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Durham University

Department of Earth Sciences

Postgraduate Students

Publication details for Dr Stuart Jones

Tang, L., Jones, S. J. & Gluyas, J. (2017). Facies Architecture of the Fluvial-Aeolian Buchan Formation (Upper Devonian) and Its Implications on Field Exploration: A Case Study from Ardmore Field, Central North Sea, UK. International Journal of Geosciences 8(7): 902-924.

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

The Upper Devonian Buchan Formation in the Central North Sea is a typical terrestrial deposit and predominantly comprises fine to medium-grained sandstones with occasional conglomerates and mudstones. The Buchan Formation has been previously described as being made up mostly of braided fluvial sandstones; however, this study confirms the presence and significance of aeolian sandstones within this fluvial-dominated sequence. Facies architecture is investigated through analogue outcrop study, well log curves and numerical facies modelling, and the results show contrasting differences between fluvial and aeolian facies. The fluvial facies is composed of multiple superimposed and sand-dominated fining-upward cycles in the vertical direction, and laterally an individual cycle has a large width/thickness ratio but is smaller than the field scale. However, the high channel deposition proportion (CDP, average value = 72%) in fluvial-dominated intervals means that it is likely all the sand bodies are interconnected. Aeolian facies comprise superimposed dune and interdune depositions and can be laterally correlated over considerable distances (over 1 km). Although the aeolian sandstones are volumetrically minor (approx. 30%) within the whole Buchan Formation, they have very high porosity and permeability (14.1% - 28%, 27 - 5290 mD) and therefore are excellent potential reservoirs. The fluvial sandstones are significantly cemented by quartz overgrowth and dolomite and by comparison with the aeolian sandstones are poor reservoirs. Aeolian sandstones can be differentiated from fluvial sandstones using several features: pin-stripe lamentation, good sorting, high visible porosity, friable nature and lack of muddy or conglomeratic contents; these characteristics allow aeolian sandstones can be tentatively recognized by low gamma ray values, high sonic transit time and low density in uncored wells. The thin, laterally correlatable and permeable aeolian sandstones within the Buchan Formation are effective reservoirs and could form important exploration targets when the Devonian is targeted elsewhere in the North Sea.