B.  Al-Qayim*

* Department of Geology, Sulaimaniah University, Sulaimaniah, Iraq.  email:

Bioturbated chalky limestones of the Khasib Formation (Upper Turonian – Lower Coniacian) form potential reservoir rocks at oilfields and structures in central Iraq. Core and cuttings samples and wire-line logs from wells in the East Baghdad, Balad, Samarra and Tikrit fields (wells EB-77, EB-57, Ba-1, Ba-2, Sr-1, Sr-2, and Ti-1) were used to investigate microfacies types and porosity evolution. Facies modelling was applied to predict the relationship between facies distribution and reservoir characteristics to construct a predictive geologic model which will assist future exploration in central Iraq.

Microfacies analysis and electrofacies identification and correlations indicate that the limestones of the Khasib Formation were deposited in a ramp setting. The ramp developed over the distal margin of the Upper Cretaceous proforeland basin, adjacent to the evolved forebulge. Inner ramp facies are characterized by carbonate bank bioclastic packstones intercalated with lagoonal green shales. Middle ramp facies dominate the Khasib Formation and consist of bioturbated, chalky, dolomitic and bioclastic limestones. Bioclasts include benthic and planktonic foraminifera. Intense Thalassinoides and less common Palaeophycus bioturbation has enhanced the porosity of this facies. Outer ramp deposits consist of alternating mid-ramp bioturbated bioclastic chalky limestones and argillaceous and marly limestones. The latter contain basinal bioclasts including planktonic foraminifera, oligosteginids, dwarf rotaliids, and sponge spicules.

Sequence stratigraphic analyses of the Khasib Formation indicate that it represents a third-order depositional cycle.  At the base is a type 1 sequence boundary which separates it from the underlying LST deposits of the Kifl Formation. Shaly and argillaceous limestones in the lower part of the Khasib Formation represent the early TST. These are overlain by a thick, deepening-upwards succession of outer ramp facies. The maximum flooding surface is represented by a thin and extensive horizon of Oligosteginal limestones with Palaeophycus bioturbation. HST deposits are represented by aggradational build-ups of bioturbated chalky dolomitic limestones, followed by progradational late HST shales and limestones. The boundary with the overlying Tanuma Formation is a type 2 sequence boundary. Bioclastic packstones and intensively bioturbated (Thalassinoides) bioclastic limestones of the mid-outer ramp are the primary source of  fabric-selective porosity which is greatly enhanced by diagenetic overprints. These two units constitute the prime target for future exploration in central Iraq.

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