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Marine and
Petroleum Geology
ELSEVIER Marine and PetroleumGeology 16 (1999) 337-353

Diagenesis in North Sea HPHT clastic reservoirs consequences

for porosity and overpressure prediction
Mark J. Osborne*], Richard E. Swarbrick
Department of Geological Sciences, South Rd., Durham University, Durham, DHI 3LE, U.K.

Received 1 August 1997; receivedin revisedform 2 June 1998;accepted26 June 1998


Upper Jurassic clastic reservoirs of the Fulmar formation in the Central North Sea possess anomalously high porosities for their
present day depth of burial. Reservoirs with the highest overpressures have the highest porosities, possess less macroquartz cement,
and have significant secondary porosity. Quartz cementation in HPHT (High Pressure High Temperature) reservoirs has been
inhibited by a combination of factors: high overpressure, limited fluid movement, presence of early grain coating cements, high pore
fluid salinity, and possibly petroleum migration. Secondary porosity has contributed to reservoir quality, with an average of 4vo1%
extra porosity created. Quantitative prediction of porosity would require an improved depositional model for the Fulmar, accurate
thermal and pressure modelling, and detailed knowledge of field filling and leakage histories. Theoretical calculations indicate that
diagenetic reactions occurring in the Fulmar formation (smectite iUitisation and quartz cementation), did not generate significant
overpressure, because seal permeabilities were too high and the rate of volume increase associated with the reactions too small.
Therefore diagenetic reactions can effectively be ignored when modelling overpressure generation in the Central North Sea, although
cementation will affect rock permeability and rates of fluid dissipation. © 1999 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Overpressure;Diagenesis; Fulmar formation; Porosity

1. Introduction H P H T areas, and it is important for economic reasons

that reservoir quality should be accurately assessed prior
Upper Jurassic Fulmar formation clastic reservoirs in to drilling. Hence this paper attempts to address the ori-
the U K Central North Sea and laterally equivalent res- gins of high porosity in High Pressure High Temperature
ervoirs in the Norwegian North sea, have variable and (HPHT) Fulmar formation reservoirs.
often anomalously high porosity for their present day Diagenetic mineral reactions have been widely credited
depth of burial (Fig. 1). For example, at depths of 4.0- with generating overpressure in sedimentary basins.
6.0 km, average helium porosities for clean, well sorted, Growth of cement in the pores of a sediment will generate
fine-medium grained Fulmar formation reservoir sand- overpressure if there is a net reduction in pore volume
stones typically vary between 20-30%, whereas expected and the fluid cannot escape from the rock due to lateral
values for clean, well sorted, quartz cemented clastic res- and vertical seals. For this mechanism to be effective,
ervoirs in the North Sea might be 10-15% (Giles et al., cementation must not be inhibited by overpressure, the
1992; Sclater & Christie, 1980). Such unusually high ions for cementation must be locally sourced, and the
porosities are obviously good news for explorationists, seals must have very low permeability. Bjorkum and
but caution is required as porosities are not ubiquitously Nadeau (1996) have suggested that quartz cementation
high, because in a few wells, average Fulmar formation is a source of overpressure in deeply buried clastic res-
porosities were found to be only 10%. There are con- ervoirs, and Bruce (1984) inferred that the transformation
siderable technical problems associated with drilling in of smectite to illite is a major cause of overpressure in
shales, and in reservoirs interbedded with shales. The
potential of quartz cementation and smectite trans-
formation to produce overpressure in Central North Sea
*Corresponding author. Tel.: +0044-1932-762234; Fax: +0044-
1932-762000 (HPHT) reservoirs is critically assessed, and the geo-
t Present address: BP-AmocoExploration, Building 200/130, Chert- logical factors which have been responsible for retaining
sey Rd., Sunbury-on-Thames,Middlesex,TW16 7LN, UK high porosities at great depth.

0264-8172/99/$ - see front matter © 1999ElsevierScienceLtd. All rights reserved

P11:S0264-8172(98)00043 9
338 M.J. Osborne, R.E. Swarbrick et al. / Marine and Petroleum Geology 16 (1999) 33~353

0 10 20 30 40 50





Fig. 1. Helium porosity vs depth for Fulmar formation sandstone reservoirs. There is no systematic decline in porosity with depth, but porosities
below 4000 m can be extremely high. Compaction curve for CNS sandstones from Sclater and Christie (1982) for reference.

2. Effect of diagenesis and overpressure on reservoir 2.2. Geochemical inhibition of cementation

Bjorkum et al. (1993) proposed that stylolitisation is
From studies of high porosity reservoirs in the North the main source of quartz cement in sandstones, and
Sea, there are four likely explanations for anomalously stylolitisation can be stopped if silica is released into the
high porosity in Fulmar formation reservoirs: pore fluids by illitisation of kaolinite. As illitisation does
not cause a net porosity loss, porosity loss due to quartz
cementation and sylolitisation will be halted over the
2.1. Effects of grain coating cements depth/temperature range at which illitisation takes place.
This would mean that sandstone porosity would not be
Tiny crystals of microquartz less than 5 pm in length, reduced by chemical compaction where illitisation was
coat the surface of detrital quartz grains in sandstones occurring. Dissolution of quartz cement at stylolites is
which contain Rhaxella sponge spicules, which upon dis- very sensitive to silica supersaturations. If silica activities
solution are envisaged to be the source of the cement are high, then stylolitisation may be inhibited or halted.
(Aase et al. 1996). As sponge spicules were present in the Many Norwegian researchers believe that stylolitisation
rock on deposition, it is likely there is a sedimentological is the main source of quartz cement in the reservoirs,
control on microquartz distribution in Fulmar formation and chemical compaction is temperature, not pressure
sandstones. Textural evidence suggests that the mic- dependent (Oelkers et al., 1996; Walderhaug, 1994). The
roquartz precipitated during relatively shallow burial other main source of silica is illitisation of kaolinite.
( < 2500 m), although cementation post-dated mech- However this reaction does not lead to a net porosity
anical compaction. At shallow depths of burial mic- loss, because the products of the reaction (quartz and
roquartz cemented horizons have the lowest porosities, illite) have similar volume to the reactants (K-feldspar
but at depths greater than 3700 m the situation is and kaolinite). Therefore if stylolitisation is halted due
reversed, so that microquartz cemented horizons have to illitisation, there will be less quartz cement in the
the highest porosities. The microquartz lithifies the grain reservoir and no net porosity reduction due to diagenesis.
contacts and may allow the rock to resist later chemical There are little or no stylolites in the Fulmar formation,
compaction (pressure solution). This inhibition of com- and relatively little quartz cement compared to many
paction allows microquartz cemented reservoirs retain other clastic reservoirs worldwide. Could illitisation of
high porosity to greater depths of burial than non-micro- kaolinite in the Fulmar formation have inhibited styl-
quartz cemented reservoirs (Fig. 2). olitisation and associated quartz cementation? Unfor-
M.J. Osborne, R.E. Swarbrick et al. / Marine and Petroleum Geology 16 (1999) 337 353 339

Helium Porosity (%)

0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35

-2900 • No microquartz R2 =
Z~ Microquartzcement
Linear (no microquartz)
A -3300 AA A
• A

-3900 A~ A A


-4300 A A /X

Fig. 2. Porosity vs depth for microquartz and non-microquartz cemented Upper Jurassic CNS sandstones. Non-microquartz cemented sandstones
lose porosity with increasing depth of burial at a greater rate than microquartz cemented sandstones. Data partly from Aase et al. (1996), plus
unpublished data.

tunately, there is no evidence that kaolinite was once 2.3. Effect of overpressure
present in the wells examined in this study. Kaolinite
cement is thought to be the result of feldspar dissolution Overpressure could potentially inhibit pressure solu-
in meteoric water. In the Central North Sea, kaolinite tion (chemical compaction) in reservoir sandstones by
distribution is exclusively restricted to shallow wells on decreasing the effective stress at grain contacts (Porter
the western margin of the basin. These wells contain & James, 1986). To test this hypothesis, petrographic,
kaolinite because they were flushed with meteoric water petrophysical and fluid inclusion data were compiled
from a palaeo-landmass that once existed to the west. from Fulmar formation reservoir sandstones in six oil/
As kaolinite was not originally present in most Fulmar condensate fields with highly variable pressure state and
formation sandstones, no subsequent illitisation could depth of burial (Table i).
occur. In these deeply buried reservoirs small volumes (aver-
However, other clay transformations could be respon- age 3.0 vol%) of macroquartz cement are found as over-
sible for the inhibition of stylolitisation in the Fulmar growths on detrital quartz grains. Below 3000 m,
formation. The transformation of smectite to illite also macroquartz cement abundance does not increase with
releases silica, which could clearly inhibit stylolitisation present day depth of burial, suggesting that quartz
considering the extreme sensitivity of chemical com- cementation in these samples is not strongly temperature
paction to silica supersaturation. Hence transformation controlled (Fig. 3). In contrast with Middle Jurassic res-
of smectite to illite, which is inferred to have occurred in ervoirs of the Brent Group and Garn formation in the
the Fulmar formation, could have inhibited styi- northern North Sea and Norwegian Sea, where much
olitisation and quartz cementation over the depth/t- larger volumes of quartz cement are found (average 10
emperature range at which the transformation was vol%), and the amount of quartz cement present in the
occurring. This hypothesis could explain why quartz sandstones shows a linear increase over a depth range of
cements in the key wells did not precipitate until tem- 2700-4300 m (e.g., Giles et al., 1992).
peratures > 13ff'C were reached. While there is no apparent relationship in the Fulmar
340 M.J. Osborne, R.E. Swarbrick et al. / Marine and Petroleum Geology 16 (1999) 337-353

Table 1
Pressure, cement abundance and petrophysical data for the wells studied

Quartz Illite Total Porosity

Overpressure Effstress Depth
Well Min. Av. Max. Min. Av. Max. Min. Av. Max. (psi) (psi) (m)

A 1 3.9 7 20 1728 5600 -3200

B 1 2.8 4 20 753 5200 -3300
C 1 5.3 10 0.02 0.2 2 11.8 19.85 30.1 842 6195 -3911
D 0.3 3.31 6.3 0 1,1 2.14 4 17.7 24 870 6323 -4663
E 2 5.9 10.5 0.5 0,9 1.5 17 1380 6486 --4198
F 0 0.5 1 12.6 3534 3140 -3700
G 0 2.42 4 1 4.15 22 9.7 16.1 21 5808 2491 -4680
H 1.6 2.44 4 0.3 2.55 7 2.5 16 26 7975 1588 -5280
I 0 2.3 6.7 1.3 15.2 29.5 8127 1616 -5192
J 0.3 0.7 1.7 3.8 5.92 7.8 24 31 34 8061 419 -4069
K 4 0.2 -4511.09
L 3 0 -4206.29
M 0 0.9 5 0.01 20 6105 1100 -3992.93

Quartz cement (vol%)

0 2 4 6 8 10
-2000 li m mm m m

4N" •

[] i im ma mm lm
~ M N m N M M M M i [] []
.-. -4000 m m MMJ M m N [] mm
E m m l MM H
-4500 m |ml m mm

a -5000
limi mm

m mm mm mmm m m
-6500 mmm

Fig. 3. Distribution of macroquartz cement vs present day depth of burial for the Fulmar formation. Only small amounts of quartz cement are
present in the Fulmar formation, and there is no marked increase with depth (temperature).

formation between quartz cement abundance and present quartz cement in the H P H T reservoirs compared to res-
day depth of burial (temperature), there does appear to ervoirs which are only slightly overpressured.
be a relationship between quartz abundance and effective In order to test this hypothesis, the source of the quartz
stress in reservoirs buried to depths of 4--6 km (Fig. cement was investigated using cathodoluminesence on
4). This relationship between effective stress and quartz a scanning electron microscope. The amount of quartz
overgrowth abundance can be explained if pressure solu- cement and the amount of pressure solution at grain
tion at grain contacts is the source of much of the cement. contacts were quantified for sandstones in two wells, one
Pressure solution could be inhibited by build-up of over- of which was highly overpressured, the other slightly
pressure, hence explaining why there is relatively little overpressured. The volume of cement and the volume of
M.J. Osborne, R.E. Swarbrick et al. / Marine and Petroleum Geology 16 (1999) 337-353 341


N=13 wells ,~ "-" Slightly =

6000 / Overpressured I



> 3000

w 2000


0 1 2 3 4 5 6
% Ouartz c e m e n t (Ave)
Fig. 4. Quartz abundance vs effective stress for wells buried to depths of 3.5-6.0 km. Wells with high effective stress at the present day have more
quartz cement. For further discussion see text. Data from Table 1.

'overlap' at long grain and point contacts was compared rothermometry. A plot of quartz overgrowth aqueous
for several samples in each well and the results illustrated fluid inclusion homogenisation temperatures versus
in Fig. 5. No stylolites were seen in the wells studied, and depth for the study wells is shown in Fig. 6. Typically,
stylolites are rare or absent in the Fulmar formation the homogenisation temperatures in each sample span a
throughout the Central North Sea, despite the abundance temperature range of about 40°C, and often have values
of detrital clay. This contrasts with Brent Group and approaching present day reservoir temperature, based on
Garn formation sandstones in the northern North Sea palaeotemperature gradients of 35-40°C/km, suggesting
which contain abundant stylolites at depths of 3~4 km that the quartz must have formed during deep burial, at
(Oelkers et al., 1992). relatively high temperatures. No evidence for resetting of
Pressure solution can supply much of the quartz in the fluid inclusion temperatures as described by Osborne and
sandstones from these two wells (Fig. 5; Table 2). Note Haszeldine (1993) was observed in the samples studied.
that more quartz cement occurs in the slightly over- The quartz cement is genuinely late diagenetic (high tem-
pressured well compared to highly overpressured well. perature) in origin.
However, three samples have more quartz cement than If the fluid inclusion temperature data are combined
can be supplied by pressure solution alone. These samples with accurate subsidence and thermal history curves for
are sandstones which are immediately adjacent to silts- the wells, it is possible to estimate the time span over
tones. Petrographic examination of these siltstones indi- which cementation must have occurred (Table 3). If the
cates they contain highly pitted quartz grains surrounded amount of quartz cement in the well is also known, an
by clays and micas, suggesting that quartz grains have average rate of cementation can be calculated for that
undergone extensive pressure solution. Pressure solution well by dividing the volume of quartz cement present by
in the siltstones has therefore released silica which the time range over which cementation occurred. Such
migrated into the adjacent sandstones, producing calculations indicate that an average of only 3.0 vol%
enhanced quartz cementation near the siltstone-sand- quartz cement precipitated in these reservoirs within the
stone contacts. Alternative sources of silica, such as feld- last 10-30 M.Y. Hence, volumetrically small amounts
spar dissolution, and spicule dissolution, are insignificant of quartz cement precipitated in these reservoirs, over
in the samples studied. extended periods of geological time, at a fairly late stage
Further information about the origin of the quartz in the subsidence history. This lack of late diagenetic
overgrowths has been obtained using fluid inclusion mic- quartz cement is one of the key reasons why porosity
342 M.J. Osborne, R.E. Swarbriek et al. / Marine and Petroleum Geolo#y 16 (1999) 337-353


30 /
EXPORT Silica /
25 Bala~ed

o 20
~ 15 \
I [] Io \
II: 10
W /o" [] \
5 / • IMPORT
0 10 20 30
OVERGROWTH (as % total quartz)
Fig. 5. Silica budget for two CNS wellswith variable overpressure.Overlap quartz is quartz released by pressure solution at grain contacts, overgrowth
quartz is quartz cement observed in the sandstones. The less overpressured well has the most quartz cement, but most silica in both of the wells can
be supplied by pressure solution. Three samples have much larger volumes of quartz cement which cannot be explained by pressure solution within
the sandstones. These samples occur adjacent to siltstones. For further discussion see text. Data from Table 2.

in the Fulmar formation has remained relatively high and Haszeldine (1996) have proposed that dissolution of
compared to m a n y other deeply buried clastic reservoirs massive volumes of feldspar (35 vol%) has occurred in
worldwide, which are usually extensively quartz the Fulmar formation during burial, and that the released
cemented (McBride, 1989).The rate at which quartz ions have been removed from the sandstone, and hence
cement precipitated is related to present day pressure reservoir porosities greatly improved. This proposition is
distribution in Fig. 7 indicates, which shows that quartz controversial. Wilkinson and Haszeldine's estimate of the
cement grew faster in the slightly overpressured wells amount of feldspar dissolved is deduced from a plot of
than the overpressured wells. This finding is consistent feldspar content versus depth for wells from Quads 29
with the idea that quartz was sourced by pressure solu- and 30 in the U K North Sea, which shows an apparent
tion, and that chemical compaction was inhibited by low decline in feldspar from 35 to 5 vol% over a depth range
effective stresses in the H P H T wells. Detailed modelling of 3000-6000 m (Fig. 8). Large volumes of feldspar dis-
of pressure solution in these sandstones would require solution would give rise to large volumes of authigenic
the variation in effective stress through time to be well illite in a closed system. Because equivalent volumes of
constrained, using fluid inclusion palaeobarometry and illite have not been precipitated within the pore spaces of
basin modelling. the sandstones, Wilkinson & Haszeldine (1996) believe
the feldspar-depth trend provides evidence for export of
2.4. Effect o f secondary porosity (feldspar dissolution) aluminium and other ions from the reservoir following
feldspar dissolution. This conclusion is unfounded for
Secondary porosity from dissolution of K-feldspar the following reasons:
grains is common in the Fuimar formation. Wilkinson (1) Insolubility of aluminium: it is theoretically very
M.J. Osborne, R.E. Swarbriek et al. / Marine and Petroleum Geoloyy 16 (1999) 33~353 343

Table 2 could only be exported if aluminium solubility could

Silica budget for two wells, E1 + E2 be enhanced by the presence of large amounts of
% Pressure
organic acids (Surdam et al., 1984). Sufficient vol-
Well Depth Sample % Overgrowth solution umes of organic acids are not generated in the sub-
surface to allow aluminium complexing, and such
El 15146' #1 14.5 5.5 acids would either react with carbonates in the rocks
El 15146' #2 12.6 9.7 or be complexed with other ions in preference to
E1 15160' 34.3 7.5
E1 15169' #1 9.0 6.7
aluminium (Giles & de Boer, 1990). While presence
El 15169' #2 8.6 6.5 of unusually high concentrations of organic acids
E1 15188' #1 5.7 7.9 may enhance rates of feldspar dissolution under
E1 15188' #2 6.5 8.6 acidic conditions, it is unlikely they will dominate
El 15188' #3 7.7 8.2 fluid-rock interactions unless the source of the acids
E2 12884' #1 10.6 8.5
is immediately adjacent to the reservoir and rates of
E2 12884' #2 15.8 10.3 acid production are very rapid (Harrison & Thyne,
E2 12884' #3 12.5 8.4 1992). Wilkinson and Haszeldine (1996) offer no
E2 12898' 14.5 20.3 explanation for the origin of such large amounts of
E2 12900' #1 11.6 8.9 organic acids, and provide no evidence for their pres-
E2 12900' #2 16.9 12.5
ence in Futmar formation reservoir fluids. Hence the
E2 12900' #3 10.9 7.9
E2 12900' ' #4 15.6 15.6 case for export of aluminium ions remains unproven.
E2 12962' #1 26.5 12.2 (2) Feldspar vs depth trend: the feldspar versus depth
E2 12962' #2 26.8 14.8 trend produced in Wilkinson and Haszeldine (1996)
does not represent a decline in feldspar versus depth
due to dissolution, but may reflect a regional vari-
ation in the amount of feldspar present in the sand-
unlikely that sufficient volumes of aluminium could stones upon deposition. Compilation of data in this
be exported from these sandstones to improve study, from a wider area in the Central North Sea
porosities by 30 vol%. Aluminium is very immobile than was available to Wilkinson and Haszeldine
and insoluble in the subsurface and large amounts (1996) indicates that there is no systematic decline in

80 100 120 140 160 180 200 22(

-3000 \ \ N=280
l-- -4000
-4500 /km

I~ • M 4 1 1 1 D O /km
Fig. 6. Aqueous primary fluid inclusion homogenisation temperatures for quartz overgrowths vs depth. Geothermal gradients of 35 and 4WC/km
are shown for comparison. Data partly from Saigal et al. (1992) and Nedkvitne et al. (1993), plus unpublished data.
344 M.J. Osborne, R.E. Swarbrick et al. / Marine and Petroleum Geology 16 (1999) 337-353

Table 3
Rates of cementation and temperature of cementation for the wells studied

Homogenisation Duration of Quartz Rate of

Temperature Cementation Cement cementation
Well/field (°C) (M.Y.) (vol %) (vol %/M.Y.)

E1 150-160°C ~ 10 1.9 0.19

E2 148-160°C ~ 10 5.0 0.5
Fulmar 85-125°C ~ 10 2.8 0.28
Ula 110-140°C ~ 10 5.0 0.5
D2 130-173°C ~ 30 2.4 0.08
B2 145-165°C ~ 20 3.6 0.18


" 5000
uJ 4000 J
m 3000 f
I • ~ R2 = 0.7429
O 2000
14. /
m 1000

] I

0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5

Fig. 7. Rate of quartz cement growth vs effective stress for deeply buried sandstones. Wells with high effective stress have faster quartz growth rates.
For further discussion see text. Data from Table 3.

feldspar with present day depth of burial (Fig. 9). rock, the amount of illite that would precipitate fol-
Instead, feldspar content varies markedly with geo- lowing feldspar dissolution can also be calculated,
graphical area, or quad (Fig. 9). Hence a primary using the chemical reaction given below.
sedimentological explanation for present day feld-
spar distribution appears feasible, and although some 1.0 K-feldspar + 0.174H20 + 0.522 H +
feldspar has been dissolved in these,6andstones, the
amount of secondary porosity seen in the rock (aver- +0.109 Mg 2+ ~ 0.739 K + +0.435 Illite
age 4.0%) is not sufficient to explain the much greater + 1.478 Quartz
variation in feldspar abundance. Variation in sedi-
ment provenance must be partly responsible for the This reaction assumes that aluminium is conserved,
amount and types of feldspar present, with diagenesis and is reprecipitated locally as illite cement. If it is
playing a lesser role. assumed that the neoformed illite was sourced by feldspar
(3) Volumetric mass balance: feldspar dissolution will dissolution, then calculations indicate that there is less
only increase porosity if the ions liberated during authigenic illite than would be expected, indicating that
dissolution are exported and do not reprecipitate some ions, including aluminium, have been 'exported'
locally in the form of illite cement. As the amount of from the sandstones, with an average of 4.0% porosity
feldspar which has been dissolved can be estimated created (Fig. 10; Table 4). This is problematic, as alu-
from the amount of secondary porosity seen in the minium is extremely insoluble in most fluids. Where has
M.J. Osborne, R.E. Swarbrick et al. / Marine and Petroleum Geology 16 (1999) 337-353 345

K-feldspar (vol%)
0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35
0 I I I I I I

-1000 I aQusd29&30 ]


" -3000



Fig. 8. K-feldspar vs depth for Quads 29 and 30, from Wilkinson and Haszeldine (1996). There is an apparent decline in K-feldspar with depth,
supposedly due to dissolution.

K-feldspar (vol%)
0 10 20 30 40 50
b I i
• Quad 21
• Quad 22
-1000 o Quad 29
x Quad 30
- Quad N1
m • •@
A Quad 23
.,,,, • Quad 31
.= -3000 o Quad 39
Q. x
= x

bOO oooo o

,I lip I,. • ..
Fig. 9. Feldspar vs depth for whole of the CNS compiled by GeoPOP. There is no marked decline in feldspar abundance vs depth, but instead
feldspar abundance may vary with geographical area, suggesting sediment provenance has a strong control on feldspar distribution.

the missing aluminium gone? One possible explanation could easily be absorbed by the conversion of 2-5 vol%
would be that smectitic clays are the 'sink' for the alu- smectite to illite, and there is no need to invoke export of
minium ions released during feldspar dissolution. Feld- aluminium as an explanation for the lack of illite cement
spar from the clean sands has dissolved to supply the in the cleaner sands.
K and A1 ions needed for illitisation of smectite in the If our model for aluminium redistribution is correct,
intraformational clay rich sands, an explanation for then sandstones from clay rich sections of the reservoir
insufficient illite observed in the clean sandstones. Alu- should have greater amounts of secondary porosity than
minium has not been exported from the Fulmar forma- sandstones from the clay poor sections, because less illite
tion, but has been locally redistributed, creating effective will have precipitated per unit of feldspar dissolved. This
secondary porosity in the cleaner sandstones. Cal- theory is supported by the observation that clay rich
culations indicate that all of the 'missing' aluminium upper Fulmar formation reservoirs have higher porosities
346 M.J. Osborne, R.E. Swarbrick et al. / Marine and Petroleum Geology 16 (1999) 337-353

evidence for quartz cement inhibition in other oilfields
/ (e.g., Giles et al. 1992; Walderhaug, 1990), probably
/ because the effect of migration on cementation will be
JUT modified depending on the petroleum saturation, the
source of the quartz cement (internal or external), plus
10 RIGHT time and temperature. Where quartz cementation is
.J / internally sourced from pressure solution, cementation
/ could possibly continue in the presence of petroleum if a
thin layer of water remained around the grains, allowing
5 / TOO LITTLE diffusion of ions from grain contacts to the site of pre-
0 cipitation (Saigal et al., 1992; Walderhaug, 1990). If
quartz cement in a sandstone is externally sourced, (e.g.
JiB i I B clay transformation or pressure solution in adjacent
II =11 shales), petroleum influx is likely to halt cementation,
because flow of pore water will not be available to trans-
0 5 10 15 port the ions into the reservoir. Although primary pet-
AMOUNT OF ILLITE THAT SHOULD BE PRESENT (%) roleum fluid inclusions occur in some quartz cements,
Fig. 10. Mass balance calculation showing that significantexport of indicating that petroleum migration was occurring at the
aluminium has occurred following feldspar dissolution. Data from same time as cementation, presence of petroleum
Table 4. inclusions in diagenetic minerals does not necessarily
imply that the reservoir was saturated in hydrocarbons
at the time of cementation. Filling of an oilfield is not
than clay poor lower Fulmar formation sandstones. Up geologically instantaneous, and is a complicated process.
to 58% (av. 28%) of the total porosity in these reservoirs We cannot determine the effect of oil inhibition on quartz
is secondary in origin, from the dissolution of feldspar cementation patterns without a detailed understanding
grains (Fig. 11). A depositional control on porosity can of reservoir geometry, plumbing, oil entry points, charge
be ruled out, because the sandstones have the same grain duration and amount of supply. There is no direct evi-
size and sorting characteristics, are of identical facies, and dence that hydrocarbon migration has halted diagenesis
have similar amounts of cement and primary mineralogy. in the oil leg relative to the water leg, but this does not
If conversion of smectite to illite is responsible for rule out the possibility that inhibition of cementation has
feldspar dissolution, then using published kinetic models occurred in the past. The effect of petroleum migration
and knowing the volumetrics of the reaction, the for- on the porosity of these reservoir sandstones is uncertain,
mation of secondary porosity in the reservoir can be because our knowledge of field filling and leakage his-
modelled through time. The results of three different kin- tories is poorly constrained.
etic models (Bethke & Altaner, 1986; Dutta, 1986), are
shown in Fig. 12. The modelled amounts of secondary 3. Diagenesis as a cause o f overpressure
porosity are in broad agreement with the amounts of
secondary porosity seen in the reservoir today, if the Diagenetic reactions could produce overpressure in
initial smectite content of the clay fraction is assumed to two ways:
be 30%. Mineralogic studies of North Sea Upper Jurassic (1) Growth of cement in the pores of a sediment will
mudrocks suggest that this initial smectite content is generate overpressure if there is a net reduction in
reasonable (Pearson & Small, 1988). pore volume and fluid cannot escape from the rock
due to lateral and vertical seals.
2.5. Effect of petroleum migration (2) Dehydration of minerals such as smectite can lead
to an expansion in fluid volume which will produce
Petrographic evidence suggests that migration of pet- significant overpressure if the rocks are perfectly
roleum into these reservoir sandstones has not inhibited sealed.
cementation in the hydrocarbon column relative to the
The significance of diagnesis as an overpressure mech-
water leg. Where core is available in the oil and water anism depends on the size and rate of the volume expan-
leg, cement distribution shows no systematic variation
sion or porosity reduction, and the sediment
across present day hydrocarbon contacts. Emery et al. permeability.
(1993) demonstrated convincingly that migration of oil
into the Magnus oilfield inhibited quartz cementation and 3.1. Smectite to illite transformation
controlled porosity distribution across the field, therefore
inhibition of quartz cement growth by oil influx is clearly A net reduction in pore volume could occur during the
possible. However most researchers have seen no firm transformation of smectite to illite. The reaction requires
M.J. Osborne, R.E. Swarbrick et al. / Marine and Petroleum Geoloyy 16 (1999) 33~353 347

Table 4
S e c o n d a r y p o r o s i t y - illite m a s s b a l a n c e f o r the wells s t u d i e d . % F e l d s p a r dissolved, Illite a n d Q u a r t z derived f r o m p o i n t c o u n t d a t a

Calculated v o l u m e o f illite
% Feldspar volume of (assuming 50% Observed Quartz Quartz Depth
Well dissolved illite microporosity) illite Difference predicted observed Difference (m)

N 3.22 1.771 3.542 0.93 -2.62 0.9982 5.56 4.56 -4060.29

0.49 0.2695 0.539 0.00 - 0.54 0.1519 3.94 3.79 -4062.73
3.63 1.9965 3.993 0.00 - 3.99 1.1253 3.18 2.06 --4065.47
2.16 1.188 2.376 0.43 - 1.94 0.6696 2.16 1.49 --4068.22
0.96 0.528 1.056 0.00 - 1.06 0.2976 3.85 3.55 --4073.09
1.35 0.7425 1.485 0.00 - 1.49 0.4185 2.72 2.30 -4076.44
D 0.7 0.385 0.77 0.5 -0.27 0.217 5.5 5,28 -4069.13
2 1.1 2.2 0.5 - 1.70 0.62 3.5 2.88 --4069.13
2.5 1.375 2.75 0.3 - 2.45 0.775 3.7 2.93 --4069.13
1.5 0.825 1.65 0 - 1.65 0,465 4.7 4.24 --4038.65
2.7 1.485 2.97 2 - 0.97 0.837 2 1.16 --4038.65
2.3 1.265 2.53 1.8 -0.73 0.713 6.3 5.59 --4023.41
2 1.1 2.2 2 -0.20 0.62 0.3 -0.32 --4008.17
J 4.5 2.475 4.95 5.8 0.85 1.395 0.5 -0.90 --4663.5
5.2 2.86 5.72 5.5 -0.22 1,612 0.7 -0.91 --4663.5
6.2 3.41 6.82 5.8 1.02 1.922 0.5 - 1.42 -4663.5
4.2 2.31 4.62 5.7 1.08 1.302 0.3 - 1.00 -4693.98
5.1 2.805 5.61 6.8 1.19 1.581 1.3 -0.28 -4693.98
1 3.2 1.76 3.52 0 -3.52 0.992 6.7 5.71 -6284.72
3 1.65 3.3 0 3.30 0.93 4.3 3.37 --6297.76
3.8 2.09 4.18 0 4.18 1.178 5.3 4.12 --6305.5
1.6 0.88 1.76 0 - 1.76 0.496 0 -0.50 --6331.75
3.8 2.09 4.18 0 4.18 1.178 0.7 -0.48 --6346.51
3 1.65 3.3 0 3.30 0.93 1.7 0.77 -6366
4 2.2 4.4 0 - 4.40 1.24 1 - 0.24 -6393.5
5.6 3.08 6.16 0 -6.16 1.736 4 2.26 6406.51

0 0 0 0 0.00 0 0 0.00 - 6417.75

0 0 0 0 0.00 0 0.7 0.70 --6429.72
0 0 0 0 0.00 0 1 1.00 --6456.03
1.8 0.99 1.98 0 - 1.98 0.558 2.3 1.74 -6464.8
3.8 2.09 4.18 0 -4.18 1.178 6.7 5.52 -6502.75
1.3 0.715 1.43 0 - 1.43 0.403 0 - 0.40 -6518.51
0 0 0 0 0.00 0 0.3 0.30 -6555.5
O 6.67 3.6685 7.337 0.2 -7.14 2.0677 0.67 - 1.40 -5016.15
6 3.3 6.6 1 - 5.60 1.86 12.33 10.47 -5017.07
5.67 3.1185 6,237 I - 5.24 1.7577 6 4.24 -5019.81
3.33 1.8315 3.663 0 - 3.66 1.0323 2.33 1.30 - 5023.47
8.33 4.5815 9.163 0.33 -8.83 2.5823 6.67 4.09 - 5026.21
3.33 1.8315 3,663 0 - 3.66 1.0323 3.33 2.30 - 5027.13
6 3.3 6.6 0 - 6.60 1.86 8.67 6.81 - 5029.26
5.33 2.9315 5.863 1.67 - 4.19 1.6523 2.67 1.02 - 5034.14
4.67 2.5685 5.137 0 - 5.14 1.4477 0.33 - 1.12 - 5036.27
5.33 2.9315 5.863 0.33 - 5.53 1.6523 2 0.35 - 5039.32
6 3.3 6.6 0 -6.60 1.86 0.2 - 1.66 -5044.2
5 2.75 5.5 0 -5.50 1.55 3.67 2.12 - 5046.94
6 3.3 6.6 2 -4.60 1.86 1.33 -0.53 -5050.6
7.33 4.0315 8.063 0 - 8.06 2.2723 2.33 0.06 - 5055.17
7.33 4.0315 8,063 0.2 - 7.86 2.2723 1.33 - 0.94 - 5058.22
8 4.4 8.8 0 -8.80 2.48 0.33 -2.15 - 5060.66
4 2.2 4.4 0 - 4.40 1.24 2 0.76 -5063.7
4.33 2.3815 4.763 0 -4.76 1.3423 3.67 2.33 - 5067.67
6.33 3.4815 6.963 0.33 -6.63 1.9623 11.67 9.71 - 5068.89
6.67 3.6685 7.337 0.2 - 7.14 2.0677 II 8.93 - 5070.41
P 8 4.4 8.8 0 - 8.80 2.48 1 - 1.48 -4311.6
3 1.65 3.3 0 -3.30 0.93 0.2 -0.73 -4293.47
6 3.3 6.6 0 -6.60 1.86 5 3.14 -4272.74
7 3.85 7.7 0 -7.70 2.17 0.2 - 1.97 -4259.02
12 6.6 13.2 0 - 13.20 3.72 0.2 -3.52 -4247.44
7 3.85 7.7 0 -7.70 2.17 0.2 - 1.97 -4208.12
0 0 0 0 0.00 0 0 0.00 -4194.71
348 M.J. Osborne, R.E. Swarbrick et al. / Marine and Petroleum Geoloyy 16 (1999) 337-353

Volume% Volume% Volume% Volume%

40 0 20 40 20 40 0 20 40
i I


Higher Porosity Abundant Clay Lower Porosity Little Clay

Fig. 11. Distribution of clay and porosity in the upper and lower Fulmar formation from an HPHT well. The most porous horizons are those which
are interbedded with abundant clay. Up to 48% of the porosity is secondary in origin. For further discussion see text.

o! • ,
2 ~

0 0

el W

200 1SO 100 SO 0 -', 200 t60 100 60 0 •

T I M E (M.Y.) o T I M E (M.Y.) o

Fig. 12. Kinetic models showing the amount of secondary porosity that would be created in the upper and lower Fulmar formation through geological
time in an HPHT well.

the addition of AI and K ions, and the release of Na, Ca, calculation, the molar volume of smectite, and whether
Mg, Fe, Si ions plus water. The general form of ions are assumed to be exported from the system or not.
the reaction is: K-feldspar + Smectite =~ Illite + Osborne and Swarbrick (1997) calculated the volume
Quartz + Water. In the Gulf Coast of the U.S.A., there is changes associated with ten possible smectite to illite
a broad correlation between the onset of overpressuring reactions; results indicate either volume increases of 0.1-
and the smectite to illite transformation (Bruce, 1984). 4.1%, or volume decreases of 0.7-8.4%, during the trans-
There is no proof that the transformation produces formation. Net volume increase could potentially gen-
abnormal pressures. Although significant water is erate overpressure, depending on the rock permeability,
released in the transformation, overpressure will not but volume reduction would lead to either a decrease in
result unless an overall volume expansion occurs during pressure, or enhanced sediment compaction.
the reaction. But, the association between the smectite to A number of kinetic models for the transformation of
illite reaction and overpressure could be due to reduction smectite to illite exist (e.g., Bethke & Altaner, 1986;
in sediment permeability and change in compressibility Dutta, 1986). These models assume the reaction is con-
induced by the transformation. trolled by time and temperature, so if accurate thermal
The exact volume changes involved in the reaction and subsidence histories are available for a well, the frac-
are difficult to ascertain because the exact nature of the tion of smectite that has converted to illite through time
numerous reactions involved are not yet clear (Ahn & can be calculated. Such kinetic models can then be com-
Peacor, 1986). The overall volume change and the bined with reaction volumetrics to calculate the cumu-
amount of water released by the reaction varies widely lative change in rock volume during burial. The volume
depending on which hypothetical reaction is used in the changes that occurred during the subsidence of an Upper
M.J. Osborne, R.E. Swarbrick et al. / Marine and Petroleum Geology 16 (1999) 33~353 349

Jurassic sediment in a Central North Sea H P H T well, for 14). The calculation assumes that the seal is 10 m thick
six different smectite to illite reactions, are shown in Fig. and has uniform permeability. Even at very low seal
13. The model assumes the solid fraction of the rock was permeabilities (1 × 10 - 9 mD) the amount of overpressure
100% smectite originally, the geothermal gradient was is insignificant ( < 10 psi, Fig. 14). This seal permeability
35'~C/km and the present day reservoir temperature is is comparable to the lowest shale permeability ever mea-
200°C. Note the amount of volume change is generally sured (Neuzil, 1994), at higher values of permeability the
small, and volume decreases occur in some reactions. The amount of overpressure produced is even smaller. It is
maximum rate of volume change is ~0.2 vol%/M.Y. unlikely that shales would have permeabilities as low as
(Fig. 13). The model represents the maximum possible l x 10 - 9 mD at depths of 2-3 km where the trans-
volume change that could occur in the rocks, because on formation of smectite to illite occurs. Hence smectite
deposition the sediments did not contain 100% smectite. transformation is unlikely to be a cause of overpressure
Once the cumulative change in rock volume through in the Central North Sea because the rate of volume
time has been calculated, the influence of volume change increase is too slow, and rock permeabilities are not
on fluid pressure can be assessed, using a rearranged form sufficiently small. In addition, smectite is generally not
of Darcy's Flow Law: abundant in the sediments of the North Sea (Pearson &
Small, 1988).

Q = flow rate (rate of volume change) Maximum Rate
m = fluid viscosity 0.0001 0,001 0.01 0.1 1 10

L = length of flow path 1oooo

K-~ permeability
A --- area lO ~-
The maximum rate of volume change of ~0.2 0.1 <
vol%/M.Y represents the maximum rate at which the 0.01
0.11111 ~
pore space will be filled due to cementation. If an equi-
valent volume of fluid escapes from the rock at the same ' O,OOO01 ~
1E410 ~
time as cements are filling up the pore space, fluid pressure 1E-07
will not increase. However, if the rate of cementation 1E-08
exceeds the rate at which fluid can be expelled from the
rock, overpressure will result. The amount of over- Fig. 14. Graph illustrating the amount of overpressure that could be
pressure produced can be calculated from the above produced by conversion of smectite to illite, for varying values of seal
equation, for various values of seal permeability (Fig. permeability. The amount of overpressure generated is negligible.

TIME (M.Y.) Present

160 140 120 100 80 60 40 20 0
I L I 1 I t I | 6
of volumeincrease ~ ° " 7 ' ' ' ~ 4
0.2 vo,%/M.Y. ~ . " ~ _ 1* ~' • LU

Expnsion ' '
.,,~. ""
~,,'~"~" --- ]2 3g- 9

am IIi
ReacUon 2 "~;~lmmamhb ~n~ Z
~'='4:>~ Reaction3 k ..... ~ -4 ~__) IIXI o.~
~ 'R.=Ion, ~ ."
' Reaction 6
Fig. 13. Graph showing the cumulative volume changes associated with the conversion of smectite to illite in an Upper Jurassic sediment from the
Central North Sea well through geologic time. Volume changes are small, and in some cases volume decreases occur. For further discussion, see text.
350 M.J. Osborne, R.E. Swarbrick et al. / Marine and Petroleum Geoloyy 16 (1999) 337-353

3.2. Quartz cementation as a source o f overpressure and Trewin, 1995). To date no predictive model exists
correlating spicule distribution and abundance to a depo-
Precipitation of quartz cement as overgrowths (mac- sitional model which could enable the porosity dis-
roquartz) has been suggested as a cause of overpressure in tribution to be predicted more accurately. Why
deeply buried clastic reservoirs by Bjorkum and Nadeau microquartz grain coats inhibit porosity loss and quartz
(1996). From Fig. 9, and data presented in Walderhaug, overgrowth formation is also uncertain. Hendry &
(1996), the average rate of quartz cementation in the Trewin (1995) attribute the lack of later quartz over-
North Sea can be calculated to be between 0.06 and 3.5 growths to the inconsistent lattice distribution of the earl-
vol%/M.Y. Using the equation above, the amount of ier microquartz generation. Early cementation may
overpressure that could be created by this rate of quartz decrease the differential stress at grain contacts, and
cementation can be calculated, for various values of seal inhibit later chemical compaction in limestones and sand-
permeability (Fig. 15). The calculation assumes that the stones (Sibley & Blatt, 1976). Aase et ai. (1996) propose
seal is 10 m thick and has uniform permeability. Even at a geochemical solution to the problem: as a higher degree
very low seal permeabilities (1 × 1 0 - 9 mD) the amount of of supersaturation is required to grow small quartz crys-
overpressure generated is insignificant (< 100 psi, Fig. tals, the formation of microquartz crystals could allow
15). Hence it is unlikely that quartz cementation will pore water silica activities to increase to a level at which
generate significant overpressure, unless perfect sealing release of silica from stylolites would be inhibited. This
occurs. In addition, data presented in this paper suggests would mean less silica would be available for quartz
overpressure may inhibit overgrowth formation. cementation. This model is only valid in a closed geo-
chemical system and crystal sizes must remain < 2-3/~m
in size (Aase et al., 1996). If crystal sizes become larger
4. Discussion
quartz overgrowth formation and stylolitisation should
occur. This model does not explain why the non-mic-
As sponge spicule distribution is an important control
roquartz cemented portions of highly overpressured res-
on porosity preservation in the Fulmar formation it is
ervoirs have little quartz cement, or why quartz cement
desirable to construct a predictive model for their occur-
grew fastest in the slightly overpressured reservoirs.
rence. The volume of spicules present is also important:
We have noted that there is an apparent relationship
too many spicules result in the development of pore-
between high effective stresses at the present day and
occluding chalcedony cement (Hendry & Trewin, 1995),
greater quartz cement abundance. The explanation for
but smaller volumes (2-3 vol%) result in the precipitation
this is uncertain, but the most likely reason is that high
of the grain rimming cement that inhibits chemical com-
overpressures, maintained over several millions of years,
paction (Aase et al., 1996). Spicules are found in a wide
have inhibited pressure solution at grain contacts and
range of silty fine grained lithologies worldwide including
reduced the amount of silica available for cementation.
turbiditic sandstones and marls and shallow marine sand-
This hypothesis could be tested if the pressure history of
stones (Vagle et al., 1994). The spicules were clearly
the fields could be accurately constrained. Most of the
deposited in shallow water but can be redeposited in deep
overpressure produced in the Upper Jurassic of the Cen-
water environments by sediment gravity flows (Hendry
tral North Sea was the result of disequilibrium com-
paction produced by rapid subsidence in the late Tertiary.
From fluid inclusion microthermometry and subsidence
Range in quartz history modelling we do know that this period of rapid
GROWTHRATE(Vol%/M,Y.) ~lrowth rat~,~
1~ subsidence was synchronous with quartz cementation in
0.0001 0.001 0.01 10 the reservoirs. Pressure solution, and chemical com-
- " "" 10000
paction in general, remain one of the most poorly under-
~ ~..~ ~ ~ 1000 stood geological processes, and there is little agreement
1oo .--- between theoretical, experimental and field studies (Tada
~1.00E-4 mD • 10
& Siever, 1989). Experimental studies of pressure solution
0.1 indicate that pressure does affect quartz solubility,
~ 0.01 though temperature and fluid salinity are more important
0.001 z

0.0001 controls (Porter & James, 1986). For example, in hydro-
, ~ : 0.ooo01 static pressure conditions at 5 km, the solubility of quartz
1E-07 would be 12 ppm higher than if pressures were close to
1E-08 lithostatic (Porter & James, 1986). These differences are
1E-09 admittedly small, but may well be significant over geo-
Fig. 15. Graph illustrating the amount of overpressure that could be
logical time scales. The validity of such experimental
produced by quartz cementation, for varying values of seal studies remains open to question, as they use unreal-
permeability. The amount of overpressure generated is negligible. istically high temperatures and pressures. Because of
M.J. Osborne, R.E. Swarbrick et al. / Marine and Petroleum Geology 16 (1999) 337-353 351

these uncertainties in modelling pressure solution, it is Information on the timing of secondary porosity gen-
uncertain that pressure alone is responsible for inhibition eration relative to the timing of petroleum migration into
of chemical compaction and quartz cementation in the the reservoir will be of use to explorationists. If petroleum
Fulmar formation, but the data we have compiled does enters the sandstones prior to secondary porosity gener-
not support the time-temperature dependent quartz ation, less hydrocarbon will be found in the reservoir.
cementation model of Walderhaug (1994), because there Highly overpressured reservoirs have the greatest sec-
is no marked increase in the volume of quartz cement ondary porosity, suggesting that more secondary
present with increasing depth (higher temperature). Lack porosity is preserved in these rocks because over-
of significant quartz cement in highly overpressured pressuring has inhibited further compaction. Hence, the
Fulmar reservoirs may be due to a combination of timing of feldspar dissolution relative to overpressuring
factors: is also important; where feldspar dissolution has been
rapidly followed by pressure build-up more secondary
(l) High fluid pressures, which decrease silica solubility porosity will be retained. Our model for secondary
at grain contacts. This mechanism is probably only porosity enhancement in the Fulmar formation could
feasible if the high pressures are maintained over also be applied to the South Brae oilfield, North Sea,
millions of years. where turbidite reservoir sandstones are similarly inter-
(2) Geochemical inhibition. Most CNS reservoirs have bedded with smectite bearing shales (McLaughlin et al.,
highly saline pore fluids, and because solubility of 1994), and the sandstones show an apparent export of
quartz decreases with rising salinity, highly saline aluminium following feldspar dissolution.
pore fluids may have inhibited pressure solution at Can reservoir quality in the Fulmar formatuion be
grain contacts. Similarly release of silica from smec- predicted? Where feasible, sequence stratigraphic sub-
tite transformation to illite could have halted styl- division of the Fulmar formation is useful, because the
olitisation and quartz cementation over the best poroperm is found in sands belonging to lowstand
depth/temperature range at which illitisation occurs. systems tract and the lower part of the transgressive sys-
This explanation is only feasible if transport is the tems tract (Veldekamp, et al., 1996). Detailed sedi-
rate limiting step for cementation. mentological studies indicate that poroperm is controlled
(3) Petroleum migration. There are no marked differ- by subtle variations in grain size, sorting, clay content
ences in the degree of quartz cementation across and degree of bioturbation (Gowland, 1996). However,
HWCs at the present day. However, because the fill- most of the sedimentological and sequence stratigraphic
ing and leakage histories of the fields are difficult to studies have been conducted on wells from the Western
constrain it is still possible that petroleum migration Platform area. These wells are relatively shallow buried
has slowed the rates of quartz cementation in some and the Fulmar formation does not exhibit the more
fields. Rates of quartz growth are slower in the more pronounced diagenetic alteration seen in the deeper wells
deeply buried HPHT reservoirs. If petroleum of the Central Graben area. Prediction of reservoir qual-
migration is responsible for slowing quartz growth in ity in these deeper prospects requires knowledge of the
these reservoirs, then HPHT reservoirs must have diagenesis and subsidence history of the sediments.
been charged earlier than the shallower slightly over- The main compactional and diagenetic controls on the
pressured reservoirs examined in this study. porosity of the Fulmar formation are detailed in Table
5. The chief problem in predicting reservoir quality in the
Our model for secondary porosity generation in the Fulmar formation is the lack of a depositional model to
Fulmar formation could be used semi-predictively if the explain the distribution and abundance of sponge spicules
original volume of smectite and the thermal history of and detrital clay. These two factors strongly influence
the well was known. However, the original volume of the distribution of microquartz, quartz overgrowths, and
smectite present in sediment may be difficult to constrain. secondary porosity in the reservoir. Without a more
In addition, the kinetic models used for modelling the detailed sedimentological model, prediction of the
transformation of smectite to illite assume that the reac- porosity variations of within the reservoir will be difficult.
tion is time and temperature controlled, and do not con- The theoretical calculations presented in this paper
sider the effect of fluid composition on the rate of the indicate the magnitude of overpressure produced by
reaction. From experimental data, the rate of reaction is smectite transformation to illite and quartz diagenesis in
known to be slowed by the presence of Na, Mg plus the Central North Sea is negligible. However, the exact
pressure, and requires the ready availability of AI and K, magnitude of overpressure produced will vary depending
but the magnitude of the effect on the reaction rate is not on the thickness and permeability of the overlying seal,
well constrained (Eberl & Hower, 1978; Huang et al., the volumetrics and rate of the reaction, and the volume
1993). Although the magnitude of secondary porosity of the reservoir in which the cementation is occurring.
produced is uncertain, the timing of secondary porosity The major uncertainty is the seal permeability, which is
generation is broadly similar in all the models (Fig. 12). poorly constrained for mudrocks.
352 M.J. Osborne, R.E. Swarbrick et al. / Marine and Petroleum Geology 16 (1999) 337-353

Table 5
Porosity reducing/enhancing processes in the Fulmar formation

Process Influence on porosity % of Reservoir affected Can it be predicted?

Chalcedony cement Can drastically reduce or < 5-20% No, unless a depositional model for predicting sponge
completely occlude porosity. spicule distribution and abundance is developed.
Microquartz Can preserve porosity and inhibit< 40% No, for the same reason chalcedony cement cannot be
cement chemical compaction. predicted.
Secondary porosity Can offset porosity loss due to Entire reservoir, although sands Secondary porosity generation through time can be
compaction and cementation. adjacent to shales have greatest modelled, but detailed prediction of secondary porosity
%. distribution is difficult without detailed facies models.
Dolomite/Ankerite Reduce porosity significantly in • Disseminated rhombs affect the No, distribution is entirely random.
cement many wells. entire reservoir and fill 0-10%
of porosity.
• Concretions completely No, but concretionary horizons do not
occlude porosity and occur in compartmentalise the reservoir, and cause no
< 10% of the reservoir. production problems.
• Massive pore-filling dolomite A qualified yes. Dolomite cementation is likely
can completely occlude wherever Jurassic and Triassic sediments are
porosity but is largely restricted juxtaposed against the Zechstein.
to within a few metres of the
Quartz cement Small volumes (0-10%) occur in Affects non-microquartz parts Yes, if pressure and temperature history of the well
deeply buried reservoirs. of the reservoir only. is known.

5. Conclusions too slow, and seal permeabilities are too high. Cemen-
tation may also be inhibited by pressure build up.
(1) Development of early grain coating microquartz
helps to retain high porosity at depths up to 4 km,
probably by reducing the amount of chemical com-
paction at grain contacts. Microquartz cement is References
restricted to horizons which contain detrital sponge
spicules. Ahn, J. H. & Peacor, D. R. (1986). Transmission and analytical electron
microscopy of the smectite-t-illita transmission. Clays & Clay Min-
(2) Overpressure inhibits pressure solution, and retards
erals, 34, 165-179.
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growths, helping to preserve high porosities during grain-coating microquartz on preservation of reservoir porosity.
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rate of growth is fastest under conditions of high
Mins., 34, 136-145.
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pressure and migration model. Amer. Assoc. Petrol. Geol. Cony.
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Abs., 15, San Diego.
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(4) Highly overpressured, deeply buried reservoirs in the for the effect of illitisation on porosity and quartz cementation of
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