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IPA, 2006 - Proceedings of an International Conference on Petroleum Systems of SE Asia and Australasia, 1997

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INDONESIAN PETROLEUM ASSOClATION Proceedings of the Petroleum Systems of SE Asia and Australasia Conference, May 1997

THE ROLE OF DEPOSITIONAL SEQUENCES IN CREATING AND CONTROLLING PETROLEUM SYSTEMS -- BASIC PRINCIPLES AND EXAMPLES
Fmd F. Meissnefl

ABSTRACT
Most of the essential elements and processes that create a petroleum system are controlled by the lithology and stratigraphy of the rrjck package involved. The vertical and lateral distnbution of source, carrierheservoir, and migrational-barrierhapseal rocks generally reflects an orderly pattern of lithoiogic and environmental facies that represent sequences of transgressive-regressive or deepeningshallowing water sedimentation. In cross section, these seuuences are commonly represented by unconformity-boundeC& wedge-shaped bodies of sediment that thin from depositional basin centers toward edges of non-deposition and erosion on bordering highlands. An "ideal" depositional sequence contains an internal distribution of source rock, carrier/reservoir, and seal units. Overburden depths that cause source rock maturity may be produced by the thickness of overlying beds within the sequence itself or in an overlying sequence. Migration paths may be either upward and cross-stratal or lateral and updip within a given carrierlreservoir unit. Migrahon may continue until either a site of entrapment is reached within a reservoir indigenous to the sequence or a "leak" is encountered into an overlying sequence or to the Earth's surface. Stratigraphic and structural traps may be present within a sequence as a result of depositional complexity and syn-depositional deform ation. Po st-depo sitional structural trap configurations may also be superimposed on a sequence. Not all sequences contain the stratigraphic elements that make petroleum systems, nor do they have the

same lithologic geometries. Sequences may be barren of hydrocarbons due to source rock immaturity or leakage. Understanding how required elements of a petroleum system are represented within a. depositional sequence should aid in explaining and predicting where oil and gas accumulations are found. Examples of petroleum systems related to depositional sequences will be presented.

INTRODUCTION
The following elements are essential for the existence of a productive petroleum system: 1) a mature source rock; 2) a reservoir rock; 3 ) a seal rock, and 4) a I'trag". These elements must be placed in time and space such that the processes of generation, migratron, accum ulation and preservation will take place. Most, if not all, of the essential elements and their related processes that create a petroleum system are controlled by the lithology and stratigraphy of the total rock package involved. The deposition of roc representing any one of the essential elements is not independent of rock units of differing lithology deposited in overlying, underlying or lateral positions.

DISCUSSION AND EXAMPLES


The vertical and lateral appearance and disappearance of source rocks, carrierheservoir and migrationaibarrierhrap-seal lithologies generally reflects an orderly progression of lithologies and depositional environments that change in response to varying sedimentation rates produced by basin subsidence, uplift or infill. The simplest genetic framework into which the lithologic pattern may be fitted is that represented by cycles of transgressive-regressive (or deepening-shallowing water) sedimentation that are commonly referred to as "cyclothems" or

Colorado School of Mines

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"'depositional sequences". Depositiond sequences occur in several orders of size and time duration, ranging from thick, long-term "1st order" cycles of basin formation, infill and stagnation, to thin shortterm "2nd, 3rd, etc. order" cycles controlled by tectonic pulses or glacial eustasy (Figure 1). Superposition of different orders leads to stratigraphic complexity and often generates lithologic patterns conducive to the formation of stratigraphic petroleum traps. In cross section, sequences are commonly represented by unconformity-bounded, wedge-shaped bodies of sediment that thin from maximum thickness in depositional basin centers toward edges of nondeposition +d erosion on the flanks of bordering uplifts or platforms. Oil-prone marine and lacustrine source rocks tend to form in depositional sequences during stages of maximum transgressive flooding or in condensed sections where organic productivity is high and overall sedimentation rate controlled by inorganic sedimentation is low. Gas-prone humic source rocks tend to form on coastal plains and nearshore swamps. Coarse-grained clastic reservoirs tend to form in highenergy shore line positions, in stream channels and in "Low-sea-level-stand turbidite deposits. Carbonate reservoirs tend to form in intertidal nearshore positions and on open marine shelves and shelf margins during periods of high sea level and shelf margin progradation or in pinnacle reefs that grow from low-stand shelves during sea level rise. Sealharrier rocks tend to form where shales and evaporites are deposited, as in deep water, shelf slopes and evaporite basins or on terrestrial flood plains, playas and sabkas. Two classes of depositional sequences may be recognized: 1) marine or lacustrine (e.g., aquatic) cycles of transgressive-regressive sedimentation related to ocean/lake expansion followed by contraction and 2 ) terrestrial cycles of regressive-transgressive sedimentation related to contraction followed by expansion of oceans or lakes. In a simplistic manner, these two classes may be considered as complementary and sequential, in that aquatic sediments deposited in a contracting water body may be replaced by sediments deposited in a coeval expanding area of terrestrial sedimentation (Figure 2). Source rocks, reservoirs and seals related to essential elements controlling petroleum systems are usually found in only a few possible positions within a depositional sequence. An "ideal" depositional sequence contains an internal

distribution of source rock, carrierfreservoirs, and seal units (Figure 3). When source rocks in such a sequence reach a condition of thermal maturity, the source rocks will generate hydrocarbons that will subsequently be expelled to overlying andfor underlying canrierheservoir units. Overburden depths required to achieve maturity may be produced by the thickness of overlying beds within the sequence itself or by an overlying younger sequence. Migration paths may be upward and cross-stratal in the case of low vertical migrational impedance, or they may be lateral and updip within a given carrier/reservoir unit beneath an effective confining barrierheal unit. Migration may continue until either a site of entrapment is reached within a reservoir indigenous to the sequence or a "lea"' occurs to an overlying sequence or to the earth's surface. Both stratigraphic traps and structural traps may be present within a sequence as a result of depositional compIexity and deformation related to the presence of the sequence itself. Structural trap configurations may also be superimposed on a sequence after its deposition. Not all sequences contain the stratigraphic elements that make petroleum systems, nor do they contain critical lithologies in the same architectural positions. Either source rocks, reservoirs or seals may be absent in some sequences. Many sequences may be of hydrocarbons due to source rock immaturity or outward leakage. However, some that do not contain one or more essential element may still be charged by generation and leakage from another sequence.

Examples
Two examqles of "ideal" sedimentary sequences related to major petroleum systems in two North ) . American basins will be discused (Figure 4 Several billion barrels of oil have been found in the Bone Spring-San Andres (Permian) petroleum system of the Permian Basin, southeast New Mexico and West Texas. The main part of the San Andres represents a transgressive-regressive sequence unconformably superimposed on an underlying shelf (Figure 5 ) . Organic-rich limestones of the basinal Bone Spring formation were displaced onto the shelf during a relative rise of sea level and form a central tongue of deeper-water facies during a period of maximum transgressive flooding. The central tongue is bounded above and below by porous shallow-water dolomites deposited in nearshore tidal flat, open

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shelf, and shelf margin reef environments. The top of the sequence is cappe by anhydrites dolomites that are replaced in a landward direction by salt and anhydzlte. Interfingering of porous dolomite and impermeable anhydritic dolomite in the upper regressive part of the sequence is related ta 2nd order depositional cyclicity. A second thin sequence represented at the shelf edge by the Getaway "baikl'is present at the top of the San Andres. Organic-rich rocks of the basind Bone Spring Formation are mature at depth, and the oil they have generated has migrated updip into the upper regressive porous dolomite facies of the San Andres Formation. Oil accumulations have been localized at the shelf margin and i n a series of tidabflat stratigraphic traps on the backshelf The basin infill section oC the Cretaceous Cordilleran geosyncline in North America constitutes a 1st order depositional sequence containing many 2nd order perturbations'(Figure 6). Oil-prone source rocks in 2nd order sequences near the base of the Cretaceous on the east side of the geosyncline control petroleum systems involving the closest nearby sandstone reservoirs. Gas-prone source rocks (humic coals) in regressive tongues of terrestrial sediment on the west side (e.g., the Mesaverde Tongue) control petroleum systems charging adjacent sandstone reservoirs in delta plain and alluvial channels and in the transitional. marine facies. Source-rock maturity is mostly the result of burial beneath Tertiary rocks deposited in the various Tertiary basins superimposed on the Cretaceous sequence. Several billion barrels of oil and trillions of cubic feet of gas have been found in a variety of structural, stratigraphic and deep-basin fields localized within the. complex Cretaceous basinfill' sedimentary sequence.

CONCLUSIONS
Most, if not all, of the essential elements in a petroleum system are deposited in a systematic manner within a depositional sequence of strata An understanding of how these elements are represente within a sequence framework should a i understanding and predicting of where oil and gas accumulations are found.

REFERENCES
Kauffman, E.G., 1977, Geological and biologica overview- Western Interior Cretaceous Basin Mountain Geologist, v. 14, p. 75-99. Meissner, Fred F., 1972, Cyclic sedimentation in Mi Permian strata ofthe Permian Basin in West Texas and southeast New Mexico in Symposium on Cyclic Sedimentation in the Permian Basin, 2nd Ed.: West Texas Geological Society Pub. 69-56, p. 203-232. Meissner, Fred F., Woodward, J., and Clayton, J.L., 1984, Stratigraphic relationships and distribution of source rocks in the Greater Rocky Mountain Region, in Woodward, J., Meissner, F.F., and Clayton, J.L., eds., Hydrocarbon source rocks of the Greater Rocky Mountain Region: Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists 1984 Symposium/Field Guide, p. 1-34.

A
SEQUENCE
/
I.

B
COMPOUND SEQUENCE
Datum

P
0

PLE SYMM
"I ,1111

Maximum Regression
y

+R
Hinge point

Erosional vacuity

Mar itnum Transgrossion'

T-,
\

Maximum Regression

May be absent i n many basal transgressions

Datum: Maximum transgression time line

Datum: l o p main regressive disconformity

SYMBOL Deeper Marine


LOW*

ENVIRONMENT Fine* mud st one * shale ~ I I

a
T,
Shallow marine traositional
High

ENERGY

GRAIN SIZE LITHOLOGY


Major Transgression

0
Carbonate Coarse grainstone, bands t one Fine Carbonate mudatone. shale Terrestrial -sabka. tidal flat, Low interchannel -c ha nne I, High alluvial fan

Tm RM

Minor Transgression Major Regression

Coarse Sandstgne, conglomerate High energy. coarse-grained turbidires n o t included

FIGURE 1

Typical aquatic (marine or lacustrine) depositional sequences showing common distribution of rock types (from Meissner 1984). Compoinnd sequence shown in diagram B contains two superimposed "orders" of cyclic deposition. Representations are highly schematic. Horizontal dimension is distance, and vertical dimension may be considered as either thicknsss or time.

A COMMON P
COMMON POSlTlONS
OF RESERVOIR AND SEAL ROCKS IN TRANSGRESSIVEREGRESSIVE SEQUENCES

OF SOURC IN TRANSG REGRESSIVE

T-,

J/I
T-,

Marine sequenc

SAPROPEblC SOURCE ROCKS OYPE 1/11) HUMlC SOURCE ROCKS ('TYPE Ill)

G -Basal high-energy shallow marine transqession

C.cC C C C C

sandstone. carbonate grainstone


H -Shallow mafine/transitionel sandstone.

A-Ba sal l o w -ene rg y t ran sg re 8 sion

B - 0 2 minimum against depositional sufface

carbonate grainstone. reefs


I -Deep water turbidites

C-Zone of upwelling

D-Sllled anoxic basin

J -Channel sandstones
K -Alluvial fan sandstone and conglomerates

E-Coastal coal swamp

F-Delta/lower alluvial plain coastal swamp

SEALS: Evaporites, shales, carbonate mudstones -May be only partially efficient

FIGURE 2

Common positions of lithologies critical to forming petroleum systems in depositional sequences (from Meissner 1984). Representations are highly schematic. Diagram A - Positions of source-rocks in oil-prone marine or lacustrine and gas-prone terrestrial sequences. Diagram B - Positions of carrierheservoir and migration-barrierhrap-seal rocks in similar sequences.

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43

J 500

lLOMT R ES

ERTlARY BASINS

PERMIAN BASIN

FIGURE 4

Index map of North America showing locations of basins and cross sections illustrated in Figures 5 and 6.

P P

DATUM: rop SAN ANQRES

GETAWAY "BANK"
v x v x v x v x v * v x v Y v x v

DARK L IMESTOHE

OIL-.PRONE

SOUWCERQr4K.S

CONTAINIMB TYPE II

KERQnC"'

FIGURE 5

North-south section across the Peimiw Ra.i;in shr~vving major Izthofacitx in the S m Andres Formation (see Figure 4 for location). seqaerace ~ ~ d l ~fthe ~ essential t elements ~ controlling ~ a major n petroleum ~ The Sm Aedses represents an "ideal" depositiox~~l system. (from Me1ssner 1992)

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