Top 100 Landmark Papers Most Influential Books In Carbonate Reservoirs

Most Influential Books In Carbonate Reservoirs

Jim Markello and Bill Morgan (Chairs)

Neil Hurley, Art Saller


Candidate books were proposed by Markello, Morgan, Neil Hurley, and Art Saller taking into consideration the numbers of citations as recorded by Google Scholar. A combined list was then sent to experts on carbonate reservoirs from around the world who were asked to select their top ten books. The following replied to the request: Steve Bachtel, Chip Feazel, Jean Hsieh, Jim Markello, Bill Morgan, Dennis Prezbindowski, Art Saller, Greg Wahlman, Lowell Waite, and John Weissenberger.

The final list was compiled by Markello and Morgan, who also wrote the brief summaries for each publication.

Note two compilation series of carbonate fields/reservoirs are included (SEPM Core Workshops on Carbonate Reservoirs and the AAPG Treatise of Petroleum Geology – Atlas of Oil and Gas Fields), as these will have lasting value to practitioners for both education and analogs.

Landmark Books (in alphabetical order)

Allan, J.R., and W.D. Wiggins, 1993, Dolomite reservoirs: geochemical techniques for evaluating origin and distribution: AAPG Continuing Education Course Notes No. 36, 129 p.

This AAPG Continuing Education Course is presented in two parts.  Part I consists of the fundamental geochemistry of dolomite and the various processes of dolomitization.  Analytical techniques are explained and illustrated that can be used to determine the origin(s) of any dolostone understudy.  These techniques include analyses of formation waters using hydrogen and oxygen isotopes and solute concentrations, and analyses of dolostones using carbon, oxygen and strontium isotopes, fluid inclusions, and trace elements.  Insights into the environments, pressure/temperature conditions, and fluid compositions responsible for dolomitization and development of subsurface dolostone reservoir rocks can be gained from using these techniques.  Part II consists of case studies that integrate these fundamental geochemical concepts and techniques with basic reservoir geology to illustrate how to apply the techniques for subsurface interpretations of dolomite reservoirs.  There are four basic dolomitizing environments/processes discussed with associated examples.  The first is Subtidal/Supratidal Cycles with case studies of Cabin Creek Field (Red River Fm, Upper Ordovician, Williston Basin), and Slaughter-Levelland Field (San Andres Fm, Upper Permian, Permian Basin).  The second is Reflux Dolomitization with case studies of the ooid-dominated ramp system of the Smackover, Buckner, Haynesville Formations (Upper Jurassic, Gulf of Mexico Basin), and the reef system of the Niagara Formation (Silurian, Michigan Basin).  The third is the Marine and Mixing Zone with one case study from the North Bridgeport Field (Saint Genevieve Formation, Mississippian, Illinois Basin).  The fourth is Burial Dolomitization and includes case studies of the Albion-Scipio Field (Trenton Formation, Ordovician, Michigan Basin), the Tuwaiq Mountain, Hanifa, Jubaila, Arab, Hith, and Sulaiy Formations (Jurassic/Cretaceous, Gotnia and Arabian Basins), and the Nisku Formation (Upper Devonian, Alberta Basin).  These 8 case studies are discussed and illustrated with a variety of geologic diagrams including stratigraphic charts, maps, cross sections, block diagrams, burial history curves, isotope and trace element cross plots, well log and depth plots with geochemical data annotations, and dolomitization process models in cross sections, maps and block diagrams.  For anyone working dolomite hydrocarbon reservoirs, this set of AAPG Continuing Education Course Notes provides excellent examples of how to conduct an integrated project for analyzing any dolomite reservoir.  It should be in every carbonate practitioner's personal library. Get it from the AAPG Store in digital format.

Asquith, G. B., 1985, Handbook of log evaluation techniques for carbonate reservoirs:  AAPG Methods in Exploration Series 5, 47 p.  

This pithy and powerful methods manual provides the insights, concepts, and quantitative techniques to conduct log analysis on carbonate reservoir rocks.  Asquith provides formulations for determinations of 1) cementation exponent, 2) bulk volume water, 3) production ratio index, 4) moveable hydrocarbon, 5) microporosity, and 6) fracture porosity.  To accomplish these, all standard logs are used as well as some others, including dielectric constant logs.  Importantly, each calculation and log type used is explained in terms of the interactions of the emissions, rocks, and fluids, and each is cast in the context of a case study example.  These examples include the Pennsylvanian Canyon Reef, Horseshoe Atoll, Midland Basin, Texas; Ordovician Red River Fm., Williston Basin, North Dakota; Devonian Zama Reef, Alberta Basin, Canada; Pennsylvanian Lansing-Kansas City Formations and Lansing Limestone, Anadarko Basin, Kansas; and Jurassic Smackover Fm., Gulf Coast Basin, Arkansas.  The individual techniques presented in this volume are not just stand alone.  Asquith demonstrates how several can be combined for more advanced evaluations of saturations and moveable fluids.  This book should be used by all new, up and coming industry petrophysicists and reservoir describers as a primer for carbonate log analysis. 

Braithwaite, C.J.R., G. Rizzi, and G. Drake, eds., 2004, The geometry and petrogenesis of dolomite hydrocarbon reservoirs: The Geological Society, London, 421 p. 

This volume is a purposeful compilation of 17 papers by experienced industry and academic researchers that provides concepts, models, processes, and examples of dolomitization and subsurface dolomite reservoirs.  Two key overview papers are 1) a lengthy historical and "critical reappraisal" of concepts and models of dolomitization by Hans Machel, and 2) the methodology of going "from conceptual to numerical models" of dolomitization by Whitaker, Smart, and Jones from Bristol University.  The other papers are case studies of specific dolomite reservoirs and fields that discuss important characteristics such as pore system origins, parameters and flow properties, base-metal mineralization, stratigraphic patterns of dolomitization including early, shallow- burial stratal concordant and late, deep-burial and fault discordant geometries.  The paper by Gale et al. characterizes fractures in dolomite reservoirs and provides examples of Ordovician and Permian reservoirs and outcrops in Texas and Mississippi, USA.  Further, the case studies are distributed temporally and spatially including examples from the Carboniferous of Canada, USA, and UK, the Permian from the USA, the Late Jurassic from the Arabian Basin, and the Miocene from SE Asia and Australia.  As an illustration of how comprehensive the papers are, the paper by Carnell and Wilson contains 14 pages of tables and three companion distribution maps that document Tertiary dolostone occurrences throughout SE Asia.  For any industry practitioner who seeks wisdom to explore for and/or develop and produce hydrocarbons from dolomite reservoirs, this volume would be the place to start, because it provides papers on the origins and characteristics of them with numerous reinforcing examples.

Galloway, W.E., T.E. Ewing, C.M. Garrett, N. Tyler, and D.G. Bebout, 1983, Atlas of Major Texas Oil Reservoirs: Texas Bureau of Economic Geology, 139 p.

This atlas is presented in oversized (17x22 inches) format and is an explanatory and illustrated folio of oil plays, fields and reservoirs in the State of Texas, USA.  The authors have compiled 49 separate oil plays documented by some 456 fields and reservoirs for the 5 producing regions of Texas: Gulf Coast (Tertiary and Mesozoic); East Texas (Mesozoic); North Central Texas (Paleozoic); West Texas (Paleozoic); and the Texas Panhandle (Paleozoic).  Of these, 215 are examples of carbonate reservoirs/fields from four of the five regions.  These include the famous Cretaceous Edwards, Glen Rose, Sligo and associated formations, fractured Austin Chalk, Upper Jurassic Smackover Formation, Permian San Andres/Grayburg dolostones, Pennsylvanian Strawn, Cisco, Canyon units on the Central Basin Platform and the Horseshoe Atoll, the Silurian-Devonian ramp carbonates, and the Ordovician Ellenburger Formation.  The volume begins with a 2-page introduction that includes abbreviations, definitions, and instructive depositional environment block diagrams, maps and cross sections.  Most important, this introduction includes the famous stratigraphic chart of Texas oil-bearing horizons that is commonly used in posters, papers and presentations whenever Texas fields and/or reservoirs are discussed.  Each synopsis for a reservoir type consists of 2 or 3 pages: a very short write up with key references; location, structure, thickness, and depositional environment maps, cross sections, and block diagrams; structure and stratigraphic well-log-constructed cross sections; type logs and lithologies; various production maps; and miscellaneous tables and charts with reservoir parameters, and production performance and history.  These synopses quickly get a reader up the learning curve about Texas oil plays and reservoirs to a level that one is able to effectively dive deeper into specifics about a field he or she may be working or investigating.  Although all known Texas oil fields to-date, including unconventional plays, are not listed in this 1983 compilation, all of the significant conventional plays and reservoirs are catalogued and illustrated.  On the back cover is a folder with 5 plates or maps of Texas with key hydrocarbon system elements developed for each play.  These are: Plate 1 – Reservoir Lithology and Plays; Plate 2 – Reservoir Genesis and Major Structural Elements; Plate 3 – Producing Stratigraphic Unit; Plate 4 – Trapping Mechanism; and Plate 5- Drive Mechanism.  Note, there is a companion volume - Atlas of Major Texas Gas Reservoirs that has the same format, and was compiled by E.C. Kosters, D.G. Bebout, S.J. Seni, C.M. Garrett, L.F. Brown, H.S. Hamlin, S.P. Dutton, S.C. Ruppel, R.J. Finley, and N. Tyler in 1989 as a joint venture between the Bureau of Economic Geology at the University of Texas and the Gas Research Institute of Chicago.  For anyone starting out working on any Texas oil field or reservoir, carbonate or siliciclastic, this is the first reference to seek for getting out of the starting gate like a shot!

Kerans, C., and S.W. Tinker, eds., 1997, Sequence Stratigraphy and Characterization of Carbonate Reservoirs: SEPM Short Course Notes No. 40, 140 p. 

The emphasis of this SEPM Short Course Notes volume is how to construct critical subsurface geologic products, such as maps and cross sections, using advanced sequence stratigraphy concepts to establish a subsurface carbonate reservoir framework that can be translated into a quantitative geologic model for reservoir simulation.  Kerans and Tinker have organized their short-course notes into four chapters.  Chapter 1 defines many of the key sequence stratigraphy concepts, including terminology of cyclicity and the orders of the stratigraphic hierarchy.  The following Chapters 2, 3, and 4 discuss 1-D, 2-D, and 3-D stratigraphic analysis, respectively.  These chapters have exceptionally useful tips for constructing the key geologic products.  One of the key tips that stands out is their discussion on "datum selection" (page 56) for cross section development.  The recommendation is to use "multiple datums" for a cross section consisting of multiple sequences with evolving depositional profiles.  Use of one datum would skew or distort the depositional profile for all but perhaps one sequence, and such an unrealistic perspective could reverberate throughout the mapping phases and result in poor model construction.  This and many of the other keen insights to sequence stratigraphic analysis for carbonate reservoir characterization make this Short Course Notes volume an important addition to any practitioner's geology tool box.  It is recommended that one not begin a carbonate reservoir characterization project without first reading, studying, and planning to use the methods documented here.

Lucia, J. F., 1999, Carbonate Reservoir Characterization: An Integrated Approach: Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 336 p.  

Quantitative reservoir characterization and geologic model building is standard, required practice in the petroleum industry.  This book provides the methods and analysis for an integrated geoscience-engineering approach to developing inputs for and construction of carbonate reservoir models.  It is a compilation of the author's vast experiences of characterizing carbonate assets for Shell Oil Company and for the Texas Bureau of Economic Geology, Austin, Texas.  The major theme of the book is Lucia's Rock-Fabric classification approach to carbonate porosity that consists of 1) interparticle pore space, 2) separate-vug pore space, and 3) touching-vug pore space, as outlined in Chapter 2.  Chapter 3 is a detailed treatment of understanding these pore systems in the context of subsurface cores and wireline logs.  Chapter 5 explains how to transform geologic interpretations into inputs for constructing geologic models that underpin engineering reservoir flow simulations.  The last three chapters, 6, 7 and 8, are well explained and illustrated examples of the integrated quantitative characterization approach for limestone, dolostone, and touching-vug reservoirs.  Subsurface carbonate field and reservoir case studies are from the Permian, Williston, Alberta, and Arabian Basins. 

Moore, C.H., 1989, Carbonate Diagenesis and Porosity, Developments in Sedimentology 46: Elsevier, New York, 338 p.   

As stated in its Preface, this book "is an outgrowth of an annual seminar delivered to Industrial Associates of the Applied Carbonate Research Program for the past 12 years at LSU, Baton Rouge and of a number of public short courses given in the USA and Europe under the auspices of Oil and Gas Consultants, Tulsa, OK."  The point is that this volume is not only about carbonates, carbonate diagenesis, and carbonate porosity, but it casts the facts, concepts, and ideas about them within the context of subsurface carbonate oil and gas reservoirs.  Note that Moore has produced several updated editions to the volume, with the 2013 version providing an insightful and applied sequence stratigraphic context for these facts, concepts, and ideas.  The original book consists of nine chapters that detail the topics of carbonate depositional systems, carbonate porosity origin and classification, the many diagenetic environments including normal and evaporative marine, meteoric, dolomitizing, shallow and deep burial.  There is also discussion of the tools and analytical procedures to determine diagenetic processes.  Most importantly, the volume provides hydrocarbon subsurface reservoir and field examples for each of the concepts presented in the chapters.  The book contains many of the classic line-drawing illustrations and photomicrographs we have all come to recognize and use concerning carbonate diagenetic processes and resulting pore types.  For all petroleum industry practitioners working carbonate assets, this volume gets you up the learning curve quicker than other texts.

Read, J.F., C. Kerans, L.J. Weber, J.F. Sarg, and F.M. Wright, 1995, Milankovitch sea-level changes, cycles, and reservoirs on carbonate platforms in greenhouse and icehouse worlds: SEPM Short Course Notes No. 35, 203 p. 

This SEPM Short Course Notes volume is organized into three parts.  Part 1 is an "Overview of Carbonate Platform Sequences, Cycle Stratigraphy and Reservoirs in Greenhouse and Ice-House Worlds" by Read.  Part 2 is a discussion of "Use of 1- and 2-D Cycle Analysis in Establishing High-Frequency Sequence Frameworks" by Kerans.  Part 3 is the "Sequence Stratigraphy and Reservoir Delineation of the Middle Pennsylvanian (Desmoinesian), Paradox Basin and Aneth Field, SW Utah" case study by Weber, Sarg, and Wright.  In Part 1, Read pulls from his extensive experience with carbonates and from many of his graduate students' theses to produce an in-depth and wide-ranging set of discussions on the controls of carbonate sequence development as interpreted from both outcrops and the subsurface.  Of significance from these lectures is the contrast in sequence development and diagenetic histories with drastically differing pore systems between carbonate systems deposited under greenhouse versus icehouse conditions.  Part 2 is the section in which Kerans illustrates and discusses, in 1- and 2-dimensional context, his interpretation of high-frequency stratal architecture for the Upper Permian formations that compose the famous Leonardian-Guadalupian 2nd-order supersequence exposed in the outcrops of the Guadalupe Mountains, Texas and New Mexico.  The depositional facies, platform profiles, sequence stratigraphic surfaces, cycles, and stratal geometries are defined and illustrated with cross sections hung on multiple datums, and that had been introduced in previous publications.  Inclusion of this outcrop case study effectively reinforces the concepts about greenhouse and transitional climate-forced stratigraphy discussed by Read.  Part 3 is a detailed and thorough explanation of the completed work on the Pennsylvanian Desert Creek and Ismay carbonate reservoirs and surrounding strata, Aneth Field region, SE Utah.  This is the first ice-house characterized, sequence stratigraphic analysis of these Middle Pennsylvanian reservoirs, and it is the first time that the reservoir architecture of these reservoirs' stratal geometries has been documented to explain, via high amplitude glacio-eustacy, the occurrence of downdip shallow water ooid facies and updip relatively, deeper water algal mound and skeletal packstone facies.  The concepts concerning carbonate reservoirs, provided in this SEPM Short Course, should be applied during the initial phases of carbonate reservoir characterization for determining reservoir architecture.  Without them, practitioners will have a very tough time getting to a satisfactory reservoir architecture answer that will yield valid simulation results.

Roehl, P.O., and P.W. Choquette, eds., 1985, Carbonate Petroleum Reservoirs: Springer-Verlag, New York, 622 p.  

This book is one of the first to capture a broad spectrum of carbonate reservoir/field examples from across the world and throughout the Phanerozoic.   Roehl and Choquette have compiled 35 case studies: 19 – Paleozoic, 12 – Mesozoic, and 4- Cenozoic with the extensive help of 55 contributors from both industry and academia.  The book begins with an introductory synthesis of the carbonate case studies in terms of reservoir hydrocarbon volumes, temporal/spatial distribution, and reservoir parameters.  Following the introduction are the cases.  Each case study begins with a "Reservoir Summary" table consisting of critical geologic information, reservoir rock and fluid parameters, and production history. Then the write-up for each case study includes similar elements of depositional facies, setting, and environments, followed by stratigraphy and diagenesis.  There is not a standard format; write-ups are author specific and tailored to critical details for the subject reservoir/field.  An important element of the book is that the case studies are distributed worldwide from proven, prolific carbonate basins in North and South America, Europe, and the Arabia Gulf Regions.  With these key field and reservoir examples, the volume is a robust spatial/temporal sampling of producing carbonate reservoirs from various tectonic settings, trap types, facies, pore structure, and stratigraphic architecture that any practitioner in industry could use for references and analogues while working at almost any district or exploration office to which he/she might be assigned.

Compilation Series

SEPM Carbonate Core Workshops:
  • CW#1 1980 – Carbonate Reservoir Rocks (R.B. Halley and R. G. Loucks, eds.),
  • CW#4 1983 – Carbonate Buildups (P.M. Harris, ed.),
  • CW#5 1984 – Carbonate Sands (P.M. Harris, ed.),
  • CW#6 1985 – Deep-Water Carbonates (P.M. Harris and P.D. Crevello, eds.),
  • CW#7 1986 – Rocky Mountain Carbonate Reservoirs (M.W. Longman, K.W. Shanley, R.F. Lindsay, and D.E. Eby, eds.),
  • CW#12 1988 – Giant Oil and Gas Fields (A.J. Lomando and P.M. Harris, eds.),
  • CW#13 1989 – Subsurface and Outcrop Examination of the Capitan Shelf Margin, Northern Delaware Basin (P.M. Harris and G.A. Grover, eds.),
  • CW#15 1991 – Mixed Carbonate/Clastic Sequences (A.J. Lomando and P.M. Harris, eds.),
  • CW#18 1993 – Paleokarst Related Reservoirs (R.D. Fritz, J.L. Wilson, and D.A. Yurewicz, eds.),
  • SC#34 1995 – Hydrocarbon Reservoir Characterization - Geologic Framework and Flow Unit Modeling (E. L. Stoudt and P.M. Harris, eds.),
  • CW#19 1994 – Lacustrine Reservoirs and Depositional Systems (A.J. Lomando, B.C. Schreiber and P.M. Harris, eds.),
  • AAPG (SEPM) Memoir #88 2006 – Giant Hydrocarbon Reservoirs of the World: From Rocks to Reservoir Characterization and Modeling (P.M. Harris and L. J. Weber, eds.), and
  • CW#22 2008 – Developing Models and Analogs for Isolated Carbonate Platforms – Holocene and Pleistocene Carbonates of Caicos Platform, BWI (W.A. Morgan and P.M. Harris, eds.). 

The SEPM Core Workshop Series deserves a special shout-out and recognition for its importance to the understanding of carbonate reservoirs because it is a unique compilation of some 100 fields and reservoirs from around the world and from all the prolific producing ages throughout the Phanerozoic.  Obviously, the series emphasis is on subsurface cores as a critical data set.  These are to be integrated with logs and seismic for the principle purpose of subsurface carbonate reservoir characterization.  The core workshops are thematic.  Each workshop dedicates its case studies to a key carbonate reservoir type, as given in its book title.  Nowadays, many operating companies consider cores, as well as other subsurface data such as well logs and seismic, proprietary physical assets and intellectual property.  As such, they are hesitant to release for publication photos and figures from recently discovered carbonate fields.  This is to retain competitive advantage.  Because of this, these core workshop volumes take on significant value for their core photos, supplemental data, and interpretations.  They may never be duplicated.  So, practitioners are encouraged to seek out these volumes to review the photographs, descriptions, analyses, and interpreted carbonate reservoir rock textures and fabrics because they will provide useful comparisons to rocks and cores that you are studying.

AAPG Treatise of Petroleum Geology – Atlas of Oil and Gas Fields: Structural Traps Volumes I – VIII and Stratigraphic Traps Volumes I – III (E.A. Beaumont and N.H. Foster, eds.), 1990 – 1993. 

This AAPG Atlas series also deserves a shout-out and recognition for its importance as an expansive, comprehensive compilation of 138 oil and gas field/reservoir case studies (siliciclastic – 95; carbonate – 43) from around the world and throughout the Phanerozoic.  Most importantly, the case studies are organized by trap type, and this is a key difference from previous compilations.  Each of the 11 volumes in the series follows a standard presentation format that includes written sections of petroleum geology elements for each field including location, history, discovery method, structure, stratigraphy, trap, and exploration/development concepts.  Each case study includes two appendices: Appendix 1 – field description; Appendix 2 – production data.  This standard formatting allows for easy, straightforward parameter by parameter comparative analysis between fields.  Case studies are of fields with Paleozoic, Mesozoic, and Cenozoic-aged reservoirs from prolific hydrocarbon basins of USA, Canada, South America, Europe, Middle East, China, and Indonesia.  The structural trap settings include simple folds and complicated folds with normal, steep reverse, and low angle thrust faults.  Stratigraphic traps include stratal terminations and diagenetic porosity pinch-outs.  Carbonate examples include the most abundant carbonate porosity types: preserved primary, molds/vugs, dolomite, and fractures.  Write-ups include key subsurface data of well logs and seismic with work products of field maps (structure, thickness, reservoir parameters) and cross sections (including reservoir structure, productive facies, fluid contacts).  Of key interest is the section on Exploration and Development Concepts.  These provide understanding of how (data use, interpretations, geologic thinking) the field was discovered, and what the engineering strategies are for long-term development of the field.  This AAPG atlas is another effective, publicly accessible resource that subsurface geologists and industry practitioners should always keep in mind when contemplating field analogs during reservoir characterization projects.  As with the SEPM Core Workshop Series, data and interpretations provided in this Atlas may never be duplicated because of vendor, industry, and government commercial and proprietary issues.  Its value will be long-lasting.

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