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Oil and Gas | Carbonates

Carbonate Systems and Facies Architecture: Exploration and Reservoir Implications (Mallorca & Menorca, Spain)

Course Code: N059
Course Outline:  Download
Format and Duration
5 days

Next Event

Location: Mallorca and Menorca, Spain
Date:  26 - 30 Sep. 2022
Start Time: 09:00 CEDT
Event Code: N059a22F
Fee From: GBP £6,770 (exc. Tax)


Business impact: The key learnings from this course can be applied throughout the E&P life-cycle to better predict carbonate reservoir potential, conduct volumetric assessments with greater confidence, and ultimately create more robust reservoir models.

This course provides an in-depth understanding of the controls on the development of carbonate successions using a process-product approach. The dominant influences of biota and sea level change on the facies, architecture, and reservoir characteristics of ramp and reef systems are examined. Participants develop an understanding of the processes driving carbonate systems that helps to reduce uncertainties in the prediction of subsurface facies and porosity distribution.

Excellent exposures of the Upper Miocene platforms along continuous outcrops on the sea cliffs of the Balearic Islands, as well as water-well data, reveal in detail the 3D facies belts distribution in two types of carbonate platforms - a distally-steepened ramp and a reef-rimmed platform. In these examples, most of the detailed stratigraphic heterogeneities are below the resolution of seismic and well-log analyses. Thus, they could aid in constructing realistic models for distribution, geometry, and volume of porous and permeable units of some shallow-water carbonate reservoirs, as well as models for fluid flow.


"A very good course - very complicated systems explained in a way even newcomers to carbonates could understand."


Event Code: N059a22F
Duration: 5 days
Instructors: Juan Ignacio Baceta, Guillem Mateu
Dates: 26 - 30 Sep. 2022
Start Time: 09:00 CEDT
Location: Mallorca and Menorca, Spain
Fee From
GBP £6,770 (exc. Tax)
Limited Availability
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Duration and Training Method

This is a field course, comprising a mixture of observation, discussion and exercises in the field, supported by short classroom sessions.

Course Overview

Participants will learn how to:

  1. Sketch the stratigraphy and evolution of Upper Miocene carbonate ramp to reef sequences in the Balearic Islands (at Basic Application level).
  2. Evaluate the underlying biological and hydrological controls that determine carbonate deposition in reef and ramp settings.
  3. Compare and contrast the controls on carbonate versus siliciclastic deposition.
  4. Evaluate the effects of sea level change on the architecture and geometry of carbonate platforms.
  5. Assess the relationship between the carbonate factory and accommodation space - in particular examine the effects of the location and volume of sediment production, biological binding and early cementation.
  6. Characterise the key sedimentological aspects and facies belt distributions in ramp and rimmed shelf carbonate systems and assess likely primary porosity distributions.
  7. Appraise interpretations of carbonate platforms from seismic data and likely facies distribution.

Day 0 Arrival in Menorca and Course Introduction

Day 1 (Menorca Island)

FIELD: The Lower Tortonian ramp system. Observation of inner- and middle ramp lithofacies, including:

  • Examination of the transition from continental to marine conditions and inner to middle ramp facies
  • Grain size and textures distribution
  • Dune bedforms and palaeocurrent directions
  • Diagenesis: Fluid flow pathways evidenced by preferential cementation

Day 2 (Menorca Island)

FIELD: The Lower Tortonian ramp system. Observation of ramp-slope and outer-ramp lithofacies:

  • Rhodolithic facies composition and arrangement; loci of carbonate production
  • Toe of slope facies and subaqueous dunes: types and transport direction
  • Mass-flow- and turbidity-flow deposits on the ramp slope; channel and levee structures
  • Slump scars and backsets and density flows
  • Discussion on implications for reservoir potential

Fly to Mallorca and hotel check-in

Day 3 (Mallorca Island)

FIELD: The upper Tortonian reef rimmed shelf. Observation of a complete set of representative facies:

  • Open shelf and prograding slope to lower reef facies. Changing style of sediment production
  • Reef core lithofacies, with representative core ecological-bathymetric zones, porosity types and diagenesis
  • Outer lagoonal lithofacies. Grainy and bioconstructed facies interrelationships
  • Pliocene beach deposits (optional)

Day 4 (Mallorca Island)

FIELD: The Upper Tortonian reef rimmed shelf. Analysis of the architecture of the Llucmajor shelf:

  • Boat trip to view the shelf to basin transition, from Vallgornera - Cala pi to Cap Blanc (9 - 20 stops) 
  • General architecture, statal geometries, and sequence development from the large- to the meso-scale
  • The youngest reef slopes developed just before the Messinian Salinity Crisis and associated sea level fall
  • Pliocene beach deposits and Pleistocene aeolianites


  • Core description exercise on cores drilled from the Miocene platform
  • 2D core correlation exercise
  • Discussion on 3D core correlation: applications to seismic interpretations

Day 5 (Mallorca Island)

FIELD: Upper Tortonian-Messinian capping series and paleokarst. Analysis of the Santanyi Limestone outcrops and facies succession:

  • Observation of mangrove deposits, tidal grainstones, thrombolites, and stromatolites
  • Karst collapse structures, implications for porosity development
  • Sequence stratigraphic features and their influence on hydrocarbon exploration and development in carbonate systems

CLASSROOM: Course closure

  • Main topics and concepts visited and discussed during the field trip
  • Comparison between the Menorca ramp, the Mallorca reef rimmed shelf systems, and other well-known systems
  • Applications for hydrocarbon exploration and appraisal

Day 6 Departure from Mallorca

This course is designed for all subsurface geoscientists who wish to broaden and deepen their knowledge of carbonate plays. Attendance on this course could also benefit reservoir engineers, team leaders, and managers looking to better understand carbonate reservoir facies and porosity distribution and how these impact hydrocarbon in-place volumes, as well as production behaviour.

Juan Ignacio Baceta

Following completion of his B.Sc. in Geology, he got a Research Grant in 1989 to develop his doctoral thesis on sedimentology and sequence stratigraphy of Paleogene carbonates from the Pyrenean basin, at the Basque Country University in Bilbao. In 1993, he joined the local geology industry and during 4 years developed several projects concerning exploration for mineral and water resources and different mapping programs for public institutions.

In 1997, he got a position for four years as Lecturer at the Huelva University, in southwest Spain, and developed a new phase of research on coastal and shallow marine successions in the Miocene-Pliocene Guadalquivir foreland basin.

He returned in 2001 to the Basque Country University in Bilbao, through a Ramon y Cajal Fellow­ship, obtaining a Senior Research position and later, in 2010, a position as Senior Lecturer at the Department of Stratigraphy and Palaeontology. During the last twenty years, he has been involved in a variousf research projects for private and public institutions, including studies on paleokarst, cyclestratigraphy and sedimentology/architecture of the Paleogene and Neogene carbonate platform systems. He has co-lead field trips and classroom courses for the oil industry (Total, Shell and KPO).

Dr. Baceta´s training has been field geology and carbonate sedimentology, with pre- and post-doctoral specialization in applied geology and industry experience on resources exploration.

At present, his main research looks at the Cenozoic reef buildups and ramp system, LBF accumulations and large-scale karstification processes.

Affiliations and Accreditation
PhD Basque Country University (Bilbao)
BSc Basque Country University (Bilbao)

Courses Taught 
N059: Carbonate Systems and Facies Architecture: Exploration and Reservoir Implications (Mallorca & Menorca, Spain)

N143: Advanced Concepts in Carbonate Exploration and Reservoir Characterization (Northern Spain)

Guillem Mateu

After completing his B.Sc. in Biology (2001), Guillem was funded to obtain his doctoral degree supervised by Prof. Luis Pomar (University of the Balearic Islands) and Pamela Hallock (University of South Florida). His PhD research was focused on the paleoecological and sedimentological analyses of the carbonate production on Neogene platforms from the Mediterranean.

He has been a post-doctoral researcher in Germany (MARUM-Universität Bremen) and Italy (University of Rome ‘The Sapienza’), developing projects on modern carbonate systems to obtain analogous to interpret the fossil record. He is currently a tenure-track contract lecturer in the Department of Biology at the University of the Balearic Islands, researcher of the ‘Guillem Colom Casasnovas’ Chair, dedicated to Micropaleontology, Paleoecology and Sedimentology studies. He is also Scientific Director of the Museu Balear de Ciències Naturals, where the micropaleontological legacy of G. Colom is held.

Dr. Mateu-Vicens has been involved in a wide range of projects funded by private and public institutions, focused on Paleogene, Neogene and modern carbonate production. He is currently working on Eocene-Oligocene accumulations of large benthic foraminifera and their relationship with the impact of internal waves; and modern and fossil carbonate production of seagrass-dominated systems.

Affiliations and Accreditation
PhD University of the Balearic Islands (Palma de Mallorca)
BSc University of the Balearic Islands (Palma de Mallorca)

Courses Taught 
N059: Carbonate Systems and Facies Architecture: Exploration and Reservoir Implications (Mallorca & Menorca, Spain)

CEU: 4 Continuing Education Units
PDH: 40 Professional Development Hours
Certificate: Certificate Issued Upon Completion
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