3D Sedimentological and geophysical studies of clastic reservoir analogs: Facies architecture, reservoir properties, and flow behavior within delta front facies elements of the Cretaceous Wall Creek Member, Frontier Formation, Wyoming

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Significant volumes of oil and gas occur in reservoirs formed by ancient river deltas. This has implications for the spatial distribution of rock types and the variation of transport properties. A between mudstones and sandstones may form baffles that influence productivity and recovery efficiency. Diagenetic processes such as compaction, dissolution, and cementation can also alter flow properties. A better understanding of these properties and improved methods will allow improved reservoir development planning and increased recovery of oil and gas from deltaic reservoirs. Surface exposures of ancient deltaic rocks provide a high-resolution view of variability. Insights gleaned from these exposures can ... continued below

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White, Christopher D. December 21, 2009.

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Significant volumes of oil and gas occur in reservoirs formed by ancient river deltas. This has implications for the spatial distribution of rock types and the variation of transport properties. A between mudstones and sandstones may form baffles that influence productivity and recovery efficiency. Diagenetic processes such as compaction, dissolution, and cementation can also alter flow properties. A better understanding of these properties and improved methods will allow improved reservoir development planning and increased recovery of oil and gas from deltaic reservoirs. Surface exposures of ancient deltaic rocks provide a high-resolution view of variability. Insights gleaned from these exposures can be used to model analogous reservoirs, for which data is sparser. The Frontier Formation in central Wyoming provides an opportunity for high-resolution models. The same rocks exposed in the Tisdale anticline are productive in nearby oil fields. Kilometers of exposure are accessible, and bedding-plane exposures allow use of high-resolution ground-penetrating radar. This study combined geologic interpretations, maps, vertical sections, core data, and ground-penetrating radar to construct geostatistical and flow models. Strata-conforming grids were use to reproduce the observed geometries. A new Bayesian method integrates outcrop, core, and radar amplitude and phase data. The proposed method propagates measurement uncertainty and yields an ensemble of plausible models for calcite concretions. These concretions affect flow significantly. Models which integrate more have different flow responses from simpler models, as demonstrated an exhaustive two-dimensional reference image and in three dimensions. This method is simple to implement within widely available geostatistics packages. Significant volumes of oil and gas occur in reservoirs that are inferred to have been formed by ancient river deltas. This geologic setting has implications for the spatial distribution of rock types (\Eg sandstones and mudstones) and the variation of transport properties (\Eg permeability and porosity) within bodies of a particular rock type. Both basin-wide processes such as sea-level change and the autocyclicity of deltaic processes commonly cause deltaic reservoirs to have large variability in rock properties; in particular, alternations between mudstones and sandstones may form baffles and trends in rock body permeability can influence productivity and recovery efficiency. In addition, diagenetic processes such as compaction, dissolution, and cementation can alter the spatial pattern of flow properties. A better understanding of these properties, and improved methods to model the properties and their effects, will allow improved reservoir development planning and increased recovery of oil and gas from deltaic reservoirs. Surface exposures of ancient deltaic rocks provide a high resolution, low uncertainty view of subsurface variability. Patterns and insights gleaned from these exposures can be used to model analogous reservoirs, for which data is much sparser. This approach is particularly attractive when reservoir formations are exposed at the surface. The Frontier Formation in central Wyoming provides an opportunity for high resolution characterization. The same rocks exposed in the vicinity of the Tisdale anticline are productive in nearby oil fields, including Salt Creek. Many kilometers of good-quality exposure are accessible, and the common bedding-plane exposures allow use of shallow-penetration, high-resolution electromagnetic methods known as ground-penetrating radar. This study combined geologic interpretations, maps, vertical sections, core data, and ground-penetrating radar to construct high-resolution geostatistical and flow models for the Wall Creek Member of the Frontier Formation. Stratal-conforming grids were use to reproduce the progradational and aggradational geometries observed in outcrop and radar data. A new, Bayesian method integrates outcrop--derived statistics, core observations of concretions, and radar amplitude and phase data. The proposed method consistently propagates measurement uncertainty through the model-building process, and yields an ensemble of plausible models for diagenetic calcite concretions. These concretions have a statistically significant on flow. Furthermore, neither geostatistical data from the outcrops nor geophysical data from radar is sufficient: models which integrate these data have significantly different flow responses. This was demonstrated both for an exhaustive two-dimensional reference image and in three dimensions, using flow simulations. This project wholly supported one PhD student and part of the education of an additional MS and PhD student. It helped to sponsor 6 refereed articles and 8 conference or similar presentations.

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  • Report No.: DOE/ER15167/3
  • Grant Number: FG02-01ER15167
  • DOI: 10.2172/969297 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 969297
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc933560

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  • December 21, 2009

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  • Nov. 13, 2016, 7:26 p.m.

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White, Christopher D. 3D Sedimentological and geophysical studies of clastic reservoir analogs: Facies architecture, reservoir properties, and flow behavior within delta front facies elements of the Cretaceous Wall Creek Member, Frontier Formation, Wyoming, report, December 21, 2009; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc933560/: accessed September 26, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.