Characterization and prediction of reservoir quality in chlorite-coated sandstones : evidence from the Late Cretaceous Lower Tuscaloosa Formation at Cranfield Field, Mississippi, U.S.A.
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The effectiveness of CO₂ injection in the subsurface for storage and EOR are controlled by reservoir quality variation. This study determines the depositional processes and diagenetic alterations affecting reservoir quality of the Lower Tuscaloosa Formation at Cranfield Field. It also determines the origin, time and processes of the grain-coating chlorite and its impacts on reservoir quality. Moreover, by integrating depositional and diagenetic characteristics and by linking them to sequence stratigraphy, the distribution of reservoir quality, could be predicted within a sequence stratigraphic framework. The studied sandstones are composed of medium to coarse-grained, moderately sorted litharenite to sublitharenite with composition of Q76.1F0.4L23.5. Depositional environment of this formation in the Mississippi Interior Salt Basin is interpreted as incised-valley fluvial fill systems. The cross sections and maps at the field show trend of the sandy intervals within channels with a NW-SE paleocurrent direction. During burial of the sandstones, different digenetic alterations including compaction, dissolution, replacement and cementation by chlorite, quartz, carbonate, kaolinite, titanium oxides, pyrite and iron-oxide modified the porosity and permeability. Among these, formation of chlorite coats plays the most important role in reservoir quality. The well-formed, thick and continuous chlorite coatings in the coarser grain sandstones inhibited formation of quartz overgrowth, resulted in high porosity and permeability after deep burial; whereas the finer grain sandstones with the poorly-formed, thin and discontinuous chlorite coatings have been cemented by quartz. The optimum amount of chlorite to prevent formation of quartz overgrowths is 6% of rock volume. The chlorite coats are composed of two layers including the inner chlorite layer formed by transformation of the Fe-rich clay precursors (odinite) through mixed-layer clays (serpentine-chlorite) during early eodiagenesis and the outer layer formed by direct precipitation from pore waters through dissolution of ferromagnesian rock fragments during late eodiagenesis to early mesodiagenesis. In the context of the reservoir quality prediction within sequence stratigraphic framework, the late LST and early TST are suitable for deposition of chlorite precursor clays, which by progressive burial during diagenesis could be transformed to chlorite, and thus results in preserving original porosity and permeability in deep burial.