Abstract

Oil emplacement retarded the rate of quartz cementation in the Brae Formation deep-water sandstone reservoirs of the Miller and Kingfisher fields (United Kingdom North Sea), thus preserving porosity despite the rocks' being buried to depths of 4 km and 120°C. Quartz precipitation rates were reduced by at least two orders of magnitude in the oil legs relative to the water legs. Important contrasts in quartz cement abundances and porosities have emerged between the oil and water legs where reservoirs have filled with hydrocarbons gradually over a prolonged period of time (>15 m.y.). The earlier the hydrocarbon fill, the greater is the degree of porosity preservation. Failure to consider this phenomenon during field development could lead to overestimation of porosity and permeability in the water leg, potentially leading in turn to poor decisions about the need for and placement of downflank water injectors. During exploration, the retarding effect of oil on quartz cementation could lead to the presence of viable reservoirs situated deeper than the perceived regional economic basement.

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