Carbonate Essentials: Pores to Prospect

Christopher L. Liner

This course is an overview of carbonates from geology to seismic interpretation, with particular emphasis on karst topography and seismic expression thereof.

Carbonate reservoirs represent over 60% of worldwide petroleum reserves, including emerging unconventional reservoirs. Unlike clastics, carbonate mineralogy is relatively simple, while complexity arises from depositional environment lateral variability, pore structure, digenesis and dissolution. These factors influence bulk rock properties and, in turn, seismic response. The course offers a broad overview of carbonate geology and properties that can be mapped on a seismic scale as potential hydrocarbon reservoirs. To illustrate key concepts, field sites and case histories are presented from global locations.


One day

Intended Audience

Entry level


BS degree in Geology, Geophysics, Petroleum Engineering or related field. Three years work experience preferred.

Course Outline

  1. Geology: classification, deposition, diagenesis, dolomite, chalk, pores, karst
  2. Rock Physics: velocity versus [everything], beware ND correlation, Gassmann in carbonates?, diagenesis and rock physics
  3. Wireline: fractures and cross-dipole sonic, Vp/Vs-Impedance space, synthetic seismogram, time-depth curve
  4. Seismic 101: tuning, resolution, spatial aliasing, dip and throw, 3D intro, meaning of seismic amplitude
  5. Horizons: layers and information, tracking in unfaulted terrain, offset tracking, flattening, depth conversion, tracking in faulted terrain, geobody extraction
  6. Attributes: acoustic impedance, similarity, curvature, spectral decomposition, AVO

Learner Outcomes

  • Define carbonate lithofacies, pore structures and karst features
  • Classify carbonate reservoir rocks in Vp/Vs-Impedance space
  • Interpret carbonate horizons and unconformities on 3D seismic amplitude data
  • Discuss the application of 3D seismic attributes to mapping of carbonate reservoirs

Instructor Biography

Christopher L. Liner