Microbial carbonates: a sampling and measurement challenge for petrophysics addressed by capturing the bioarchitectural components
Patrick Corbett, Felipe Yuji Hayashi, Michael Saad Alves, Zeyun Jiang, Haitao Wang, Vasily Demyanov, Alessandra Machado, Leonardo Borghi, Narendra Srivastava, 2015. "Microbial carbonates: a sampling and measurement challenge for petrophysics addressed by capturing the bioarchitectural components", Microbial Carbonates in Space and Time: Implications for Global Exploration and Production, D. W. J. Bosence, K. A. Gibbons, D. P. Le Heron, W. A. Morgan, T. Pritchard, B. A. Vining
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Ancient and modern stromatolites are potentially a challenge for petrophysicists when characterizing biosediments of microbial origin. Because of the heterogeneity, sometimes very cemented and lacking porosity, sometimes highly porous, these widely differing states can be used to develop techniques that can have wider application to addressing the representative elementary volume (REV – single or multiple REVs) challenge in microbial carbonates. Effective media properties – like porosity – need to be defined on REV scales and the challenge is that this scale is often close to or significantly larger than the traditional core plugs on which properties are traditionally measured. A combination of outcrop images, image analysis techniques, micro-computed tomography (CT) and modelling have been used to capture the porosity (or in some cases, precursor porosity) architecture and provide a framework for estimating petrophysical property sensitivities in a range of situations that can be subjected to further calibration by measurements in relevant microbial reservoir rocks. This work will help guide the sampling approach along with the interpretation and use of petrophysical measurements from microbial carbonates. The bioarchitectural component, when controlling porosity in microbial carbonates, presents a significant challenge as the REV scale is often much larger than core plugs, requiring careful screening of existing data and measurement and additional geostatistical model-based approaches (with further calibration).
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Microbial carbonates (microbialites) are remarkable sedimentary deposits. They have the longest geological range of any type of biogenic limestones, form in the greatest range of different sedimentary environments, oxygenated the Earth’s atmosphere and produce and, furthermore, store large volumes of hydrocarbons. This Special Publication provides significant contributions at a pivotal time in our understanding of microbial carbonates when their economic importance has become established and the results of many research programmes are coming to fruition.
It is the first book to focus on the economic aspects of microbialites and in particular the giant pre-salt discoveries offshore Brazil. The volume contains papers on the processes involved in the formation of both ancient and modern microbialites and the diversity of style in microbial carbonate build-ups. Structures and fabrics from both marine and non-marine settings are discussed from throughout the geological record.