Porosity in sandstones of the Kekiktuk Formation was successfully estimated prior to drilling of the 1 Leffingwell wildcat well (North Slope of Alaska). The estimate was based on a calibration dataset used to evaluate the effects of (1) framework grain composition, (2) depositional facies, and (3) postdepositional processes on porosity of Kekiktuk sandstones.

The sandstones of the Kekiktuk Formation are chert-bearing sublitharenites and quartzarenites characterized by a homogeneous composition of the detrital framework in the study area. Thus, mineral composition is not a major factor responsible for differences in reservoir quality.

Based on outcrop and available core observations, the Kekiktuk Formation was interpreted to include several wet fan-deltas. The depositional model suggested that the 1 Leffingwell well would penetrate the distal, fine-grained facies of one such system.

A petrographic study indicated that in fine-and very fine-grained Kekiktuk sandstones, such as those predicted in the wildcat, porosity was reduced primarily by silica cementation. Silica cementation, in turn, is related to burial history. Because of the relationship among porosity, silica cementation, and burial history, burial history diagrams provided a measure of the effect of burial history on porosity in available calibration wells.

A synthetic burial history curve was constructed prior to drilling of the 1 Leffingwell well from available seismic data. This burial history curve was then used to estimate the well’s porosity based on the previously established porosity–burial history relationship.

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