Exploration Concepts in Carbonate Systems

Course Description

Exploring for carbonate reservoirs is regarded as high risk and the aim of this course is to provide a “what do you really need to know” framework to help understand the “rules” and uncertainties, and to aid in de-risking carbonate plays. There is a heavy emphasis on seismic facies.

Course Objectives

On completion of this three day course participants will have attained understanding of the main play types in carbonates within both a stratigraphic and tectonic context, enabling them to delimit appropriate models and analogues to develop play models.


Participants completing this course will be able to:

  1. Understand how and why different carbonate platforms develop, how they produce their seismic expression, and be able to identify possible play types associated with each.
  2. Describe the primary controls on carbonate deposition temporally and spatially, discuss the contrasts between the controls on siliciclastic deposition especially as regards sequence startigraphic behaviors.
  3. Appreciate the importance of age-specific facies and why some models only apply to certain geological intervals
  4. Be able to assess isolated seismic structures to provide objective numerical criteria to assess the likelihood of a carbonate buidldup and its likely reservoir potential
  5. Appreciate the range of reservoirs and risks associated with platform margin plays
  6. Appreciate the differences between ice-house and greenhouse platform interiors exploration strategies for each
  7.  Evaluate the likelihood of dolomitization being a factor in any carbonate play.
  8. Understand the diverse origins of palaeokarstic macroporosity, its subsurface recognition, and how to design different exploration strategies for palaeokarstic reservoirs.


Who Should Attend

This course is designed for all geoscientists involved in exploration in carbonate systems.  The course is designed as a practical class, with lecturing interspersed with practical examples to allow participants to check their understanding of the taught material, and ask questions.




No previous knowledge of carbonate sedimentology required, however the course will also present advanced concepts and thus is suitable for people with previous carbonate experience.



Continuing Professional Development



Course Content
  • The basics - why and where do carbonates form and what are the basic components
  • Platform types, factories and seismic expression
  • Plays, traps and reservoirs - generalities
  • Carbonates through time and why this matters
  • Source rocks and intra-platformal basins
  • Isolated carbonate buildups – de-risking targeting carbonate “bumps”
  • Platform margin play models:
  • Platform interiors: ice-house, greenhouse
  • Carbonate sands
  • Slope and basinal carbonate plays
  • Hydro-thermal processes including HTD’s
  • Palaeokarst – recognition, identifying the appropriate models and behaviours


Options –

Lacustrine carbonates

Carbonates in extensional systems




3 days 






London, United Kingdom



23-25 April 2018



Dubai, United Arab Emirates



27-29 May 2018


Houston, Texas, United States



16-18 July 2018