In the onshore sector of the United Arab Emirates, the Lower Arab D Member (Kimmeridgian) typically encompasses a thick succession of rather homogeneous low-energy mid-ramp carbonate mudstones interbedded with minor storm-induced cm-scale skeletal-rich floatstones. Within these deposits, the pore volume is dominated by locally abundant matrix-hosted micropores, along with variably abundant open to partially cemented fractures, primary intraparticle macropores and rare moulds and vugs. As a result of this variably developed pore system, measured porosity varies from poor to very good, while permeability changes from extremely poor to rarely good. Detailed petrographic observations (thin-sections, SEM) carried out within six cored wells in a sour gas reservoir highlight that the variations in reservoir properties are primarily linked to the micron-scale variations in the micritic fabric. Indeed, anhedral compact micrites with coalescent intercrystalline contacts are associated with very small and poorly connected micropores, while polyhedral to subrounded micrites with facial to subpunctic intercrystalline contacts show locally well-developed micropores and therefore better reservoir potential. δ18O and δ13C isotope measurements do not discriminate both micritic fabrics, indicating a recrystallisation of the matrix within shallow burial conditions. However, bulk XRF measurements, and especially SiO2, Al2O3 and Fe2O3 content indicate that poorly porous anhedral compact micrite host more insoluble material and have been prone to a greater compaction compared to porous polyhedral micrites. Log-derived elastic properties, including Young's Modulus (YME) along with porosity data, have been used in two wells to explore the potential relationship between micritic fabric, porosity, permeability and elastic properties. With the evolution of micritic fabric from anhedral compact to polyhedral / subrounded, Young's Modulus decreases with increasing porosity, indicating a decrease in the overall stiffness of the rock. Based on these two learning wells, specific porosity and YME cut-offs have been identified to discriminate the various micrite fabrics. Those cut-offs have been successfully tested in four other wells used as a blind test for the vertical prediction of the micritic fabrics, in which accurate predictions reached up to 90%. Following these results, porosity and YME cut-offs have been used to produce the first model of the distribution of the various micritic fabrics at the field-scale. These results have a fundamental impact on how sedimentologically homogenous microporous limestones can be described and predicted at the well and field-scales, especially in the context of exploring tight carbonate plays associated with intrashelf basins.

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