Characterization of Bedded Salt for Storage Caverns- A Case Study from the Midland Basin, Texas

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1998

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The geometry of Permian bedded salt in the Midland Basin is a result of the interplay between depositional facies and post-depositional modification by salt dissolution. Mapping high-frequency cycle patterns in cross-section and map view using wireline logs helps document the salt geometry. Geologically based interpretation of depositional and dissolution processes offers a robust tool for mapping the geometry of salt to evaluate the suitability of sites for developing solution-mined storage caverns. Furthermore, this process-based description of salt geometry enhances the understanding of one of the most well-known sedimentary basins globally and can serve as a genetic model to aid in interpreting other salt basins.

Solution-mined caverns in salt in the Midland Basin Salado Formation are cost-effective, large-volume storage facilities utilized for chemical feedstock. Caverns are also formed during salt dissolution to produce NaCl brine for drilling mud and other applications. More recently, solution-mined caverns have been employed for the disposal of oil-field wastes. This log-based regional analysis of salt character provides fundamental descriptive information on the geometry of salt necessary for siting and regulating the development, use, and decommissioning of these facilities, within the context of an exploration of facies relationships and implications for depositional history in this section of the Permian Basin.

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