Regional variation of evaporite diagenesis in Xingouzui sandstones in Jianghan Basin, China: Implications for the evolution and prediction of saline reservoirs' quality

Xiaoqing Yuan,Qinhong Hu,Furong Wang,Xiaowen Guo, Hua Huang


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Diagenetic processes and associated pore evolution are essential factors that control the development and distribution of porosity and permeability in saline reservoirs. The goal of this study is to systematically describe the comparative diagenetic processes, porosity evolution, and diagenetic facies of sandstone reservoirs in the Eocene Lower Xingouzui Formation (LXF) in two depressions in the Jianghan Basin, China. To achieve these goals, an integrated approach of petrographic, mineralogical, geochemical, and petrophysical analyses such as thin-section observations, X-ray diffraction (XRD), and mercury intrusion porosimetry (MIP) was applied to sandstone samples obtained from the Qianjiang and Jiangling sags. Diagenetic studies showed that the LXF samples had experienced several phases of diagenesis, including compaction, non-ferroan carbonate/sulfate cementation, feldspar and carbonate dissolution, quartz overgrowth cementation, ferroan carbonate and sulfate cementation, cubic pyrite precipitation, and limited gypsum dissolution. Although the LXF samples from both the Qianjiang and Jiangling sags experienced a noticeable porosity reduction induced by the compaction, the differences in diagenesis between these two sags were primarily due to complex and diverse cementation types. For instance, both early carbonate and sulfate cementation were recognized in Qianjiang samples, while only early carbonate cements were present in Jiangling samples. Based on a quantitative evaluation of the relative importance of diagenetic processes, diagenetic facies were defined in the LXF sandstones. Additionally, the pore evolution study indicated that two (upper and lower) zones of abnormally high porosity and permeability (AHPP) were developed in both sags. In particular, the upper AHPP zones occurred in sandstones in the Qianjiang and Jiangling depressions at depths of 1300 and 1800 m, respectively, while the lower AHPP zones in both depressions were located at a depth of 3300 m. The differences in the development mechanisms between the upper and lower AHPP zones were determined. This work provides an overview of the evolution and evaluation of sulfate- and carbonate-bearing sandstone reservoirs, such as the LXF sandstone, which have experienced strong diagenetic modifications during their geological histories.
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