types, their interconnectivity and hence the impact on permeability;
  • Determine how specific sedimentological parameters and diagenetic process impact reservoir quality;
  • Understand sample heterogeneity and its impact on reservoir quality data;
  • Upscaling of reservoir quality data to aid prediction at the field scale.

Course outline

The course will be organised into three sessions:

Part A: Reservoir quality analysis - What it is and how to approach it
- Definition of reservoir quality;
- How to characterise reservoirs.

Part B: Pore types and connectivity
- Concepts and definitions;
- The carbonate pore type classification(s);
- Permeability and pore-throat radius distributions;
- Manipulating reservoir quality data;
- Introduction to advanced reservoir quality tools.

Part C: Controls on reservoir quality
- Sample heterogeneity;
- Sedimentological controls;
- Diagenetic controls;
- Reservoir architecture construction.

Each section will be accompanied by examples from case history exercises.

Participants' profile

This course is designed for petroleum geologists, geoscientists, petrophysicists and engineers involved in exploration and production of carbonate plays.



Although previous knowledge on carbonate sedimentology is not necessarily required, participants should have some knowledge of geology.


About the instructor

Laura GalluccioLaura Galluccio (Ph.D.) is one of Badley Ashton's UK-based senior carbonate reservoir geologists with an interest in carbonate petrography and sedimentology. She specialises in sedimentology, diagenesis and reservoir quality characterization of limestones and dolomites in both conventional and unconventional reservoirs. She has wide experience in the Middle East, the USA, Europe and Africa. The projects she has been involved in cover a wide range of depositional environments from shallow to deeper water carbonates. Laura received his BSc, MSc and PhD at the University of Naples (Italy), with her PhD conducted in conjunction with Shell Italy. As an effective communicator and with a proven track record of excellent client care, past roles include Team Leader of the Carbonate Group, and local Business Manager and Consultant Geologist based in PDO's offices, Muscat. Since her appointment as Regional Manager in August 2017, Laura oversees business activity in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, supported by regional Operations and Portfolio Managers. Laura's other research interests include sedimentology and sequence stratigraphy of ancient and recent carbonate platforms and the characterization of diagenetic processes affecting carbonate sediments with integration into the regional framework and influence on the pore system. She is currently involved in research on the diagenesis and pore volume assessment of Hyamm Formation in Oman in collaboration with the Ferrara University and Sultan Quaboos University, as well as a project focused on the role of hydrocarbons emplacement for calcite precipitation, in collaboration with Newcastle University. Laura has undertaken teaching of geological mapping, petroleum geology and reservoir quality evaluation at both BSc and MSc levels, while co-supervising a variety of BSc and MSc carbonate research projects.

Catherine Breislin (Ph.D) is a Reservoir Geologist working in Badley Ashton’s UK-based Carbonate Team. She specialises in carbonate sedimentology, diagenesis and reservoir quality analysis using a range of techniques in both conventional and unconventional reservoirs. Her work to date has focused on investigating the controls of depositional facies, platform architecture, and structural development on basin-scale diagenetic fluid flow and its impact on reservoir quality. Her project work has covered a wide range of depositional environments from shallow to deeper water carbonates.
Catherine received her MESci at the University of Liverpool (UK), and PhD at the University of Manchester (UK), with her PhD conducted in conjunction with Shell and the British Geological Survey. Catherine has a strong background in field geology, core-logging, carbonate sedimentology and geochemistry, and is proficient in conducting spatial integration of multiple data sets. She also has experience in lab-based mineral identification analyses, where she has developed best practice methodologies and workflows. While co-supervising an MSc carbonate research project at Manchester University, Catherine has undertaken teaching of carbonate sedimentology, geological mapping, petroleum geology and reservoir quality evaluation at both BSc and MSc levels.

                    Learning Geoscience Logo


Explore other courses under this discipline:


An Overview of Carbonate Diagenesis: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of Carbonate Reservoir Quality

Instructor: Dr Dave L. Cantrell (Cantrell GeoLogic and Stanford University, USA)

Reservoir quality in carbonate reservoirs is notoriously difficult to understand and predict, and one of the primary reasons for this is the extent and range of processes that occur after deposition. Such post-depositional processes typically extensively modify the original depositional reservoir quality framework of the sediment, and can create, enhance and/or completely destroy porosity and permeability. This workshop provides an overview of the nature and characteristics of diagenesis in carbonates, and then guides participants through a number of case histories that illustrate the impact on diagenesis on reservoir quality in several subsurface successions.

More information

Carbonate Reservoir Characterization

Instructor: Laura Galluccio (Badley Ashton)

This course presents a journey into pore system evolution within carbonate rocks resulting from the complex interaction between the original depositional facies and subsequent diagenesis, while detailing the intricate path that leads to improved prediction of large-scale reservoir potential. Consideration of the type, geometry and origin (ie. primary or secondary) of pores is vital to understanding the storage capacity and subsequent flow potential of carbonate sediments and hence the resultant reservoir quality distribution, which is key to the successful field development and production.

More information

Carbonate Reservoirs - Sedimentology, Diagenesis and Reservoir Quality Evaluation

Instructor: Laura Galluccio (Badley Ashton)

A comprehensive 5-day course introducing participants to the world of carbonate rocks from the microscale thin-section observations to the large-scale sedimentological and sequence stratigraphic evaluation. A full immersion into facies analysis, diagenetic processes and pore evolution with the aim towards the understanding and prediction of vertical and lateral variability in reservoir properties. This course highlights the key components important for consideration when building a fully integrated reservoir model; the establishment of the depositional textures, construction of the sequence stratigraphic framework, the post-depositional diagenetic modifications that carbonate deposits are susceptible to and finally the resultant reservoir characterization.

More information

Geological History of CO2: Carbon Cycle and Natural Sequestration of CO2

Instructor: Dr Alain-Yves Huc (UPMC - Paris VI University)

With respect to the current genuine public concern regarding the anthropogenic increase of greenhouse gases, a great deal of research and technology development focuses on the capture and underground storage of industrial quantities of CO2. In addition, interest is attracted by the natural processes controlling the carbon cycle and the associated fate of atmospheric CO2. The impact of the natural bio-geological processes affecting the CO2 diluted in the atmosphere at a global scale, needs to be carefully considered in order to assess its role in the current and future state the atmosphere of our planet. As a complement to the study of the involved factors in the modern terrestrial eco-system, the geological perspective provides the opportunity to investigate these processes, their consequences and their kinetics at different time scales.

More information

Sedimentological Characterization of Carbonate Rocks

Instructor: Laura Galluccio (Badley Ashton)

This gentle dive into the carbonate world from the microfacies scale to the regional architecture scale will provide the key to describing and interpreting carbonate rocks. From the basic understanding of a carbonate system to the complexities of sequence stratigraphy, this course will equip the participants with the foundations of carbonate sedimentology. Despite the complexity of carbonate sediments, the concepts illustrated in this course will form the fundamental knowledge required for the assessment and prediction of carbonate reservoir characterization.

More information

Top Seals and Fault Seals in Clastic and Carbonate Reservoirs: A Practical Approach

Instructor: Dr Dirk Nieuwland (NewTec International)

The core of this course is a new powerful method of fault seal prediction and is intended for geologists, geophysicists and reservoir engineers in exploration. The course is based on geomechanics as a sound foundation for structural geological concepts and the behaviour of rocks in the brittle regime. Mechanical rock properties and ways and means to determine these properties form an important element of this course. Following an introduction to geomechanics, the theory of fracturing of brittle, ductile and viscous rocks is treated, illustrated with field examples and case histories. Different deformation mechanisms, based on mechanical rock properties, are treated in relation to realistic geological environments. Cataclasis is introduced as a major sealing mechanism, including a detailed account of the cataclasis process. Palaeo-stress analysis is introduced, together with a new tool, the reactivation circle. The course is very practical and oriented on application. An exercise based on real data forms an important element of the course. Cases requiring the use of numerical models are discussed, but numerical modelling does not form part of the course.

More information