American Association of Petroleum Geologists

AAPG - an International Organization

Microbial Carbonate Reservoir Characterization

AAPG Hedberg Research Conference organized through the AAPG Research Committee
Conference Conveners
Ernest A. Mancini
Texas A&M University
Wayne Ahr
Texas A&M University
Bill Morgan
William Parcell
Wichita State University
Dimas Dias-Brito
Universidade Estadual Paulista - UNESP
P.M. (Mitch) Harris

June 4-8, 2012
Houston, Texas



Assess the state of knowledge of microbial carbonate buildups and reservoirs, identify areas that require investigation, and identify strategies designed to advance our knowledge of microbial reservoirs to facilitate exploration for and development of the hydrocarbon resources associated with these reservoirs.


  1. Provide the opportunity for geobiologists, geochemists, and geologists to interact and discuss the origin, development, geographic distribution, stratigraphic occurrence, and demise of individual microbial carbonate buildups.
  2. Provide the opportunity for geologists, petrophysicists, geophysicists, and petroleum engineers to interact and discuss the formation, alteration, preservation, distribution, quality, and productivity of microbial carbonate reservoirs.
  3. Identify strategies to further our understanding of microbial carbonate buildups and reservoirs.
  4. Apply the knowledge gained from this Conference in the formulation of enhanced strategies to facilitate exploration for and development of microbial carbonate reservoirs.
  5. Publish a Special Publication on the papers presented and results of the Conference within 1 year of its conclusion.


The meeting was comprised of four days of single session oral and poster presentations, arranged in topical sessions, with a mid-conference Core Workshop to view core slabs and thin sections. There was an optional pre-conference field trip to view Cambrian microbialites of central Texas. Oral presentations will be 30 minutes in length, with discussion by all attendees following each presentation. Additional longer discussion sessions are also planned. To optimize the discussions, the number of attendees was limited to 120 individuals. The poster sessions were linked to the oral presentations and featured prominently in the discussions. The results of the conference will be published in a compendium research volume, hopefully as an AAPG Memoir.

Application to Petroleum Exploration and Development

The knowledge gained from this Conference should assist in the formulation of enhanced strategies in exploration for microbial carbonate buildups and associated potential reservoir facies and to facilitate the development of the discovered reservoirs. An increased understanding of the processes controlling microbial buildups, facies, and reservoirs is crucial to reduce risks and costs associated with the exploration for and development of these carbonates. This increased knowledge will serve to improve the current geologic models related to microbial depositional settings, sequence stratigraphy, and petrophysics and reservoir characteristics. Specifically, these models include: establishing a sequence stratigraphic framework to predict the probable occurrence, distribution, orientation, and thickness of microbial buildups and favorable microbial facies, categorizing the depositional settings supporting the formation of microbial buildups and the depositional processes that affect microbial textures, growth forms and fabrics, and classifying reservoir porosity by identifying reservoir architecture (building blocks), pore systems, and the primary and secondary agents that control reservoir connectivity and quality.

Key Topical Sessions:

  1. Geobiology and geochemistry of microbial carbonates (oral)
  2. Outcrop analogs for microbial carbonate reservoirs (poster)
  3. Comparison of geological, geochemical, petrophysical, and geophysical characteristics of microbial carbonate reservoirs (oral)
  4. Geologic models for sequence stratigraphy, depositional setting, and porosity development related to microbial carbonate reservoirs (oral & poster)
  5. Exploration strategies and geologic-engineering reservoir development methodologies to maximize hydrocarbon recovery (oral)

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