Oil and Gas

Oil and Gas | Carbonates

Complex Carbonate Reservoirs: Influence of Facies and Tectonic Processes on Porosity Development (Southern Italy)

Course Code: N186
Course Outline:  Download
Format and Duration
6 days


The course follows the trajectory of a virtual well drilled in the prospective Monte Alpi (and Tempo Rosso) trend. The effects of a contractional regime on a wide range of carbonate rocks, from basinal to platform margin and interior facies, are observed. Principal among these effects is fracturing, and the resultant implications for reservoir performance are examined. The development of karstic macroporosity is also reviewed. 


Good to apply models from the office to examples in the field. Great locations, enjoyable, well understood by all levels of experience.

Duration and Training Method

Six field days covering the Apennine Mountains of Southern Italy from the Tyrrenian coast to the Adriatic coast, starting in Naples and finishing in Rome. The course is primarily field-based with maximum time spent in front of the outcrops. There is a short classroom session on the first night to introduce the regional geology. Examples of public domain data from the local producing areas are included wherever possible to enhance the generic principles outlined during the course.

Course Overview

Participants will learn to:

  1. Summarise the geology and structural evolution of the Southern Apennines thrust belt.
  2. Assess the reservoir characteristics of different facies types within the Apulian Platform and illustrate the exploration and production strategies for targets with similar characteristics.
  3. Characterise the principal sedimentological processes that affect primary and secondary porosity and reservoir quality in the platforms.
  4. Evaluate the relationship between sedimentary facies, tectonic style and resulting fracture network in a contractional regime.
  5. Appraise outcrop evidence (facies and structural data) and assess how these are best integrated into reservoir description.
  6. Evaluate the effects of deformation on a variety of carbonate facies, including Upper Cretaceous rudistic, calcarenitic and peritidal platforms along with heterolithic Mesozoic to Tertiary Flysch.
  7. Estimate the dynamic behaviour of carbonate (fractured) reservoirs based on the different depositional facies and on the geomechanical behaviour of the facies when stress regimes are applied.

Carbonate reservoirs are liable to display a large variability in their characteristics, affecting both performance and economic viability. Prominent among these are primary facies distribution and properties, the sequence stratigraphic framework, diagenesis and fracturing.

Numerous subsurface disciplines contribute to carbonate reservoir characterisation, such integration being crucial to an understanding and prediction of dynamic reservoir performance, and ultimately leads to more closely focused exploration, reservoir development and depletion strategies.

To achieve such a comprehensive reservoir picture, geoscientists must make use of outcrop analogues, evidence from which can be integrated with subsurface datasets from the specific reservoir under study. For the models to have predictive capability, the regional geological evolution however needs also to be integrated to place the reservoir and the processes through which it has been subjected in context. This field seminar aims to provide such elements.

The field area includes a wide range of sedimentary facies, stratigraphic architecture and structural environments, all within a highly compressive setting, sampling two Mesozoic to Cenozoic carbonate platforms, the Apulian and Apenninic, which formed, grew and then collided as elements of the interaction between the African and Eurasian plates. The two platforms and the previously intervening Lagonegro Basin are now stacked in complex thrust sheets in the southern Apennines.

The Apulian Platform is reservoir in the giant Eni-Shell oilfields of the Val d’Agri and also in the undeveloped Tempa Rossa field. Fractures and karst play a major role in the production performance of these fields.

In each segment of the class there is emphasis on the linkage between depositional facies, structural development and fracture formation.

Course Itinerary

Day 0

  • Arrive Naples, transfer to hotel. Evening course introduction to the field seminar and overview of southern Apennines geology.

Days 1 and 2

  • Structural assembly of the Apennines: the structural geology of the two platforms and the previously intervening basin; stratigraphic relations between platform and basin
  • Other tectonic units: the external flysch, thrust-top basins and the foreland: structural geometries and lithologies

Days 2 and 3

  • Facies, fracturing and karst in platform interior facies in the Murge (Altamura Formation): varied muddy and grainy facies with rudist bioherms and biostromes. Examination of megabreccia deposits and karst macroporosity in the Gargano region.

Days 4-6 at Monte Maiella

A sampled pop-up of the Apulian Platform’s northern margin that exposes the platform-slope-basin transition from Turonian to the Eocene. 1000 m of original topographic break can be inferred.

  • Organisation of ramp and basinal deposit evolution through time, plus differing fracturing characteristics for similar depositional characteristics
  • Porous calcarenites and description of 3D fault and associated fracture networks
  • The platform to margin transition and fracture characteristics close to structural hinge
  • Characteristics of ramp deposits
  • Relationship between mineralisation along faults and matrix porosity impregnation, along with discussion of associated petroleum system
  • Understanding of coarse grained facies distribution at reservoir scale
  • Identification of main structural features related to tectonic framework
  • Observation of possible relationship between fracture intensity/density and type, along with sedimentary facies and bioclast content.

End of Day 6

  • Transfer and overnight near Rome.

Petroleum geologists, reservoir engineers and geophysicists working on carbonate sequences, especially where there is a close relationship between facies, fracturing, structure and potential reservoir performance. Ideally, the components of a subsurface team would greatly benefit from participating together. 

Davide Casabianca

Davide is an explorer at TOTAL. He has 23 years of experience in the oil and gas exploration business. He worked on projects spanning exploration to reservoir development for BP, Marathon, Apache and TOTAL. Davide’s experience includes exploring, developing and managing carbonate and clastic reservoirs in the North Sea; Atlantic Margin; Mediterranean, West Africa and South East Asia.

His main expertise is in mapping the structure and stratigraphy of sedimentary basins using a range of datasets and skills including quantitative seismic interpretation and outcrop analysis. He has mapped several sedimentary basins both in the subsurface and in outcrop with various structural configurations and with carbonate and clastic fills. He has experience in working at various scales from the pore size to the basin scale.

His main professional interest is the integration of data and disciplines aimed at finding and developing hydrocarbons safely for profit.

Davide is author of several technical papers.

Affiliations and Accreditation
PhD Imperial College - Structural Geology
MSc Royal Holloway College - Basin Evolution and Dynamics
Earth Sciences from Universita’ di Urbino
AAPG - Training Instructor

Courses Taught
N186: Complex Carbonate Reservoirs: Influence of Facies & Tectonic Processes on Porosity Development (Southern Italy)



Raffaele Di Cuia

Raffaele speaks fluent English, French and Italian.

He’s presently partner and Technical Director of G.E.Plan Consulting s.r.l.in Ferrara, Italy where he deals with project management, reservoir characterization projects and development of new opportunities. He previously held technical positions with TOTAL S.A. (France), FINA E&P (Italy) and began his career with Arco British in the UK.

He has 15 years experience in E&P industry and he has worked as an asset geologist, an exploration geologist over deep offshore plays and as a reservoir geologist/petrophysicist over fractured carbonate and clastic turbidite reservoirs. During his career he was involved in multidisciplinary studies from the early exploration basin evaluation to reservoir characterization, seismic and drilling projecting, early production, reservoir modeling and late re-evaluation of old HC fields.

Since joining G.E.Plan Consulting in 2004 he has been involved in building and managing new attractive exploration portfolios for small and medium-size E&P companies in Italy and Europe by evaluating the potentials of onshore and offshore sedimentary basins together with previous exploration and production activities and by coordinating the new exploration activities.

During his career he has worked on projects in different countries of Europe, Middle East, Russia and a former Soviet Countries and North and Central Africa.  He’s also involved in research projects focusing on the characterization of fractured carbonates and dolomitized reservoirs using different techniques and approaches.

Affiliations and Accreditation
MSc Royal Holloway College - University of London
BA University of Ferrara, Italy
EAGE Distinguished Lecturer (2005-2006)

Courses Taught
N186: Complex Carbonate Reservoirs: Influence of Facies & Tectonic Processes on Porosity Development (Southern Italy)

CEU: 4.8 Continuing Education Units
PDH: 48 Professional Development Hours
Certificate: Certificate Issued Upon Completion
RPS is accredited by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET) and is authorized to issue the IACET CEU. We comply with the ANSI/IACET Standard, which is recognised internationally as a standard of excellence in instructional practices.
We issue a Certificate of Attendance which verifies the number of training hours attended. Our courses are generally accepted by most professional licensing boards/associations towards continuing education credits. Please check with your licensing board to determine if the courses and certificate of attendance meet their specific criteria.