The sedimentology and stratigraphy of the Arab D Reservoir, Qatif Field

Al-Nazghah, Mahmoud Hasan
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The Late Jurassic Arab D Formation in Saudi Arabia hosts the some of the world’s largest hydrocarbon reservoirs including Ghawar, the world’s largest oil field, and Khurais, the world’s largest supergiant to come into production in the last 5 years. Despite the vast oil reserves within the Arab D, and the central role of this reservoir at Ghawar in making up short-falls in global production, our understanding of the much fundamental characterization work both in terms of modern sequence stratigraphic reservoir frameworks and linked structural/fracture characterization. This study of Arab D reservoir at Qatif, immediately to the north of Ghawar, provides one of the first looks at a modern sequence analysis of this producing interval and illustrates that porosity zonations, and ultimately flow unit architecture may be substantially different than currently in use. The Arab D of the Arabian Plate is a carbonate ramp system of exceedingly low angle (<1o) developed during a low-eustatic-amplitude greenhouse Milankovitch setting. Combined macroscopic and petrographic data analysis allowed recognition of nine depositional facies: 1) spiculitic wackestone, 2) Planolites-burrowed wackestone, 3) bioturbated skeletal-peloidal packstone, 4) pelletal packstone, 5) peloidal-skeletal grain dominated packstone, 6) peloidal-skeletal grainstone, 7) skeletal-ooids grainstone, 8) cryptalgal laminites and 9) anhydrite. The depositional facies defined are used to interpret three facies tracts from deep to shallow across the ramp profile: 1) low energy sub-storm wave base (SWB) dominated facies that may illustrate disaerobic tendencies, 2) high energy within-fair-weather-wave-base ramp-crest or mid-ramp facies including foreshore and upper shoreface oolitic and skeletal grainstones that define one of the key reservoir pay zones and 3) back-barrier tidal flats consisting of cryptalgal laminites, sabkha-type anhydrites, and salina-type anhydrites. Three high frequency sequences are defined: QSEQ 1 is asymmetrical, dominated by subtidal lithofacies; and QSEQ 2 and QSEQ 3 are symmetrical and record a complex history of the fill on an intrashelf basin. Detailed cycle-scale correlations using core-based cycles and wireline log patterns allowed a cycle-scale correlation framework to be established that illustrates a north to south progradation of the Arab D reservoir strata, building landward from the Rimthan Arch. Diagenetic features observed in the Arab D reservoir include fitted fabric (chemical compaction), dolomitization, and cementation. These features play a major role altering reservoir quality properties as they essentially control fluid flow pathways which ultimately alter primary porosity and permeability.