ABSTRACT

This study evaluates the proportion, length, and effective properties of thin (0.003–0.7 m [0.01–2.3 ft]) shale beds and drapes in tidally influenced channels within a compound valley fill with a focus on estimating geologically based effective rock properties. The Cretaceous Ferron Sandstone is an outcrop analog for fluvial–tidal systems with primary reservoirs being deposited as tidally influenced valley filling point bars. The study outcrops expose three valley systems in Neilson Wash of Utah. Light detection and ranging–derived digital outcrop models have been used to characterize shale length, width, thickness, and frequency of each valley fill succession. Long, uncommon, and anisotropic shales in valley 1 (V1) were deposited in a braided setting with little tidal influence. In contrast, shales in valley 2 (V2) were abundant, short, common, and equidimensional, suggesting deposition by more tidally influenced meandering rivers. Short, frequent, and equidimensional shales in valley 3 (V3) were deposited in single-thread meandering rivers with less tidal influence. A sandstone–shale model was used to estimate the effects of shales on vertical to horizontal permeability ratio (forumla). The unique character of each depositional unit was reflected in resultant forumla distributions. The valley fill deposits, V1, V2, and V3, had average forumla ratios of 0.11, 0.09, and 0.17, respectively. More tidally influenced reservoirs such as the studied V2 had short but frequent shales, which resulted in low forumla estimates. Estimates of forumla for valleys that predominantly contained fluvial point bar deposits with lesser tidal influence (V1 and V3) were higher. The results of this study highlight the link between shale heterogeneity, reservoir architecture, and inferred flow parameters.

You do not currently have access to this article.