Bulletin Article

Compositional controls on early diagenetic pathways in fine-grained sedimentary rocks: Implications for predicting unconventional reservoir attributes of mudstones  

Diagenesis significantly impacts mudstone lithofacies. Processes operating to control diagenetic pathways in mudstones are poorly known compared to analogous processes occurring in other sedimentary rocks. Selected organic-carbon-rich mudstones, from the Kimmeridge Clay and Monterey Formations, have been investigated to determine how varying starting compositions influence diagenesis.

Constraining the origin of reservoirs formed by sandstone intrusions: Insights from heavy mineral studies of the Eocene in the Forties area, United Kingdom central North Sea  

The presence of hydrocarbon-bearing sandstones within the Eocene of the Forties area was first documented in 1985, when a Forties field (Paleocene) development well discovered the Brimmond field. Further hydrocarbons in the Eocene were discovered in the adjacent Maule field in 2009. Reservoir geometry derived from three-dimensional seismic data has provided evidence for both a depositional and a sand injectite origin for the Eocene sandstones. The Brimmond field is located in a deep-water channel complex that extends to the southeast, whereas the Maule field sandstones have the geometry of an injection sheet on the updip margin of the Brimmond channel system with a cone-shape feature emanating from the top of the Forties Sandstone Member (Paleocene). The geometry of the Eocene sandstones in the Maule field indicates that they are intrusive and originated by the fluidization and injection of sand during burial. From seismic and borehole data, it is unclear whether the sand that was injected to form the Maule reservoir was derived from depositional Eocene sandstones or from the underlying Forties Sandstone Member. These two alternatives are tested by comparing the heavy mineral and garnet geochemical characteristics of the injectite sandstones in the Maule field with the depositional sandstones of the Brimmond field and the Forties sandstones of the Forties field.

The study revealed significant differences between the sandstones in the Forties field and those of the Maule and Brimmond fields), both in terms of heavy mineral and garnet geochemical data. The Brimmond-Maule and Forties sandstones therefore have different provenances and are genetically unrelated, indicating that the sandstones in the Maule field did not originate by the fluidization of Forties sandstones. By contrast, the provenance characteristics of the depositional Brimmond sandstones are closely comparable with sandstone intrusions in the Maule field. We conclude that the injectites in the Maule field formed by the fluidization of depositional Brimmond sandstones but do not exclude the important function of water from the huge underlying Forties Sandstone Member aquifer as the agent for developing the fluid supply and elevating pore pressure to fluidize and inject the Eocene sand. The study has demonstrated that heavy mineral provenance studies are an effective method of tracing the origin of injected sandstones, which are increasingly being recognized as an important hydrocarbon play.

Episodic and simultaneous illitization in oil-bearing Brent Group and Fulmar Formation sandstones from the northern and southern North Sea based on illite K-Ar dating  

Size fractions (<4 and 0.4–1.0 μ) of Brent Group sandstones from the northern North Sea contain mostly illite-smectite mixed layers with kaolinite, whereas the same size fractions of Fulmar Formation sandstones from the south-central North Sea consist of illite-smectite mixed layers with minor chlorite. Transmission electron microscope observations show elongated illite laths or agglomerates consisting of small laths when larger individual laths are lacking.

The K-Ar data of the fractions less than 0.4 μm of Brent Group samples plot on two arrays in a 40Ar/36Ar vs. 40K/36Ar diagram that have isochron characteristics with ages of 76.5 ± 4.2 and 40.0 ± 1.5 Ma, and initial 40Ar/36Ar ratios of 253 ± 16 and 301 ± 18, respectively. For the Fulmar Formation samples, the data points of the fractions less than 0.2 and less than 0.4 μ also fit two isochrons with ages of 76.6 ± 1.4 and 47.9 ± 0.5 Ma and initial 40Ar/36Ar ratios of 359 ± 52 and 304 ± 2, respectively. Some of the coarser 0.4–1.0-μ fractions also plot on the two isochrons, but most plot above indicating the presence of detrital components more than 0.4 μ. The almost identical ages obtained from illite-type crystals of sandstones with different deposition ages that are located about 600 km (373 mi) apart record two simultaneous illitization episodes. These events were not induced by local burial conditions, but are related to episodic pressure and/or temperature increases in the studied reservoirs, probably induced by hydrocarbon injection. This interpretation is indirectly supported by notably different K-Ar illite ages from cores of a nearby reservoir at hydrostatic pressure.

Illite is not as well crystallized as expected for potential crystallization temperatures above 160°C measured by fluid-inclusion determinations. In both the northern and south-central North Sea, the two illite generations remain unaffected after crystallization despite continued burial, suggesting notably higher crystallization temperatures than those estimated from geothermal gradients. No recent illite crystallization or alteration is recorded in the K-Ar ages, despite a dramatic regional acceleration of the subsidence in the southern North Sea. ±

DL Abstract

 

Information on fractured reservoirs is often controversial. Engineers see lost circulation, negative skin and fracture well test signatures. Geologists see only matrix properties in their cores.

 

It is quite common for reservoir engineers to adjust the geological modelling without recoursing to the geologists by multiplying the porosity, the permeability, the anisotropy (kv/kh), the relative permeabilities, the well factors and many other parameters within their numerical world.

Explorer Article

David Roberts Symposium  

A three-day international conference honoring the life and work of the late AAPG Honorary member David Roberts, entitled “Basin Dynamics and Petroleum Systems: Geophysics, Structure, Stratigraphy, Sedimentology and Geochemistry.” will be held April 14-16 at Royal Holloway University, London, England.

Discoveries Made It a Year to Remember  
David Brown

Discoveries were comparatively sparse, but they persisted steadily throughout the year. Here are some of the more significant discoveries of the past year.

New Research Center Planned in Scotland  
Sarah Haviland

Edinburgh, Scotland, has a new research center planning to open its doors in 2015. It is the Sir Charles Lyell Centre, named after Britain's 19th century geologist. The uptick of interest in emerging industries of shale oil and gas and deep sea metal mining is just one of the areas of the focus planned for the centre.

Explorer Historical Highlight

Stratigraphy Vindicated by Cook’s Farm Coal Bust  
Hugh Torrens, Peter Wigley

Great Britain in the late 18th and early 19th centuries was undergoing great change. The Industrial Revolution was in full flood and there was an insatiable desire for coal to turn the wheels of industry.

Explorer Regions and Sections

It Was a Very Good Year for Europe Region  
Carol McGowen

European Region office is on the move. They are relocating and it is now a good time to look back over the year and reflect on has occurred for 2013.

Field Seminar

Forum

Online e Symposium

Challenging the Paradigm "Missing Section = Normal Fault" and Implications for Hydrocarbon Exploration  
19 August 2010

This presentation will show where there are cases of missing sections, but none of them can be attributed to normal faulting.

Short Course

A wealth of industry information in a short period of time  
14 February 3000

Workshop

A collaborative exchange of ideas and and best practices  
14 February 3000
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