Modern Isolated Carbonate Platforms: Templates for Quantifying Facies Attributes of Hydrocarbon Reservoirs
Published:January 01, 2008
Paul M.(Mitch) Harris, Brigitte Vlaswinkel, 2008. "Modern Isolated Carbonate Platforms: Templates for Quantifying Facies Attributes of Hydrocarbon Reservoirs", Controls on Carbonate Platform and Reef Development, Jeff Lukasik, J.A. (Toni) Simo
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A geologic model is essential for characterization and modeling of hydrocarbon reservoirs, and depositional facies are a main parameter controlling heterogeneity in porosity and permeability. Quantification of facies attributes (size, shape, orientation, and distribution) can decrease uncertainty in a geologic model and therefore enhance the model’s utility. This study uses Landsat images of modern isolated carbonate platforms to evaluate platform characteristics, facies distribution, and facies attributes, and assess quantitative relationships among these parameters. Facies include fully aggraded reef, partially aggraded reef, reef apron, shallow platform interior, shoals, intermediate platform interior, deep platform interior, forereef and outer platform, and land. Statistical analyses demonstrate the existence of relationships between the configuration and composition of facies tracts on and among carbonate platforms, which become useful predictive tools. In addition, several aspects of reef-belt facies have been quantified, including the abundance by platform size, width and variability, length and variability, and aspect ratio. The results offer insights that could be used for better prediction of facies distribution in ancient platforms and reservoirs.
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Controls on Carbonate Platform and Reef Development
Carbonate platforms and reefs emerge, grow and die in response to intrinsic and extrinsic mechanisms forced primarily by tectonics, oceanography, climate, ecology and eustasy. These mechanisms, or controls, create the physical, biological and chemical signals accountable for the myriad of carbonate depositional responses that, together, form the complex depositional systems present in the modern and ancient settings. If we are to fully comprehend these systems, it is critical to ascertain which controls ultimately govern the “life cycle” of carbonate platforms and reefs and understand how these signals are recorded and preserved. Deciphering which signals produce a dominant sedimentological response from the plethora of physical and biological information generated from superimposed regional to global-scale controls is critical to achieving this goal. With this understanding, it may be possible to extract common time- and space-independent depositional responses to specific mechanisms that may, ultimately, be used in a productive sense. Extensive research on a wide variety of carbonate platform and reefal systems in the past few decades has provided the foundation and understanding necessary to take carbonate research to a new level. With assistance from rapidly advancing computer software and an increasing use of cross-disciplinary integration, carbonate research is shifting from description and morphological analysis towards a science that is more focused on the assessment of process and genetic relationships. The aim of this special publication is to present a cross section of recent research that shows this evolution from a variety of perspectives and scales using examples distributed throughout the Phanerozoic.