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Partial dolomitization of a Pennsylvanian limestone buildup by hydrothermal fluids and its effect on reservoir quality and performance
Arthur H. Saller and John A. (Tony) D. Dickson

AUTHORS Arthur H. Saller  Chevron Energy Technology Company, 1400 Smith, Houston, Texas 77002; asaller@chevron.com Arthur H. Saller is a stratigrapher with Chevron Energy Technology Company in Houston, Texas. He has worked in the petroleum industry for 27 yr helping with exploration and production projects in west Texas, Canada, Angola, and Southeast Asia. He received his B.S. degree from the University of Kansas, M.S. degree from Stanford University, and Ph.D. from Louisiana State University (1984). John A. (Tony) D. Dickson  Department of Geological Sciences, University of Cambridge, Downing St., Cambridge, CB2 3EQ, United Kingdom; jadd1@esc.cam.ac.uk John A. (Tony) D. Dickson received his Ph.D. from Queen Mary College, London University in 1967. He has had academic positions in Cardiff, Nottingham, and Cambridge universities. He has worked on Smackover, Andrews, Horseshoe Atoll, Shuiaba, Tengiz, and other oil reservoirs. He retired from academia in 2007 and is now consulting and conducting courses in carbonate diagenesis. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS We thank many people who have helped us during this study, including Ariel Auffant, Scott Beaty, Ata Sagnak, David Katz, Kent Coggan, Chuck Rubins, Edward Van Reet, Stan Frost, Steve Robertson, Merle Steckel, Brian Ball, Joe Schwab, Skip Walden, Tom Elliott, Al Crawford, George Moore, John Gogas, Phil Johnston, Hiroshi Hagiwara, Shigeharu Mizohata, Tim Anderson, and Alan Stueber. We thank Dave Eby, Rick Major, Govert Buijs, and Stephen Laubach for reviews and helpful comments. We also thank Chevron for permission to publish this study. The AAPG Editor thanks the following reviewers for their work on this paper: Govert J. Buijs, David E. Eby, and R. P. Major.

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ABSTRACT Dolomite was studied in the Reinecke field in west Texas to determine its origin, reservoir characteristics, and effect on oil production. The Reinecke reservoir includes approximately 25% dolomite in an upper Pennsylvanian to lowest Permian limestone buildup. Dolomites are fine to coarsely crystalline with undulose extinction. Petrography indicates that dolomite formed diagenetically late. Dolomites overgrow stylolites, indicating precipitation during deep burial. Low d18O values are consistent with primary fluid inclusions that indicate dolomite precipitation or recrystallization at 92 to 118C. These temperatures are much higher than those in the existing reservoir or what should have been encountered during regional burial. Two types of dolomite are observed. One type is stratiform, replaced micrite-rich facies, and is interpreted as early dolomite that recrystallized in hydrothermal brines. The second type crosscuts stratigraphy and depositional facies and has vertically continuous morphologies that trend northwest-southeast. The latter dolomite is interpreted as forming in hydrothermal brines derived from latest Permian-aged highly evaporated seawater. These brines descended deep into the basin because of their greater density and then ascended because of heating and thermal convection. Reinecke dolomites have lower porosity but higher permeability than the surrounding limestones. As a result, dolomites provide raceways for fluids moving through the reservoir. These dolomites helped an artificially enhanced bottomwater drive to recover approximately 50% of the original oil in

Copyright 2011. The American Association of Petroleum Geologists. All rights reserved. Manuscript received July 11, 2010; provisional acceptance September 28, 2010; revised manuscript received January 9, 2011; final acceptance February 14, 2011. DOI:10.1306/02141110117

AAPG Bulletin, v. 95, no. 10 (October 2011), pp. 1745 1762

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place. The dolomite has complicated a crestal CO2 flood. These hydrothermal Reinecke dolomites have lower porosity but much higher permeability than most nearby Permian dolomites formed in evaporated seawater during shallow burial.

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INTRODUCTION Processes and implications of dolomitization have been controversial for decades. Interpretations of the environment for dolomitization have varied through the years, with reflux dolomitization (Adams and Rhodes, 1960) being commonly invoked in the 1960s, mixing zone dolomitization being commonly interpreted in the 1970s (Badiozamani, 1973; Land, 1973), and dolomitization by seawater being proposed in the 1980s (Saller, 1984; Land, 1985; Vahrenkamp et al., 1991). More recently, widespread dolomitization has again been ascribed to evaporated seawater (reflux; Lucia 1995; Saller, 2004; many others). Deeper burial and hydrothermal dolomitization have also been proposed by many workers from the late 1980s to the present (Churcher and Majid, 1989; Hurley and Budros, 1990; Packard et al., 1990; Mountjoy and HalimDihardja, 1991; Katz et al., 2006). Although some authors emphasize the proximity of hydrothermal dolomitization to faults (Davies and Smith, 2006), many reservoirs with hydrothermal dolomite are not near faults, and many unsuccessful wells have been drilled along faults (Saller and Yaremko, 1994; Saller et al., 2001). The purposes of this article are to document (1) a burial hydrothermal dolomite in the limestonerich Pennsylvanian of the Permian Basin; (2) the distribution of dolomite in a porous limestone reservoir at Reinecke Field (Figure 1); (3) that hydrothermal brines were probably derived from the latest Permian evaporated seawater associated with halite precipitation; (4) that the burial hydrothermal dolomite has distinctly higher permeability but lower porosity than the host limestone and most Permian dolomites in the basin; and (5) that this burial hydrothermal dolomite has very high lateral and vertical permeabilities, creating raceways for fluids moving through the reservoir.
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Figure 1. Maps showing the location of the Reinecke field on the Horseshoe atoll in west Texas and general late Pennsylvanian paleogeography.

METHODS This study incorporates fieldwide geologic, geophysical, and engineering data. Approximately 40 wells with wireline logs were used in and around the south dome of the Reinecke field (Figure 2), and seven of those wells were extensively cored (1240 ft [378 m] recovered). Routine porosity and permeability analyses were generally measured on full-diameter core samples. Porosity and permeability values and averages reported here are from core analyses. Two three-dimensional seismic surveys were acquired over the area. Production data from both original 40-ac wells and 20-ac infill wells were integrated into the reservoir model. Stable carbon and oxygen isotopic compositions of carbonates were determined by the Unocal

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5 4 Figure 2. Structure map of the top of the reservoir carbonate 3 at the Reinecke field made
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from three-dimensional seismic and well data. Wells, original contact between oil and water (green line), and south dome (yellow line) are shown. The contour interval is 20 ft (6 m). Cross section AA is a porosity model shown in Figure 3. Cross section BB shows the distribution of dolomite in Figure 6. The areas mapped in Figures 7 and 13 are shown.

Laboratory in Brea, California, and by Dorinda Ostermann at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute using standard methods. Samples for stable isotopic analyses included (1) bulk samples without white dolomite cements and (2) white dolomite cements separated with a small knife blade. Bulk samples were powdered with a mortar and pestle before analysis. Fluid inclusions were analyzed by Fluid Inclusion Technologies in Tulsa, Oklahoma, using a U.S. Geological Survey heating

and cooling stage using standard methods described in Goldstein and Reynolds (1994).

GEOLOGIC SETTING The Reinecke field is part of the Horseshoe atoll, a northward-opening arc of Pennsylvanian carbonate buildups (Figure 1). Horseshoe atoll oil fields have produced more than two billion bbl oil and have
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Figure 3. Cross section showing the distribution of porosity from a static reservoir model of carbonates in the south dome of the Reinecke field (S. Robertson, 1999, personal communication). Horizons 100, 200, 300, and 400 are sequence boundaries. See Figure 2 for location of section.

high permeability and high recovery efficiencies (commonly near 50% of original oil in place [OOIP] after water flooding) (Galloway et al., 1983). Fields on the eastern side of the Horseshoe atoll generally have stratified porosity separated by low-permeability layers. Reinecke and other fields on the southern and western sides of the Horseshoe atoll have vertical permeability pathways that allow the top of the reservoir to be in pressure communication with the underlying aquifer. The upper Pennsylvanian in the area is generally unfaulted. In the early Wolfcampian, the Reinecke carbonate buildup drowned and was covered by deepwater (basinal) carbonates, shales, and sandstones of the lower and middle Permian (Wolfcampian, Leonardian, Guadalupian), which provide the seal for this stratigraphic trap (Figures 2, 3) (Saller et al., 1999, 2004). The Midland Basin was filled in the late Permian and covered by salts of the uppermost Permian Salado Formation. An interval of red beds was deposited during the early Triassic, and a thin veneer of carbonates and sandstones was deposited
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in the area during the Cretaceous. Reinecke carbonates were probably filled with normal seawater from the early Wolfcampian (early Permian) to the Guadalupian (middle Permian). Stueber et al. (1998) documented that highly saline subsurface waters common in the Permian Basin (total dissolved solids of >200,000 ppm) were derived from evaporation of seawater during deposition of the uppermost Permian Salado Formation. Those high-salinity brines apparently displaced most of the formation water in Reinecke as well as many other parts of the Permian Basin in the latest Permian. That highly evaporitic water probably remained in Reinecke until oil filled the structure and displaced the brines. More recently, meteoric water has been entering the Permian Basin from outcrops surrounding the basin.

REINECKE FIELD GEOLOGY The reservoir at Reinecke field is mainly limestone (70%), with substantial dolomite (25%) and

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minor amounts (5%) of mixed limestone and dolomite. Shale is present in small amounts (<1%); however, it is locally important as vertical permeability barriers. Stratigraphy The stratigraphy of Reinecke field has been described by Saller et al. (1999, 2004). Most of the Reinecke reservoir is a part of the Cisco Group (Virgilian in age; based on fusulinids by Garner Wilde, 1997, personal communication) and contains three sequences bounded by subaerial exposure surfaces (horizons 100, 200, 300, 400; Figures 3, 4). Most of the porosity at Reinecke occurs in the strata below the top sequence boundary (100; Figure 3). Carbonates above sequence boundary 100 show no evidence of subaerial exposure and have little porosity (Figure 4). Nine carbonate depositional facies were observed (Table 1). All limestone facies, excluding mudstones, have average porosities of 9 to 13% (Table 1). Permeability is variable depending on pore types within the facies (Table 1) (Saller et al., 1999). Diagenesis Diagenetic features observed in thin sections of the upper Pennsylvanian carbonates have been described by Dickson and Saller (2006) and include (1) fibrous to prismatic calcite cement, (2) replacive micrite immediately below subaerial exposure surfaces, (3) pervasive dissolution and recrystallization of aragonitic grains, (4) dissolution of some calcitic grains, (5) cementation by finely crystalline equant calcite, (6) replacement by dolomite, (7) formation of vugs, (8) cementation by medium to coarsely crystalline blocky calcite cement, and (9) fractures. The tops of sequences also have lower d13C values, further supporting subaerial exposure at those surfaces (Figure 4). Fresh water probably caused mineralogic stabilization and cementation in thin intervals (12 m [3.36.6 ft] thick) below subaerial exposure surfaces and in thin paleofreshwater lenses. Much of the Reinecke buildup probably stabilized in a mixing zone during subaerial exposure instead of fresh (meteoric) water. Blocky

calcite cements overgrow all other diagenetic phases, suggesting that they precipitated late, during deeper burial.

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DESCRIPTION OF DOLOMITE Dolomite is generally replacive and fine to coarsely crystalline with an undulose extinction similar to saddle or baroque dolomite (Figure 5) (Radke and Mathis, 1980). Some dolomite crystals are relatively isolated and euhedral; others occur in joined groups of subhedral to anhedral crystals. Dolomite crystals fill molds of aragonite grains and have grown over fine pore-lining cements (Figure 5A). Replacive dolomites also overgrow stylolites (Figure 5B). Some nonferroan and ferroan calcite cements overgrow dolomite crystals. Vugs and fractures are present in the dolomite (Figure 5D). Dolomite cements grow over early calcite cements (Figure 5A). Distribution Dolomite occurs in all intervals of the upper Pennsylvanian (Cisco Group, Virgilian stage) and lowest Wolfcampian strata in the Reinecke reservoir (Figure 6). In wells with less than 30% dolomite, dolomite preferentially occurs in discrete stratigraphic intervals, commonly wackestones and packstones in the middle and lower parts of depositional cycles (Figure 6). In wells that are more pervasively dolomitized, vertically continuous dolomite cuts across stratigraphy (Figure 6). Dolomite also preferentially occurs along some northwest-southeast trends (Figure 7). Boundaries between dolomite and limestone tend to be relatively sharp (abrupt), with partially dolomitized rocks (1080% dolomite) being relatively minor. Fluid-Inclusion Analyses Four dolomite samples were analyzed for characteristics of fluid inclusions. Both petroleum and aqueous inclusions were found. A summary of results is presented in Table 2. Most analyzed fluid inclusions were interpreted to be primary, that is, fluids were trapped in the inclusion as the dolomite
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Figure 4. Graphic description of the Pennsylvanian part of the Reinecke reservoir in well 266 showing facies, lithology, porosity, permeability, and isotope profiles from core. See Figure 2 for location of the well.

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precipitated (W. Shentwu, 2008, personal communication). Homogenization temperatures (Th) of two-phase (liquid and gas) petroleum inclusions are 92 to 120C, which suggest temperatures of 92 to 120C when the inclusion formed (Wells Shentwu, 2008, personal communication).
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Most two-phase aqueous-gas inclusions have Th of 105 to 130C, which suggest temperatures of at least 105 to 130C when the inclusions formed. Freezing temperatures indicate inclusion with high salinities equivalent to 19 to 25% NaCl. No pressure correction has been applied to the results.

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Table 1. Porosity and Permeability of Limestone and Dolomite Facies, Reinecke Field Limestone Average Porosity (%) 9.3 12.3 11.8 12.0 11.2 11.2 12.9 10.5 1.4 11.2 Average Horizontal Permeability (md) 20.3 157.6 199.6 690.3 57.7 196.4 20.0 29.5 0.78 165 Average Vertical Permeability (md) 6.9 6.0 82.6 11.1 Average Porosity (%) 8.0 11.8 12.03 7.92 4.91 7.66 1.97 8.3 Dolomite Average Horizontal Permeability (md) 360.7 1780.8 140.8 848.4 3.81 846.7 1.51 894 Average Vertical Permeability (md) 322 30.9

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n* 0 11 12 2 0 104 9 103 5 320

Facies Ooid grainstone Bioclastic (crinoidal) grainstone Packstone Phylloid boundstone Bryozoa boundstone Phylloid wackestone-packstone Bryozoa wackestone Fossiliferous wackestone-packstone Mudstone Average of all facies

n* 25 148 61 87 21 164 13 145 5 856

85.0

12.1 0.01 11.0

1.9 0.01 334

*n = number of samples (one sample per foot).

Stable Isotope Geochemistry Reinecke dolomites have a fairly narrow range of stable carbon and oxygen isotopic values, with most d13C values between 1 and +3 (Peedee belemnite [PDB]) and most d18O values between 5.6 and 3 (PDB; Figure 8). The distribution of stable carbon isotopic compositions in the dolomites is very similar to that of limestones (Figures 4, 8A). The average d13C of bulk limestone samples is +1.03 (PDB; 201 samples), and the average d13C of bulk dolomite samples is +1.16 (PDB; 48 samples; Table 3). The d18O values of dolomites are distinctly lower than limestones (Figure 8A), with average bulk dolomite being 4.67 (PDB) and average bulk limestone being 3.00 (PDB). Replacive dolomite and dolomite cements have similar d13C and d18O values (Figure 8B).

INTERPRETATION OF DOLOMITE FORMATION Petrographic and geochemical data indicate that much of the Reinecke dolomite precipitated or

recrystallized late in the diagenetic history of the Reinecke reservoir rocks. Dolomite crystals fill molds and overgrow finely crystalline equant calcite cements (Figure 5A), suggesting that dolomite cements precipitated after meteoric diagenesis. Saddle dolomite is characteristic of dolomite precipitated at temperatures greater than 60C (Radke and Mathis, 1980). Some wells have vertically continuous dolomite within a mostly limestone buildup (Figure 6), suggesting vertically moving dolomitizing fluids. The relatively low d18O values for Reinecke dolomites are consistent with precipitation at high temperatures. If precipitated from the same waters as calcites, dolomite should have d18O values 3 to 3.8 higher than calcites (Land, 1985). The average d18O value of bulk rock dolomite analyses is less than the average d18O value of bulk rock limestone analyses. The average d18O value of dolomites is 4.7 (PDB), whereas the average of limestones is 3.0 (PDB). If precipitated from the same waters, the average dolomite would have precipitated at approximately 32C higher than the average limestone (using equations in Land, 1985; Friedman and ONeil, 1977).
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Figure 5. Thin-section photomicrographs and core photographs from the Reinecke wells. Thin sections were cut from samples impregnated with blue epoxy and stained with an alizarin red-S and potassium ferricynide solution, causing porosity to appear blue; iron-poor calcite is pink, and iron-rich calcite is purple (following the technique of Dickson, 1966). (A) Thin-section photomicrograph of a lime wackestone with a phylloid algal fragment (a) that was dissolved, and edges of moldic pore were lined with fine equant calcite cement (arrows). Part of the middle of that mold and the mold to right were filled with dolomite cement (d) (well 276, 6931.5 ft [2113 m]). (B) Fine to medium crystalline dolomite with a stylolite that dolomite crystals have overgrown and truncated (arrows) (well 277, 6778.2 ft [2066 m]). (C) Core slab of medium crystalline dolomite with moldic and large intercrystalline pores (porosity, 15.7%; horizontal permeability, 2542 md; vertical permeability, 1792 md; well 286, 6958 ft [2121 m]). (D) Dolomite with large vugs (V; well 277, 6973 ft [2125 m]). (E) Thin-section photomicrograph of a medium crystalline dolomite with intercrystalline porosity (porosity, 15.2%; permeability, 1642 md; well 277, 6977.3 ft [2127 m]). (F) Coarsely crystalline saddle dolomite cement with undulose extinction under cross-polarized light (well 266, 6975.3 ft [2126 m]). 1752 Dolomitization by Hydrothermal Fluids

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Figure 6. Cross section through the Reinecke south dome, showing the distribution of limestone and dolomite identified from neutrondensity logs in wells. See Figure 2 for location of BB.

As Stueber et al. (1998) showed, highly saline brines (total dissolved solids, 250,000 ppm) are common in the Permian Basin and have d18O values of +5 to +6 (standard mean ocean water; Stueber et al., 1998). If precipitated from those highly saline waters, the Reinecke dolomites (d18O of 3 to 5.5 PDB) would have precipitated at temperatures of 84 to 118C (Land, 1985) similar to temperatures of primary fluid inclusions in the dolomites (92130C). The fluid inclusions in the dolomite are highly saline, supporting dolomite precipitation or recrystallization in the highly evaporitic waters. Fluid inclusions and stable oxygen isotope data support dolomitization by waters at 90 to 120C, which is substantially hotter than the present reservoir or temperature that adjacent strata should have encountered during regional burial. At the time of discovery (1950), the temperature of the Reinecke reservoir was approximately 60C; therefore, temperatures of dolomite precipitation, replacement, or reequilibration are substantially above

the initial reservoir temperature. Vitrinite reflectance (Ro) analyses of Pennsylvanian strata in the area at burial depths similar to Reinecke (6500 7000 ft [19802130 m]) indicate Ro values of 0.5 to 0.6% (Pawlewicz et al., 2005). Tobin and Claxton (2000) suggested that Ro values of 0.5 to 0.6% correspond to fluid-inclusion homogenization temperatures (Th) of 55 to 60C, implying a maximum regional burial temperature similar to the temperature of Reinecke field at the time of discovery. The presence of many petroleum inclusions suggests that the dolomites formed or recrystallized after oil had moved into the Reinecke reservoir. Two features support an early generation of dolomite. First, much of the dolomite preferentially occurs in specific stratigraphic intervals including an interval 1 to 20 ft (0.3 to 6 m) above Cisco horizon 300, and 1 to 20 ft (0.3 to 6 m) above Cisco horizon 400 (Figure 6). Preferential dolomitization of certain stratigraphic intervals is consistent with early dolomitization, where dolomitization might be controlled by (1) original depositional mineralogy
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Table 2. Fluid-Inclusion Results from the Reinecke Well 266* Depth (ft) 6877.2 6879.4 6884.1 6886.2 Th** (C) (oil) 99107 9294 9298 105120 Th** (C) (aq) 106127 106120 115130 103165 Salinity (wt. %) from Tm (aq) 18.924.9 19.925.1 20.724.3 19.824.3

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*Multiple inclusions (510) were analyzed from each sample. **Th = homogenization temperature of two-phase fluid inclusions determined during heating. Tm = melting temperature of fluid inclusions determined by cooling and then heating; aq = aqueous.

Figure 7. Maps from the static reservoir model showing the distribution of dolomite (pink) and limestone (blue) at slices through the Reinecke reservoir. Dolomite occurs along northwestsoutheast trends in each. Distribution of limestone and dolomite is from wells (black dots). (A) Slice through upper part of reservoir (between horizons 100 and 200). (B) Slice through middle part of reservoir (between horizons 200 and 300). (C) Slice through middle part of reservoir (between horizons 300 and 400) (from S. Beaty and A. Auffant, 2009, personal communication). 1754 Dolomitization by Hydrothermal Fluids

Figure 8. Stable carbon and oxygen isotope compositions of carbonate samples from the Reinecke field. (A) Bulk samples of limestone, dolomitic limestone, and dolomite. Dolomites have d13C values similar to limestones but substantially lower d18O values than limestone, suggesting precipitation at higher temperatures. Limestones above sequence boundary 100 have high d13C and d18O values, suggesting no contact with fresh water associated with subaerial exposure. (B) Comparison of replacive dolomite and dolomite cement. Note that they have similar overlapping compositions.

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Table 3. Average Stable Isotopic Compositions of Limestones and Dolomite by Stratigraphic Interval at the Reinecke Field Limestone Interval Above 100 100 200 300 400 All n* 13 58 69 66 25 231 d13C (, PDB) 1.19 0.89 1.09 1.19 1.24 1.09 d18O (, PDB) 2.20 2.79 2.80 3.26 3.61 2.98 n 7 22 17 2 48 Dolomite d13C (, PDB) 0.50 1.32 1.18 1.47 1.16 d18O (, PDB) 4.66 4.68 4.63 4.93 4.67

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*n = number of samples analyzed.

(i.e., more high-magnesium calcite) in a depositional layer or (2) by near-surface diagenetic environments that are horizontally oriented, in contrast to burial fluids moving vertically. Second, the stratiform dolomites preferentially occur in micriterich facies (wackestones-packstones) and internal sediments in some boundstones. Dolomitization of Reinecke grainstones was only observed in wells with relatively pervasive dolomitization of the entire carbonate section. Burial and hydrothermal fluids in other areas commonly preferentially dolomitize grainstones (Saller et al., 2001; Davies and Smith, 2006). These features support a generation of early near-surface dolomitization, probably in seawater at Reinecke. Preferential dolomitization of micritic carbonates near maximum flood surfaces has been observed in Pleistocene reefal buildups in Indonesia, in strata that have apparently only been in marine and fresh water (Saller et al., 2010) and in the Mississippian Madison Limestone (Katz et al., 2006).

MODEL FOR HYDROTHERMAL DOLOMITIZATION Our model for hydrothermal dolomitization at Reinecke involves basin-scale thermal convection with latest Permian water (Figure 9). The high density of brines derived from extreme evaporation of seawater during the latest Permian (Stueber et al., 1998) caused the waters to descend to the

deepest parts of the Permian Basin (Figure 9). The saline Permian brines would have been heated in the deep Midland Basin. Existing temperatures in the Ordovician Ellenburger Group at approximately 13,000 ft (3962 m) in the Midland Basin are approximately 100C (Galloway et al., 1983). Late Paleozoic temperatures were probably similar or higher. The elevated temperatures could have caused saline brines to ascend and ultimately flow into Pennsylvanian carbonates, resulting in a thermal convection system (Figure 9). Similar basin-scale thermal convection has been invoked by Morrow (1998) and Morrow and Aulstead (2004) to explain hydrothermal dolomitization in the Alberta Basin. The exact path that the hydrothermal fluids followed is not known, although some general flow directions are likely. Hot saline brines supersaturated with dolomite could have moved through fractured Ellenburger dolomites from the deepest parts of the basin to the Ellenburger at shallower depths. At some locations, the hot saline brines cut through deeper Pennsylvanian carbonates probably via fractures before reaching the Pennsylvanian Reinecke buildup (Figure 9). Dolomites can fracture at very low strains (Olson et al., 2009), and small fractures can substantially enhance flow (Philip et al., 2005), allowing the hydrothermal fluids to move through Ellenburger and middle Paleozoic carbonates before ultimately reaching the Reinecke buildup. Other studies have shown that fractures can remain permeable even when brines moving through them precipitate dolomite cements and partially fill the fractures (Gale et al., 2010).
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Figure 9. Model for thermal convection and hydrothermal dolomitization in the Midland Basin during the latest Permian. Hypersaline brines formed by intense evaporation of seawater during precipitation of Salado salts. Dense brines (arrows) percolated down and displaced fluids throughout the Central Basin platform and Midland Basin ultimately reaching the Ordovician Ellenburger dolomites in the deepest part of the Midland Basin. The deep hypersaline brines were heated and ascended initially through the Ellenburger. These hydrothermal brines then cut across stratigraphy and entered the Reinecke reservoir, where they were responsible for late dolomitization. The figure is modified from figure 2 of Saller (2004); used with permission of the Geological Society (London).

DISCUSSION Burial and hydrothermal dolomitization are documented in many areas and in many ages of strata (Hurley and Budros, 1990; Davies and Smith, 2006; Katz et al., 2006). Hot burial fluids commonly flow through and recrystallize preexisting faciesselective stratiform dolomites (Gregg and Shelton, 1990; Kupecz and Land, 1994; Montaez, 1994; Saller and Yaremko, 1994; Saller et al., 2001; Swart et al., 2005). High-permeability and vertical fluid flow are common in reservoirs with dolomites formed during deep burial, commonly by hydrothermal fluids because the dolomites are generally coarsely crystalline and commonly have open fractures and vugs (e.g., dolomites in the Wabamun Group of the Peace River arch, Alberta, Canada; Mountjoy and Halim-Dihardja, 1991; Saller and Yaremko, 1994). Deep burial and hydrothermal dolomites commonly increase the transmissivity and production of reservoirs with thick hydrocarbon columns but can greatly decrease recovery
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in reservoirs with thin oil or gas columns because of water coning. Faults are commonly considered critical for hydrothermal dolomitization (Lavoie et al., 2005; Davies and Smith, 2006; Katz et al., 2006); however, the hydrothermal fluids responsible for Reinecke dolomitization are apparently not related to faulting. The preferential northwest-southeast orientation of the dolomite bodies could be related to tectonic fracture systems. Deep burial and hydrothermal dolomites commonly occur in basins with evaporites (Devonian western Alberta Basin, Michigan Basin) (Hurley and Budros, 1990; Davies and Smith, 2006). Formation waters and fluid inclusions in other hydrothermal dolomites indicate that highly saline brines (150,000200,000 ppm) are associated with hydrothermal dolomite (Hitchon et al., 1971; Gasparrini et al., 2006; Katz et al., 2006). Most of these waters also probably formed during precipitation of salt beds. These brines could circulate via thermal convection during evaporite deposition (Shields and

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Figure 10. Plot of porosity versus horizontal permeability for Reinecke limestones and dolomites in the south dome from core data. The dolomites generally have lower porosity and higher permeability.

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Brady, 1995) or could have been stored in porous sands under the evaporites, and then heated and expelled vertically during increased burial and compaction.

COMPARISON OF REINECKE DOLOMITES WITH REINECKE LIMESTONES AND PERMIAN DOLOMITES The Reinecke reservoir is dominated by porous limestone with moderate permeability. Reinecke limestones have an average porosity of 11.2% and an average horizontal permeability of 166 md (Table 1). Reinecke dolomites have lower porosity (average, 8.3%) but much higher horizontal permeability (average, 894 md) (Figure 10). The effect on vertical permeability is even more extreme, with an average vertical permeability in limestones of 11 md and an average vertical permeability in dolomites of 334 md. The reason for dolomites having lower porosity than limestones is not obvious. High permeability in the dolomite is related to vugs, fractures, and coarse crystalline dolomite, causing larger intercrystalline pores. In

summary, the dolomitization process at Reinecke apparently reduced porosity by an average of approximately 3% but increased average horizontal permeability by more than five times and vertical permeability by 30 times. As a result, Reinecke dolomites act as vertical and horizontal raceways for fluids moving through the reservoir. Much of the Permian Basins oil production is from Permian dolomites (Dutton et al., 2005). As Lucia (1995) showed, dolomite permeability is commonly related to crystal size, with coarser crystalline dolomites having higher permeability. Permian dolomites in the Permian Basin are generally medium to very finely crystalline and matrix porosity commonly dominates (e.g., Lucia, 1995; Saller and Henderson, 1998). Most Permian dolomite reservoirs have an average permeability of less than 70 md, with many less than 10 md (Galloway et al., 1983; Saller, 2004), although average porosities are generally 7 to 15%. Dolomites in the Reinecke field have porosity that is similar to or lower than many Permian dolomites, but average permeability is 894 md, which is much higher than most Permian dolomites because of the coarser crystalline nature of the Reinecke dolomite, as well as vugs and fractures.
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Figure 11. Schematic model of production history at the Reinecke field. (A) Start of Reinecke production in 1950 when oil (dark green) filled buildup. (B) By 1995, bottom water (primary and injected) had displaced much of the mobile oil into wells at the top of the structure. Only residual (light green) and minor amounts of mobile oil (dark green) remained. (C) Model for crestal CO2 flood, where CO2 (pink) is injected into the top of the south dome, displacing mobile and residual oil down into an oil bank (dark green) that is recovered by wells.

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EFFECT OF DOLOMITE ON RESERVOIR PERFORMANCE The Reinecke field was discovered in 1950 (Figure 1) (Crawford et al., 1984). The Reinecke field includes approximately 2720 ac (4.25 mi2 [11 km2]), although most of the oil production has come from a small part of the field called the south dome (640 ac; 1 mi2 [2.6 km2]) (Figure 2). The history of primary and secondary recovery is summarized in Saller et al. (1999, 2004). Primary, secondary, and infill production produced approximately 82 million bbl oil at Reinecke, with a recovery efficiency of approximately 50 to 55% (Galloway et al., 1983). The high recovery efficiency was related to water injected into the underlying aquifer, allowing an artificially enhanced bottom-water drive (Figure 11A, B) (Saller et al., 1999, 2004). Dolomites contributed to the vertical permeability of the reservoir. In the south dome, 46 million bbl oil were produced before CO2 injection.
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A crestal CO2 flood of the south dome was initiated in 1998 to recover residual oil and reverse the decline in oil production (Figure 11C). Most original wells penetrated only the uppermost part of the reservoir to prevent coning. In preparation for the CO2 flood, many wells were deepened and some perched oil was produced below a thin shale immediately above an exposure surface (Figure 12). Five wells served as CO2 injectors in the south dome, injecting into the top of the reservoir. Water injection into the underlying aquifer was continued during the CO2 flood to maintain formation pressure. Carbon dioxide was supposed to push residual oil down, forming an oil bank with production from perforations associated with a sliding sleeve moving down with the oil bank (Figure 11C). More than 2 million bbl have been produced from the crestal CO2 flood (Figure 12), although the CO2 sweep has not been uniform as modeled. Some south dome wells have produced almost 300,000 bbl oil because of CO2 injection; whereas

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Figure 12. Oil production history after deepening wells and start of CO2 injection in January 1998.

other wells in the same area produced less than 50,000 bbl oil during CO2 injection (Figure 13). Variations are apparently caused by (1) discontinuous shales above exposure surfaces acting as local vertical permeability barriers and (2) the high-permeability dolomites acting as permeability raceways. Significant CO2 has been produced from wells northwest of the south dome that are separated from CO2 injectors in the south dome by a structural saddle (Figure 13). The CO2 must have moved between several producers, under the saddle, and into the northwest part of the field (Figure 13). That CO2 is thought to have moved via southeast-northwestoriented hydrothermal dolomites.

2.

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5. CONCLUSIONS Data acquired in this study support several conclusions regarding the origins and effects of dolomite in the Reinecke field. 6. 1. Although some early dolomite was present, the dominantly limestone reservoir at the Reinecke

field has been greatly altered by hydrothermal dolomitization. Hydrothermal fluids were probably derived from highly evaporated seawater that formed when Salado salts precipitated at the surface in the latest Permian. These dense brines apparently descended deeply into the basin where they were heated, and then they ascended, moving into the Reinecke reservoir, where they recrystallized an early generation of dolomite and formed additional dolomite. The hydrothermal dolomites are medium to coarsely crystalline with vugs and fractures resulting in dolomites that have lower porosity but higher permeability than surrounding Pennsylvanian limestones. The reservoir is not apparently faulted, so the dolomitizing fluids did not follow faults through the reservoir. The dolomites that crosscut stratigraphy have a southeast-northwest orientation that is probably related to fractures with that orientation. The hydrothermal dolomite bodies created vertical and lateral raceways that helped in the very efficient, artificially enhanced bottom-water drive
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Figure 13. Map of oil production caused by CO2 flood showing substantial well-to-well variations (from A. Auffant, 2008, personal communication). Contour map is the top Reinecke reservoir from Figure 2. Red dots indicate CO2 injection wells.

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for the reservoir. Dolomite raceways are causing heterogeneous oil and CO2 production in the current crestal CO2 flood.

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