A Reservoir-scale Miocene Injectite near Santa Cruz, California
Published:January 01, 2007
Brian J. Thompson, J.Casey Moore, Robert E. Garrison, 2007. "A Reservoir-scale Miocene Injectite near Santa Cruz, California", Sand Injectites: Implications for Hydrocarbon Exploration and Production, Andrew Hurst, Joseph Cartwright
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The Yellow Bank creek complex (YBCC) is a large, upper Miocene injectite complex, one of numerous injectites northwest of Santa Cruz, California. The feeder for these injectites is the Santa Margarita Sandstone, a shelfal sandstone unit that is also the reservoir rock in several exhumed oil fields. The impermeable cap rock for these oil fields, the Santa Cruz Mudstone, was breached by sand injectites, some of which reached the sea floor. Located near the edge of one of these oil fields, the YBCC is a dike-sill complex that shows evidence for multiple phases of injection by fluidized sand that was initially gas or water saturated and later possibly oil bearing. Vertical injection of a large sand dike along a fracture was followed by lateral injection of a sill from the dike along bedding planes in the Santa Cruz Mudstone. Flow differentiation during injection of fluidized sand into the sill formed centimeter-scale layering in its lower part. Subsequent emplacement of oil into this sand may have occurred by injection and by seepage that displaced pore water, producing sand masses that became preferentially cemented by dolomite. Some evidence suggests that the injection and cementation occurred at relatively shallow burial depths beneath the sea floor, with the injection resulting from a combination of possible seismic shaking and migration of overpressured fluids from more deeply buried parts of the Santa Margarita Sandstone. A pervasive lamination marked by limonite staining developed following uplift and subaerial exposure of the complex, possibly in a groundwater environment.
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Sand Injectites: Implications for Hydrocarbon Exploration and Production
Sand injectites are described in scientific literature as an increasingly common occurrence in hydrocarbon reservoirs, in particular in deep-water clastic systems, where they are known to influence reserves distribution and recovery. Seismically-detectable injected sand bodies constitute targets for exploration and development wells and, subseismic sand bodies provide excellent intra-reservoir flow units that create field-wide vertical communication through depositionally extensive, low-permeability units. As sand injectites form permeable conduits in otherwise low-permeability units they facilitate the expulsion of basinal fluids; hence they act both as a seal risk and mitigate timing and rate of hydrocarbon migration. Injected sand bodies form intrusive traps, which are distinct from structural or stratigraphic traps. Included in this publication are 10 chapters on subsurface examination of sand injectites, 1 chapter on theoretical considerations, and 13 outcrop analogs in reservoirs across the world. Captured in this volume is at least a taste of the global and stratigraphic distribution of sand injectites, and an attempt to introduce readers to sand injectites and their significance in the context of hydrocarbon exploration and production. The book is not intended as a complete review of the field-based literature, but emphasizes high quality case studies from the surface and subsurface. The geographic scope of the book is large, and illustrates the diversity of geological settings in which these fascinating and economically significant features are found.