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Durham University

Department of Earth Sciences


Publication details for Dr Stuart Jones

Stricker, S. & Jones, S.J. (2016). Enhanced porosity preservation by pore fluid overpressure and chlorite grain coatings in the Triassic Skagerrak, Central Graben, North Sea, UK. Geological Society, London, Special Publications 435: 321-341.

Author(s) from Durham


Current understanding of porosity preservation in deeply buried sandstone reservoirs tends to be focused on how diagenetic grain coatings of clay minerals and microquartz can inhibit macroquartz cementation. However, the importance of overpressure developed during initial (shallow) burial in maintaining high primary porosity during subsequent burial has generally not been appreciated. Where pore fluid pressures are high, and the vertical effective stress is low, the shallow arrest of compaction can allow preservation of high porosity and permeability at depths normally considered uneconomic. The deeply buried fluvial sandstone reservoirs of the Triassic Skagerrak Formation in the Central Graben, North Sea, show anomalously high porosities at depths greater than 3500 metres below sea floor (mbsf). Pore pressures can exceed 80 MPa in the upper part of the Skagerrak Formation at depths of 4000–5000 mbsf, where temperatures are above 140°C. The Skagerrak reservoirs commonly have high primary porosities of up to 35%, little macroquartz cement and variable amounts of diagenetic chlorite grain coats. This research sheds light on the complex controls on reservoir quality in the fluvial sandstones of the Skagerrak Formation by identifying the role of shallow overpressure in arresting mechanical compaction and the importance of chlorite detrital grain coatings in inhibiting macroquartz cement overgrowth as temperature increases during progressive burial.