Importance of Shales and Mudrocks in Oil and Gas Exploration and Reservoir Development
Roger M. Slatt, 2003. "Importance of Shales and Mudrocks in Oil and Gas Exploration and Reservoir Development", Siltstones, Mudstones and Shales: Depositional Processes and Characteristics, Erik D. Scott, Arnold H. Bouma, William R. Bryant
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Shales and mudrocks are important to all aspects of hydrocarbon exploration and production. They commonly form source and seal rocks, and in some areas they are important reservoir rocks. In reservoir development, they may control production performance by compartmentalizing or baffling reservoir sandstones. Often, significant shales are beneath seismic resolution or detection limits, so their significance is unrecognized during early field development. Shale stochastic modeling is a useful technique for predicting production performance in reservoirs where shales and mudrocks are present. Future research should be directed toward (1) understanding why shales and mudrocks vary in their capacity to seal or compartmentalize strata, (2) developing recognition criteria to differentiate various shale types, and (3) enhancing their detection on seismic reflection records.
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Siltstones, mudstones and shales have been studied mainly with regard to clay mineralogy and general transport-deposition. Recent studies on deepwater deposits from cores and outcrops have shown that fluid flow properties of deepwater reservoirs are greatly affected by the presence of finer-grained deposits in the reservoir. Initial analysis indicates that the majority of these finer grained deposits have a large silt component and are closer to siltstones rather than mudstones, commonly called shales To date, little attention has been given to their characteristics resulting from different depositional processes.