The Manatokan Field in east-central Alberta offers a unique opportunity to characterize paralic sandstone reservoirs in 3D using a dense network of well data (approximately 3wells/km2). Within the 400km2 study area, the 100-m thick Lower Cretaceous Grand Rapids Formation is dominantly composed of sediment deposited in two depositional environments: river-dominated deltas and marine-influenced fluvial rivers. Up to 33 individual fluvial bodies, occurring at five stratigraphic levels and eroding into deltaic parasequences, are identified in the oil-charged upper part of the formation. The width and thickness of fluvial bodies typically range from 50 to 9000 m and from 5 to 50 m, respectively. Examination of cores, wireline logs, and strategically located 3D seismic data indicates that fluvial bodies are dominantly filled by inclined heterolithic deposits emplaced as downflow translation point bars (PBs) separated by mud-filled abandoned channels. Although individual PBs are relatively small (10km2), the dense subsurface data set provides the means to build facies maps that illustrate their internal architecture and the distribution of reservoir heterogeneities. Reservoir-quality sandstone occurs on the upstream portion of PBs and usually forms continuous beds along the base of fluvial bodies that extend underneath abandoned channel deposits. High reservoir connectivity along the base of these heterolithic fluvial bodies constitutes a major advantage for heavy oil reservoir production driven by gravity. Core evidences also indicate potential communication between fluvial bodies and surrounding deltaic sandstones or older underlying fluvial reservoirs, which may lead to unexpected results during field development. The Grand Rapids Formation provides a good subsurface analogue of complex marginal-marine clastic reservoirs, and its study may help to explain unanticipated production results in similar hydrocarbon areas.

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