Carbonates are considered complex, heterogeneous at all scales, and unfortunately often poorly seismically imaged. We propose a methodology based on forward-modeling approaches to test the validity of common exploration assumptions (e.g., chronostratigraphic value of seismic reflectors) and of geologic interpretations (e.g., stratigraphic correlations and depositional and diagenetic architecture) that are determined from a limited amount of data. The proposed workflow includes four main steps: (1) identification and quantification of the primary controls on carbonate deposition and the prediction of the carbonate stratigraphic architecture (through stratigraphic forward modeling); (2) identification of diagenetic processes and prediction of the spatial distribution of diagenetic products (diagenetic forward modeling); (3) quantification of the impact of diagenesis on acoustic and reservoir properties; and (4) computation of synthetic seismic models based on various scenarios of stratigraphic and diagenetic architectures and comparison with actual seismic. The likelihood of a given scenario is tested by quantifying the misfit between the modeled versus the real seismic. This workflow illustrates the relevance of forward-modeling approaches for building realistic models that can be shared by the various disciplines of carbonate exploration (sedimentology, stratigraphy, diagenesis, seismic, geomodeling, and reservoir).

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