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Reservoirs at Pony-Knotty Head Field consist of stacked, middle Miocene (Serravallian) turbidites deposited as high-frequency low-stand successions within an increasingly ponded basin. Depositional elements include: (1) high to moderate permeability channel axes, channel margins, channelized lobes, and amalgamated lobes; and (2) those having low-permeability, such as marginal to distal lobes, levee-overbank debrites, slumped mudsheterolithics, and pelagic/hemipelagic muds. Fluid pressure data demonstrate that the Pony-Knotty Head Field is segmented into pressure compartments at multiple scales.

Although the field is a low-dip, faulted, four-way turtle structure, interpreted faults are neither long enough nor have sufficient throw to segment reservoirs into observed pressure cells. Analyses of individual reservoir units indicate that variations in fluid potential are often greater vertically within wells than laterally between wells. This pattern indicates that at least some segmentation at this scale is due to low-dip stratigraphic barriers between depositional elements rather than to steeply dipping barriers, such as faults.

At the field scale, both fluid pressures and depositional elements change vertically. Excess pressure was used to help define compartments at Pony-Knotty Head Field. (“Excess pressure” is the difference between pressure measured in a well and pressure calculated using a datum with an expected fluid gradient.) The deepest reservoirs have the lowest excess pressures. They are dominated by laterally continuous, unconfined depositional elements that bled excess pressure laterally. Progressively shallower reservoirs have progressively higher excess pressures in progressively more confined depositional elements. Between reservoirs of different depths and ages, stratigraphic complexity increased with time as increasing structural confinement of the depocenter above mobile salt drove stratigraphic evolution from a lobe-dominated system to a channelized lobe and levee-channel complex system. We propose that compartmentalization at this scale results directly from stratigraphic responses to the structural evolution of depocenters.

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