Unconventional Carbonate Source Rocks & Reservoirs Group (UCSRG) is focused on investigating vertical & lateral heterogeneity in unconventional carbonate source rock/reservoir plays and its potential impact on artificial fracture propagation and productivity. We are examining source rock sequences from different places across Arabia (e.g., Jordan, Oman, KSA, Bahrain, and Kuwait). Our research mainly aims to establish in a sequence stratigraphic context and high-resolution production-scale reservoir models of source rock sequences. Our research is based on an integrated field, core, and well logs, combined with a wide variety of laboratory techniques (including petrographic, geophysical and geochemical analyses). Through this multidisciplinary approach, we also aim to deepen our understanding of the primary expulsion of hydrocarbons from these unconventional carbonate source rocks and the geological and physico-chemical processes that led to the generation and expulsion of hydrocarbons from these rocks and their different relationships to fracture development.


Using state of the art drone-based 3D photogrammetry, cores drilled behind outcrops and detailed sampling of sections the aim of our research is to study the vertical and lateral depositional and geochemical heterogeneities in unconventional source rocks from outcrop analogues. We also try to understand the impact of early hydrocarbon generation on natural fracture distribution and development, and how this may impact later on artificial stimulation. This part of the study is laboratory based. It will provide together with the results of the fieldwork an assessment of possible variations in the production behavior of unconventional reservoirs in rocks of similar origin.

Project: Investigation of Lateral and Vertical Heterogeneities of Unconventional Source Rocks: Case Studies from the Upper Cretaceous Source Rocks of Jordan (Jordan Oil Shale) and the Cretaceous Natih B Member of Oman.

The project also includes:

  1. Investigation of Primary Expulsion of Hydrocarbons from Carbonate Source Rocks through artificial maturation: Jordan Oil Shale 
  2. Natural Fracture Systems in Carbonate Mudrocks and their Relationships to Hydrocarbon Migration

RWTH Aachen University, Germany

University of Oxford



GEO 2020 Core display

Organizers: Prof Volker Vahrenkamp, Dr Israa Abu-Mahfouz, Dr Thomas Finkbeiner














Website: https://geo-expo.com/conference/core-display/


Silica diagenesis promotes early primary hydrocarbon migration.
I.S. Abu-Mahfouz, J. Cartwright, E. Idiz, J.N. Hooker, S. Robinson
Geology, 48, (2020)

Genesis and role of bitumen in fracture development during early catagenesis
I.S. Abu-Mahfouz, J. Cartwright, E. Idiz, J.N. Hooker, S. Robinson, S.H.J.M. Van den Boorn
Petroleum Geoscience, 26, 4, (2019)

Fractures in mudrocks: Advances in constraining timing and understanding mechanisms
J.N. Hooker, I.S. Abu-Mahfouz, Q. Meng, J. Cartwright
Journal of Structural Geology, 125, 166-173, (2019)

Genesis of natural fracture systems in mudrocks (Upper Cretaceous-Eocene), Jordan,
I.S. Abu-Mahfouz
DPhil Thesis, University of Oxford, United Kingdom (2019) 

Natural Fracture Systems in Mudrocks (Upper Cretaceous-Eocene), Jordan
I.S. Abu-Mahfouz, J. Cartwright, J.N. Hooker, M.R. Gross
The Geology of Fractured Reservoirs, The Geological Society, conference paper, (2018)

Characterization of fractured hydrocarbon reservoirs.
I.S., Abu-Mahfouz  
AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90298 © 2017 AAPG Foundation 2016 Grants-in-Aid Projects,  (2017)

Geo-engineering evaluation of Harrat Irbid Basaltic Rocks, Irbid District—North Jordan
I.S. Abu-Mahfouz, A. Al-Malabeh, S. Rababeh
Arabian Journal of Geosciences, 9, 5, (1-11), (2016)

Petrogenesis of Irbid District Basalt Rocks (Al-Tura-Beit Ras), Northern Jordan and their Engineering Evaluation as Building and Construction Materials.
I.S. Abu-Mahfouz
M.Sc. Thesis. The Hashemite University, Jordan (2009)

Accepted conference papers:

Fracture Development in Unconventional Reservoirs and its Role in Hydrocarbon Migration and Expulsion.
I.S. Abu-Mahfouz, J. Cartwright, J., V. Vahrenkamp, T. Patzek, R. Littke
ACE 2020 Conference and Exhibition, Houston, (2020)

Natural Fractures in Unconventional Source Rock Plays: The Role of Hydrocarbon Generation & Migration in Fracture Propagation
Abu-Mahfouz, J. Cartwright, I. Idiz, V. Vahrenkamp
GEO 2020 Conference and Exhibition, Bahrain, (2020)

Conference and Workshop organization:

GEO 2020 Core display
Organizers: Prof Volker Vahrenkamp, Dr Israa Abu-Mahfouz, Dr Thomas Finkbeiner
Website: https://geo-expo.com/conference/core-display/

Team Members

Research Scientist

Israa Abu-Mahfouz

Research Scientist

Research Interests: Carbonate Reservoirs, Reservoir Modelling and Heterogenity, Diagenesis, HC Migration and Maturation, Mechanical Stratigraphy, Geomechanics, Naturally-Fractured Reservoirs, Unconventional Hydrocarbon Reservoirs

PhD Students

Muhammad Usman

PhD Student

Research Interests: Source rock compositional heterogeneity, Organic & Inorganic geochemistry, Reservoir Characterization, Basin modeling, Artificial maturation, Thermal characterization, Hydrogen generation & storage

Regina Iakusheva

Ph.D. Student

Research Interests: Carbonate Reservoirs, Unconventional Hydrocarbon Reservoirs, Geomechanics, Petroleum engineering

Akbar Nugroho Wicaksono

PhD Student

Research Interests: Carbonate Reservoirs, Reservoir Modelling and Heterogenity, High Resolution Reservoir Characterization, Sequence Stratigraphy, Modern & Ancient Carbonates

Masters Students

Maria Ardila Sanchez

MS Student

Research Interests: Carbonate Reservoirs, Sequence Stratigraphy