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Characterization of Reservoir Quality Using Ichnological, Sedimentological, and Geochemical Methods Open Access


Other title
Wabamun Group
Ula Formation
Debolt Formation
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Baniak, Gregory M
Supervisor and department
Pemberton, S. George (Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Alberta)
Gingras, Murray K. (Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Alberta)
Examining committee member and department
Gingras, Murray K. (Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Alberta)
Harris, Nicholas B. (Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Alberta)
Pemberton, S. George (Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Alberta)
Wach, Grant D. (Earth Sciences, Dalhousie University)
Rostron, Ben J. (Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Alberta)
Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
A detailed analysis of subsurface reservoirs from offshore Norway and Alberta, Canada is undertaken in this thesis to better categorize the influence trace fossils have on reservoir quality. Specifically, the data collected focuses on understanding burrow fabrics in two- and three-dimensions (2D and 3D), assessing the influence trace fossils have on fluid flow, and understanding burrow-associated diagenesis. Using imaging techniques such as microtomography (micro-CT) and computed tomography (helical-CT), a better understanding of burrow fabrics and their associated properties is completed. Particularly, each sample is found to have a distinctive X-ray attenuation due to factors such as grain size and sorting. This is particularly true for samples that contain moderate to extreme contrasts in lithology and permeability between the burrows and matrix. As such, the 3D generated volumes of the burrows help show that the distribution of X-ray attenuations within a sample can be linked to measured permeabilities. The influence of bioturbation on reservoir quality within carbonates (Upper Devonian Wabamun Group, central Alberta) and siliciclastics (Upper Jurassic Ula Formation, offshore Norway) is investigated using spot-permeametry measurements, thin sections, analytical models, and numerical models. In both case studies, analytical and numerical models show that the arithmetic mean best characterizes intervals dominated by moderate to high bioturbation intensities or horizontal to sub-vertical burrows. The harmonic mean best represents intervals with vertical burrows or low bioturbation intensities. The geometric mean best characterizes intervals where horizontal and vertical permeabilities within the sample are roughly equal. A new term, Ichnofossil Hosted Tight Gas (IHG), is also introduced in this thesis to demarcate tight gas reservoirs, such as the Wabamun Group, wherein natural gas is produced primarily from the burrows relative to the low-permeability matrix. Using core data, thin sections, and isotopes (carbon and oxygen), the influence burrows have on mediating dolomitization is examined in the Mississippian Debolt Formation (Dunvegan gas field, northwestern Alberta). Compositional differences observed in the isotopic distributions reflect the different biogeochemical processes occurring within and adjacent to the burrows. Organic matter, an essential component for bacterial sulfate reduction and subsequent near-surface dolomitization, is likely derived in part from the organisms and their by-products.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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