Distal turbidites consist of thin laminations (inch scale), usually ranging from fine sand to clay-rich deposits and may represent major hydrocarbon reservoirs: Conventionally, they are studied by means of a log-based binary modeling that discriminates productive and nonproductive layers. Nevertheless, the binary model represents a major drawback when dealing with laminations in the silt-grain-size range, because their allotment to either end member can be extremely problematic.

This paper deals with a novel, probabilistic, lithological facies-classification approach that integrates core data and a high-resolution dielectric-dispersion wireline log: Its 1-in. vertical resolution and a related fit-for-purpose petrophysical model make the log tool's response suitable to describe the lithological heterogeneity of these reservoirs.

The approach is presented by means of a study performed on the cored section of a well drilled into a laminated gas-bearing Pleistocene reservoir in the Adriatic Basin. A core-based classification was first carried out with sedimentological descriptions, mineralogical analyses, cation-exchange-capacity (CEC) measurements, routine and special core analyses, and a statistical investigation of grain-size distributions: This allowed the identification of four lithofacies ranging from hemipelagite to coarse silt. Next, a log-based classification was carried out with a multivariate statistical numerical technique integrated in a Bayesian framework run on the dielectric-dispersion model curves. The outputs are the probability of log-facies, the most-probable facies scenario, and the associated uncertainty by means of entropy computation. In the end, a four-facies log-based classification was obtained that matches the core-based classification with an overall agreement in excess of 93%.

Compared with the conventional methodology, the presented approach shows the added value of identifying intermediate lithologies, thus leading to a more-accurate quantification of the thickness of the potentially hydrocarbon-bearing net reservoir.

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