In the Iranian Persian Gulf several fields have been producing oil from Middle Cretaceous carbonates. Geological studies of these fields (limited to industry reports) describe the subsurface using lithostratigraphic principles. Lithological boundaries are obvious and are the focus for the correlation of the interwell areas. Most of the structural highs, which were easily found, have been drilled. The lack of a sufficiently detailed seismic sequence stratigraphic analysis has precluded the definition of reliable models at both regional and field scales.

The development of many oil and gas fields requires seismic sequence stratigraphy as a predictive technique, particularly in areas between drilled structures. This study aims to re-evaluate the field-scale stratigraphy in an oil field in the southern Persian Gulf using these techniques. The high quality seismic and well data from this field form one of the first datasets of this kind presented in the literature. High-resolution seismic data reveal the internal complexity of carbonates. The Cenomanian carbonate systems of the southeastern Persian Gulf reveal internal architecture and subsurface variability that neither seismic nor well data alone can provide. This paper analyses the seismic character of the Cenomanian Khatiyah and Mishrif formations and discusses how, even after more than 25 years of production, application of sequence stratigraphic principles can improve the understanding of an oil field. For this oil field, the combination of seismic, wireline logs and biostratigraphy has allowed a better understanding of the internal heterogeneity of the Mishrif reservoir. Understanding the successive stages of drowning and back-stepping of a carbonate platform within this reservoir unit has important implications for well planning and further reservoir development.

Important new information on the depositional geometries has also been obtained from within the Khatiyah Formation (the regional source rock) which leads to exploration targets in the interwell area. This information gives new insights as to the stratigraphic distribution and internal variability of the carbonate platforms and isolated build-up geometries. The insights gained are important to the estimation of reservoir volume, connectivity and variability.

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