AN INTEGRATED STUDY OF DIAGENESIS AND DEPOSITIONAL FACIES IN TIDAL SANDSTONES: HAWAZ FORMATION (MIDDLE ORDOVICIAN), MURZUQ BASIN, LIBYA

A. Abouessa1 and S. Morad2*

1 Libyan Petroleum Institute, PO Box 6431, Tripoli, Libya.

2 Department of Petroleum Geosciences, The Petroleum Institute, PO Box 2533, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

*Corresponding author: smorad@pi.ac.ae

Studies of the impact of diagenesis on reservoir quality in tidal sandstones can be of great importance in successful hydrocarbon exploration. The study reported here shows that diagenetic alterations and bioturbation have induced considerable deterioration and heterogeneity in the reservoir quality of the sand-dominated tidal deposits of the Middle Ordovician Hawaz Formation in the Muruq Basin, Libya. Comparison is made between the diagenetic evolution of samples from the subsurface (present-day depth 1500 m) and from surface outcrops in order to study the impact of burial and uplift on the spatial and temporal distribution of reservoir quality in the Hawaz Formation sandstones.

Eogenetic alterations, which were mediated by meteoric water circulation, included kaolinitization and dissolution of framework silicates and mechanical compaction. Mesogenetic alterations (T > 70C; depth > 2 km) included pressure dissolution of quartz grains and concomitant quartz cementation, conversion of kaolinite into dickite, illitization of kaolinite and of grain-coating clays, and the precipitation of Mg-rich siderite cement. Reduction of intergranular porosity was due more to compaction than to cementation, yet quartz overgrowths are up to 16% in some of the sandstones. Bioturbation has resulted in a greater reduction in sandstone permeability in the lower part of the formation than the upper part. A higher ratio of dickite to kaolinite in subsurface samples than in outcrop samples is attributed to the longer residence time of the former sandstones under mesogenetic conditions. Telodiagenesis has not resulted in enhancement of reservoir quality of the Hawaz Formation Sandstones but in pseudomorphic calcitization of siderite and oxidation of pyrite to goethite.

This study shows that the reservoir-quality evolution of tidal sandstones can best be elucidated when linked to depositional facies and distribution of diagenetic alterations.

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