Petroleum geologists working in carbonate plays are facing two common and inter-connected challenges linked to optimizing production. First, constraining the geometry, spatial distribution and inter-connectivity of reservoir geobodies is crucial as these properties can control the permeability anisotropy of reservoirs zones. This is difficult to do at the inter-well scale due to the limited resolution of seismic methods (20 meters or higher) compared to the size of typical reservoir geobodies (tens of centimers to meters and higher) and the very heterogeneous nature of carbonate reservoirs. Furthermore, diagenetic transformations are very important in carbonate reservoirs. Being able to fingerprint the process and timing of diagenetic transformation is crucial to a correct assessement of the distribution of cemented zones in the subsurface. The issue of diagenesis is also important for organic matter maturation and the timing of oil migration, and therefore the second challenge faced by reservoir geologists in carbonate plays is one of constraining as well as possible the thermal history of the targeted basin. This paper reports on the results of a major long-term research effort that addresses some aspects of this double challenge in the Middle East, and that focused on novel isotopic methods to constrain the thermal history of carbonate phases in the context of the geometry of geobodies measured at the outcrop. Geological work under the Qatar Carbonates and Carbon Storage Centre (QCCSRC), funded jointly by Qatar Petroleum, Shell and the Qatar Science & Technology Park, has as its long-term research goals to improve characterization of subsurface anisotropies in carbonate reservoirs, notably for CCS operations.


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