Quantifying Reservoir Heterogeneity Through Outcrop Characterization: 2. Architecture, Lithology, and Permeability Distribution of a Seaward-Stepping Fluvial-Deltaic Sequence, Ferron Sandstone (Cretaceous), Central Utah

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The internal architecture of natural gas reservoirs fundamentally determines gas migration, production efficiency, and the volume of gas unrecovered at abandonment. To determine the style and scale of reservoir complexity in fluvially dominated (seaward-stepping) deltaic reservoirs, we investigated relations between sandstone architecture and permeability distribution in seaward-stepping deltaic Ferron genetic sequence (GS) 2 sandstone outcrops in central Utah. Distributary-channel, mouth-bar, and delta-front deposits are the volumetrically important sand repositories in the Ferron GS 2. Mouth-bar facies are laterally extensive and relatively simple sand bodies with moderate mean permeabilities. Distributary channels also have good permeability but are narrow, sinuous, and separated from mouth-bar sandstones by low-permeability bounding surfaces, making them difficult targets for development. Statistical analyses of permeability data show that lithofacies are the fundamental sandstone architectural elements. Therefore, lithofacies are the basic units that should be used to construct reservoir models. The variable preservation of lithofacies controls permeability throughout the system. Vertical and horizontal permeability correlation distances correspond to distances between bounding surfaces and to macroform dimensions. Estimates based on field-scale mapping show that 91 percent of the reservoir area could be contacted at 320-acre well spacing. Sandstone architecture and permeability relations of the Ferron GS 2 are similar to those in Lake Creek (Wilcox Group, Texas Gulf Coast) reservoirs. This outcrop-reservoir comparison confirms that outcrop data are transferable to reservoirs.


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