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Shales and mudrocks are important to all aspects of hydrocarbon exploration and production. They commonly form source and seal rocks, and in some areas they are important reservoir rocks. In reservoir development, they may control production performance by compartmentalizing or baffling reservoir sandstones. Often, significant shales are beneath seismic resolution or detection limits, so their significance is unrecognized during early field development. Shale stochastic modeling is a useful technique for predicting production performance in reservoirs where shales and mudrocks are present. Future research should be directed toward (1) understanding why shales and mudrocks vary in their capacity to seal or compartmentalize strata, (2) developing recognition criteria to differentiate various shale types, and (3) enhancing their detection on seismic reflection records.

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