Research Area: Exploration

Geological and geophysical properties of fault zones in carbonate rocks: from outcrop analogues to seismic imaging (SW Barents Sea and analogues).

Project Number: 6272
Project Duration: 1. November 2017 – 31. October 2020

Project manager: Atle Rotevatn

Technical contact person: Ian Sharp


Seal/retention failure is widely recognized as the predominant regional risk factor for hydrocarbon exploration in the SW Barents Sea. At the same time, recent discoveries have established rift-related Carboniferous and Permian carbonates as an emerging hydrocarbon play in the region.  It is therefore highly important to investigate normal fault zone properties in carbonate rocks in order to improve the understanding and prediction of how faults affect flow and seal in the subsurface. Similar topics have been widely studied in siliciclastic reservoirs, but are less well understood in carbonate reservoir rocks (e.g. Agosta et al. 2007; Rotevatn et al. 2017).

Through this project we aim to deliver an advance in the understanding of the relationship between carbonate-hosted fault zone properties (geometry, geophysical/petrophysical properties) and the seismic imaging of such fault zones, allowing improved prediction of subsurface fault zone properties from seismic data. These factors are critical to the prediction of flow behaviour and seal/retention capacity. The aims will be achieved through (i) structural analysis of carbonate-hosted faults in outcrops, in combination with (ii) analyses of petrophysical and geophysical fault rock properties, and (iii) seismic forward modelling which will be compared with real seismic data from the Barents Sea.


Photo from field work in Malta; studying the hangingwall of a carbonate hosted normal fault.


Dimmen, V., Rotevatn, A., Peacock, D.C., Nixon, C.W., Nærland, K., 2017. Quantifying structural controls on fluid flow: Insights from carbonate-hosted fault damage zones on the Maltese Islands. Journal of Structural Geology 101, 43-57.

Peacock, D. C. P., Dimmen, V., Rotevatn, A., & Sanderson, D. J. (2017). A broader classification of damage zones. Journal of Structural Geology, 102, 179-192.

PhD: Vilde Dimmen

Drammensveien 78 · NO-0271 OSLO · NORWAY
Tel: +47 22 84 15 00 / +47 415 10 974
E-mail: vista@dnva.no