M. Omer Baig1*, N. B. Harris2, H. Ahmed1 and M. O. A. Baig1

1 Pakistan Petroleum Limited, 3rd Floor, Exploration Department, Dr. Ziauddin Ahmed Road, Karachi, Pakistan.

2 Department of Earth & Atmospheric Sciences, University of Alberta, 116 St. and 85 Ave, Edmonton, AB, T6G 2R3, Canada.

3Centro de Geociencias, UNAM, Blvd. Juriquilla 3001, 76230 Querétaro, México.

* Corresponding author, email:

Sandstones in the Lower Cretaceous Lower Goru Formation in the Lower Indus Basin, Pakistan, are important reservoir rocks for oil, gas and gas-condensates. For this study, nine metres of core from depths of more than 3400m from well X-1 in the north-central part of the basin were analysed for major variations in porosity and permeability in two Lower Goru sandstone units referred to as the Basal and Massive Sands. The Lower Goru Basal Sand was deposited in lower shoreface to inner shelf settings at the well location, while the Massive Sand was deposited in a middle to lower shoreface setting. In both units, intervals with moderate to good (>15%) porosities alternate with intervals with very low porosity (<5%), and similar variations in core permeability were observed. In this paper, the reasons for this reservoir quality variation at well X-1 are investigated. Specifically, the study addresses the influence of different clay types on reservoir porosity and permeability within the Lower Goru sands and the distribution and impact of hard cements such as calcite and quartz. A range of petrographical data is integrated including thin sections, whole rock and clay XRD results and SEM images, which together provide some insights into the causes of reservoir quality variation and into the paragenetic relationships between the authigenic minerals.

Chlorite grain coats are present in the higher-porosity sandstones and are interpreted to have inhibited the formation of quartz overgrowths. Dissolution of feldspar and volcanic rock fragments in both the Basal and Massive Sands has contributed to an increase in overall porosity at well X-1. Relatively low porosity intervals in the Massive Sand are associated with the absence of chlorite grain coats and the presence of abundant quartz overgrowths. By contrast, low porosity intervals in the Basal Sand have undergone early poikilotopic calcite cementation.

The formation of authigenic illite resulted in a significant decrease in permeability in both the Basal and Massive Sands. Chlorite and kaolinite also reduced the permeability. The chlorite originated mainly from the dissolution of volcanic rock fragments or from precursor depositional berthierine clay. The transformation of K-feldspar to illite is suggested to be the main reaction responsible for the formation of both authigenic illite and quartz overgrowths in the two reservoir units; the observed pressure solution will also have contributed to development of quartz overgrowths.

Key words: Lower Goru Formation, Pakistan, Lower Indus Basin, Cretaceous, sandstone diagenesis, porosity, permeability, chlorite, illite, quartz cement.

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