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The introduction reviews topics relevant to the fundamental controls on fluid flow in carbonate reservoirs and to the prediction of reservoir performance. The review provides research and industry contexts for papers in this volume only. A discussion of global context and frameworks emphasizes the value yet to be captured from compare and contrast studies. Multidisciplinary efforts highlight the importance of greater integration of sedimentology, diagenesis and structural geology. Developments in analytical and experimental methods, stimulated by advances in the materials sciences, support new insights into fundamental (pore-scale) processes in carbonate rocks. Subsurface imaging methods relevant to the delineation of heterogeneities in carbonates highlight techniques that serve to decrease the gap between seismically resolvable features and well-scale measurements. Methods to fuse geological information across scales are advancing through multiscale integration and proxies. A surge in computational power over the last two decades has been accompanied by developments in computational methods and algorithms. Developments related to visualization and data interaction support stronger geoscience–engineering collaborations. High-resolution and real-time monitoring of the subsurface are driving novel sensing capabilities and growing interest in data mining and analytics. Together, these offer an exciting opportunity to learn more about the fundamental fluid-flow processes in carbonate reservoirs at the interwell scale.

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