Marcello Badalì, PhD

Marcello Badalì (PhD at the University of Alabama, US, and MS/BSc at the University of Rome, Italy) is an experienced carbonate geologist and seismic interpreter. He has more than 24 years experience in carbonate exploration-related geology (of which 15 with operators, such as Repsol and Equinor). Over the last years he has been focusing on building a new methodology (the Carbonate Seismic Scorecard, recently published in Badalì et al. 2022, AAPG Bulletin, vol. 106, p. 243-265) to recognize carbonate targets in seismic data.

He recently created his own consulting company (“Marcello Badali'”, where, besides providing training to the industry and universities, he performs interpretation of carbonates at a basin to prospect/reservoir scale, using seismic stratigraphy, sequence stratigraphy and seismic attribute imaging. He also helps assess and rank carbonate prospects and predict reservoir properties through seismic analysis, producing field/outcrop analog study and core, thin section and well-log integration.

Marcello’s expertise includes most types of sedimentary carbonate plays, which include marine/lacustrine, platform/ramp reefal (fore-reefs, back-reef and reef core), lagoonal and shoal/bank systems, resedimented carbonates (such as calciturbidites, debris and breccia bodies) and evaporite systems, as well as the main types of carbonate diagenetic plays, like fresh-water karst, early and hydrothermal dolomites, and (shallow-water and pelagic) fractured limestones.  Also, where possible, potential source rock layers can be mapped.

During his career he has developed an extensive and worldwide (e.g. SE Asia, Middle East, Mex/US GOM, S/N Mediterranean, Caribbean, Russia, West Africa, Southern Atlantic, Black Sea, Portugal, Ireland) project expertise in Proterozoic, Paleozoic, Mesozoic and Tertiary carbonate plays.

Marcello is fluent in English, Spanish, French and Italian.

Geographic expertise

(One dot can be related to more than one project)


  • A specialist with a professional background with an operator has a perfect knowledge of the needs of an exploration/development team.
  • I have developed the Carbonate Seismic Scorecard, and such a tool can be created only thanks to an extensive exposure and study of thousands of seismic images of carbonate and biasing structures, which makes this a top consulting company in this discipline. 
  • I believe my clients should have a clear picture of the reasons of my working results: You will never hear me saying “This is the right interpretation because I am the specialist”. I will always explain our interpretation in the simplest possible way. 
  • I have developed many contacts with specialists of other E&P disciplines over these many years and I have worked on a professional net that can help my clients to find reliable technical support in other disciplines when needed (see bottom of this page).

The Seismic Carbonate Scorecard

The SCS is a proprietary tool which was designed to help distinguish, on seismic data, shallow-water carbonate structures from similar, non-carbonate structures, such as volcanoes, basement highs, erosional remnants and various tectonic features (Badalì et al., 2022). 

This tool allows to “score” fifteen parameters from a seismic image, resulting in a final quantitative score which indicates the chance of dealing with a carbonate (positive score) or a non-carbonate (negative score) structure.

The effectiveness of the SCS concept was proven during a massive test on more than 200 images of different structures, which were scored by a non-carbonate, junior geologist, whose interpretation, in 90% of the cases, matched the drilled/calibrated/interpreted nature of the structure (Badalì et al., 2022). This tool, as a matter of fact, was built to give the possibility to non-specialist geoscientists to assess seismic images of potential carbonate prospects without the assistance of a carbonate interpreter. 

Nevertheless, some points should be mentioned:

–  This scorecard, beside requiring some training before its use, will never replace an experienced specialist.

–  In my consulting activity this can be a powerful tool to risk-rank potential carbonate prospects, if needed or required by the client; however my overall carbonate assessment rather focuses on the integration and analysis of all available data and I do not use the SCS as my main and only reference. 

The Seismic Carbonate Scorecard

The Seismic Carbonate Scorecard (published and downloadable version, Badalì et al. 2022)

C = Common   P = Possible   R = Rare    ROP = Ruling-out parameter


Work experience

Seismic Carbonates: Sep 2021 – Present

  • Position: Carbonate consultant
  • Location: Rome area, Italy

Provides technical support and training to industry and academic institutions, on carbonate geoloogy and seismic interpretation aimed at exploration and development.

Repsol: Sep 2011 – August 2020

  • Position: Carbonate specialist
  • Location: Madrid, Spain

Provides technical support to exploration and development teams. Teaches the internal course “Carbonates: Sequence stratigraphy and seismic interpretation applied to HC exploration and development”. Develops a quantitative Seismic Scorecard tool to distinguish carbonate buildups from biasing structures on seismic data.

Statoil (now Equinor): Feb 2006 – Jul 2011

  • Position: Principal Exploration Geologist
  • Locations: Harstad and Oslo, Norway
  • Carbonate exploration projects in Cuba, Bahamas and Brazil. Carbonate and deep-water exploration projects in Russia and Gulf of Mexico.

Georex AT: Jan 2004 – Jan 2006

  • Position: Geologist
  • Locations: Pau, Paris (France) and Tripoli (Libya)
  • Carbonate research and exploration projects for TOTAL.

IES GmbH: Jan 2003 – Dec 2003

  • Position: Geologist
  • Locations: Juelich (Germany) and several Pemex offices in Mexico.
  • Basin modeling. Project work and training for PEMEX. Southern Gulf of Mexico.

University of Alabama, Geology department: May 1999 – Dec 2002

  • Position: Research assistant
  • Location: Tuscaloosa, Alabama (USA)
  • Carbonate interpretation from basin to reservoir scale: seismic, well-log and core integration. Northern Gulf of Mexico (collaboration with Mobil Oil, ChevronTexaco, DOE and MMS).

EDRA  (European Development & Research Agency): Mar 1997 – May 1999

  • Position: Field geologist
  • Location: Rome, Italy
  • Physical modeling of shale-diapir structures. Northern Apennines, Italy.


Ph.D. in Geological Sciences

  • The University of Alabama
  • May 1999 – Dec 2002
  • Dissertation title: “Sequence and Seismic Stratigraphy of Lower Cretaceous Strata in the Northeastern Gulf of Mexico Area”.
  • Final grade (GPA): 4.0 / 4.0 (Outstanding Research Award).
  • Grants: BP-Amoco, Mobil Oil, GSA.
  • 3 papers and several abstracts published

B.Sc. + M.Sc. in Geological sciences

  • University of Rome “La Sapienza”
  • Nov 1988 – Dec 1996
  • Thesis title: “Geologic mapping at 1:10,000 scale, tectonic and depositional reconstruction of an Upper Cretaceous carbonate platform area in the Central Apennines, Italy”. (40 km2 mountain area, two-year research and fieldwork)
  • Final grade: 106/110 (12/12 for the thesis research)

Representative publications:

  • Badali M., 2023, “Distribution over geologic time of seismic-scale, early-karst features in shallow-water carbonates”, 17th Bathurst Meeting of Carbonate Sedimentologists, Naples, p. 7.
  • Badali’ M., 2022, “Seismic Expression of Shallow-Water Carbonate Structures Through Geologic Time”, AAPG “Carbonate Sequences and Reservoirs” Conference abstract, Naples
  • Badalì M., Hsieh J. and D’Annibale S., 2022, “A new methodology using seismic data to differentiate shallow-water carbonate deposits from similar, non-carbonate structures”, Geohorizon paper, AAPG Bulletin, Vol. 106, p. 243-265.
  • Badalì M., 2018, “A Seismic Carbonate Scorecard: How to recognize carbonate buildups/platforms from deceiving structures”, GSL Abstract Volume, Presented at The Geological Society “Seismic characterisation of carbonate platforms and reservoirs” Conference, London.
  • Pellan C., Mudaham Z., Fontanelli L., Leon M.F., Badalì M. and Palacios J.M., 2018, “How integration of 4D Stratigraphic Modeling can improve Carbonate Reservoir Characterization – An example from a Cenozoic partially rimmed system”, 80th EAGE Conference and Exhibition, 5 pp
  • Martín-Monge A., Baudino R., L. M. Gairifo-Ferreira, R. Tocco, M. Badali`, M. Ochoa, S. Haryono, S. Soriano, N. El Hafiz, J. Herna, B. Chaco, I. Brisson, G. Grammatico, R. Varade´ & H. Abdallah, 2016, “An unusual Proterozoic petroleum play in Western Africa: the Atar Group carbonates (Taoudeni Basin, Mauritania)”, In: Sabato Ceraldi T., Hodgkinson R.A. & Backe G. (eds) Petroleum Geoscience of the West Africa Margin. Geological Society, London, Special Publications, 438, p. 1-39.
  • Mancini E.A., Obid J., Badali M., Liu K, Parcell W.C, 2008, “Sequence-stratigraphic analysis of Jurassic and Cretaceous strata and petroleum exploration in the central and eastern Gulf coastal plain, United States”, AAPG BULLETIN 92(12):1655-1686
  • Badali` M. 2003 “ Paleoenvironments, Diagenesis, and Sequence Stratigraphy of the Mid-Cretaceous Section (Albian/Cenomanian) in the Main Pass Field Area, Northeastern Gulf of Mexico”. Carbonates and Evaporites, v.18, no.1, p. 29-40.
  • Badali` M. 2002 “A simple methodology for Carbonate Sequence Stratigraphic and Seismic Stratigraphic Interpretation: Examples from the LK section in offshore Alabama and Mississippi”. GCSSEPM (Gulf Coast Section of the Society of Economic Paleontologists and Mineralogists) Foundation Bob F. Perkins 22nd Annual Research Conference Proceedings , December 2002, Houston, Texas, USA, p. 681-708.
  • Badali`M., 2002 Sequence Stratigraphy and Seismic Stratigraphy of the Lower Cretaceous Section in the Northeastern Gulf of Mexico. GCAGS (Gulf Coast Association of Geologic Societies) Annual Meeting Proceedings, October  2002, Austin, Texas, USA, p. 13-24.

Training provided to external/academic institutions:

  • August 2022, PTTEP, Thailand. Teaches the 3-day course “Seismic interpretation of carbonates”
  • January 2019, University of Rome “La Sapienza”, Rome, Italy. Teaches the 3-day course “Carbonate seismic interpretation and sequence stratigraphy applied to HC exploration” to the graduate students of the Geological Sciences Department.
  • May 2018, University od Basilicata, Potenza, Italy. Teaches the 3-day course “Carbonate seismic interpretation and sequence stratigraphy applied to HC exploration and development” within the II Level Master in Petroleum Geoscience of the University of Basilicata, organized by the University of Basilicata in cooperation with Shell Italia E&P, Total E&P Italia and ENI
  • April 2017, Servicio Geologico de Cuba, Habana, Cuba. Teaches the 5-day course “Carbonates for E&P geoscientists”

Professional affiliations:

AAPG (American Association of Petroleum Geologists), EAGE (European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers), SEG (Society of Exploration Geophysicists), IAS (International Association of Sedimentologists), Ordine dei Geologi del Lazio

Geo-software expertise:

  • Petrel, Paradigm, Ffa Geoteric, Geoframe, SeisWorks, Kingdom Suite, ArcGIS, PetroMod


  • Fluent in Italian, English, Spanish and French

Detailed project experience

Marcello, during his career, has worked in numerous long-term and short-medium term projects focusing on seismic interpretation of carbonate structures.

Some representative examples of long-term projects are listed:

  • West Africa (Mauritania): Proterozoic play. 2D seismic interpretation. Seismic stratigraphy, 2D attribute analysis, rock study
  • Black Sea (Bulgaria): Cretaceous and Tertiary plays. 3D seismic interpretation. Seismic stratigraphy, attribute analysis
  • Kurdistan (Iraq): Mesozoic play. Fieldwork
  • Kurdistan (Iraq) (Development project): Tertiary play. 3D seismic interpretation. Seismic stratigraphy, sequence stratigraphy, attribute analysis, well-log and rock study
  • Ireland: Cretaceous play. 3D seismic interpretation. Seismic stratigraphy, attribute analysis
  • Cuba: Basin screening and prospect study. Mesozoic (depositional and diagenetic) plays. 2D and 3D seismic. Seismic stratigraphy, well log study
  • Russia (several projects in the Timan-Pechora Basin): Paleozoic plays. 2D and 3D seismic interpretation. Seismic stratigraphy, attributes, well-log analysis, extensive rock study
  • Argentina (Salta Basin): Upper Cretaceous lacustrine play. Following an IFP consortium aimed at the thorough study of a potential pre-salt analog. Fieldwork
  • Gulf of Mexico (several projects in Mexican and US waters): Jurassic and Cretaceous plays. 2D and 3D seismic interpretation. Seismic stratigraphy, attributes, well-log analysis, extensive rock study
  • Libya offshore (Sirte Basin, Tripolitania Basin and Cyrenaica Platform): Mesozoic and Tertiary plays. 2D seismic interpretation. Seismic stratigraphy, well log study
  • Libya onshore (Sirte Basin): Tertiary plays. 3D seismic interpretation. Seismic stratigraphy, attributes and well-log analysis
  • Angola (Kwanza Basin): Pre-salt (Cretaceous) play. 3D seismic interpretation. Seismic stratigraphy, attributes.
  • Greece (onshore): Cretaceous-Tertiary fractured carbonate plays. 2D seismic interpretation. Seismic stratigraphy, well-log, fieldwork and rock study
  • Philippines (Palawan basin):Tertiary plays. 2D seismic interpretation. Seismic stratigraphy.
  • Venezuela: Tertiary play. Providing input and working as carbonate advisor for a reservoir forward modeling project

Also, Marcello provided internal consultancy on countless carbonate seismic interpretation short to medium term projects, mainly for New Ventures and Exploration teams:

Some examples are:

  • Greece (offshore): Cretaceous and Tertiary plays
  • Montenegro: Cretaceous plays
  • Papua New Guinea: Tertiary play
  • Indonesia: Several Tertiary plays and basins (e.g. Ganal, Biak, Cendrawasih, East Jabung)
  • Myanmar: Tertiary play
  • Thailand: Paleozoic play
  • Venezuela: Tertiary play
  • Brazil: Pre-salt (Cretaceous) play
  • Caribbean and South-America: Numerous Tertiary plays (Guyana, Trinidad, Colombia, Aruba, Jamaica, Nicaragua)
  • Algeria: Tertiary plays
  • Morocco: Jurassic and Cretaceous plays
  • Cyprus: Cretaceous plays
  • Norway (Barents sea): Paleozoic plays


I am building a large network of reliable and experienced partners in many disciplines with which I can partner for projects, if needed.  Feel free to contact them directly if you need assistance, or simply contact me and I can make the introduction.

Reservoir Geoscience

Lincolnshire – UK Tel: +44 (0)1507 588353

Stratigraphy & Sedimentology Solutions

2033 42 Ave SW

Calgary, AB T2T 2M8


Tel: +1 (403) 819 0913

We help our clients to better understand their reservoir characteristics 

G.E.Plan Consulting srl
Via L.Ariosto, 58
44121 Ferrara – Italy
+39 0532 207770

Siliciclastics, Carbonates & Evaporites Sedimentology expertise, Reservoir & Basin analysis, Petroleum systems evaluation, Oil & Gas prospectivity and Risks assessment

3bis rue des Marmuzots, 21000 FRANCE
Mobile phone: +33 646600361
E-mail adress:

University of Vienna, Geology Department 

Althanstraße 14, 1090 Vienna

Office: +431427753606

Mobile: +4367762916298

Rock Physics Advisor.  Experienced in carbonates, clastics, in Exploration, Development and Production in numerous basins worldwide.