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IPA07-G-116

PROCEEDINGS, INDONESIAN PETROLEUM ASSOCIATION


Thirty-First Annual Convention and Exhibition, May 2007
STRATIGRAPHIC INTERPRETATION OF MIDDLE MIOCENE MAHAKAM DELTA
DEPOSITS: IMPLICATIONS FOR RESERVOIR DISTRIBUTION AND QUALITY
Irfan Cibaj*
Noor Syarifuddin**
Untung Ashari**
Agung Wiweko**
Khoiril A. Maryunani***

ABSTRACT
One of the main challenges in reservoir
characterization is to representatively model the
reservoir architectures and reservoir property
heterogeneity.
Precise
sedimentological
understanding of the reservoir from the study of an
outcrop analogue can significantly improve the
modeling process.
New road construction in the Samarinda area has
generated freshly exposed outcrops of Middle
Miocene deltaic deposits. Detailed study of these
outcrops has been performed. The outcrops
represent a 450 m thick succession of
deltaic/shallow marine sediments. A number of
deltaic cycles that were controlled by either
allocyclic or autocyclic processes were identified
and are bounded by flooding surfaces.
Sedimentary lithofacies are grouped into 5 facies
associations. Facies associations include: (1)
distributary channel, (2) fluvial channel, (3)
distributary mouth-bar, (4) prodelta and, (5)
floodplain/interdistributary/tidal
flat.
The
depositional environments and paleo-water depths
of each facies were estimated based on their facies
associations.
The vertical stacking pattern of sediments shows
overall thickening upward sequences interpreted as
indicating regressive evolution of deltaic
parasequences. Similar patterns have been observed
in the subsurface of Middle-Upper Miocene
deposits from which the majority of the
hydrocarbons are produced in the Mahakam area.

*
PT Ipedex Indonesia
** TOTAL E&P Indonsie
*** Department Geology, Institute Technology Bandung

This outcrop analogue study will be used to


calibrate the reservoir characterization process and
reduce the uncertainties associated with modeling
and upscaling.
INTRODUCTION
The Kutei Basin (Figure 1) is a prolific producer of
both oil and gas in Indonesia. It contains estimated
recoverable reserves of approximately 3 billion
barrels of oils and 30 Tcf of gas. Hydrocarbon
production is predominantly from Middle to Upper
Miocene deltaic to marginal marine sandstone
reservoirs. Hydrocarbon accumulations in the basin
are located mainly along four elongated NNE-SSW
anticlines.
Deltaic sedimentation has been continuous in the
basin from late Oligocene to the present-day,
represented by the modern Mahakam delta. Many
authors have previously studied outcrops of
Miocene deltaics in the Samarinda area (Allen and
Chambers, 1996; Moss et al, 1997).
Outcrops that were studied expose part of the
Middle Miocene deltaic to shallow marine
succession. A 450 m thickness of these sediments is
exposed in large cliffs along a new road cut in the
proximity of the city of Samarinda, East Kalimantan
(Figure 2). The exposure is relatively fresh and
easily accessible.
GEOLOGICAL SETTING
The Kutei Basin is the largest Tertiary basin in
Western Indonesia. It is limited to the south by the
Paternoster Platform and the Adang flexure zone, to
the north by the Mangkalihat Ridge (Figure 3) and,
to the west, by the Kuching High, the source for
most of the Neogene sediments. To the east it
extends into the deep waters of the Makasar Strait.

Sedimentation in the basin started during the middle


Eocene as a result of rifting, with typical syn-rift
clastics deposited in a series of half-graben. As the
basin continued to subside, a thick series of
transgressive sediments, mainly marine shales, was
deposited during the late Eocene to Oligocene. At
the same time carbonates developed on paleo-highs
and around the basin margin (shelf break) (Moss et
al, 1997).
The late Oligocene was marked by uplift of the
Kuching High and the inversion of the Upper Kutei
Basin, with erosion of the earlier sediments to
create a thick eastward prograding delta system
comprising sand- and coal-rich facies in the
proximal delta area and shale dominated facies in a
distal marine setting. Previous workers indicate that
sedimentation rates were very high with a mean
accumulation rate of 1000 m/my (Allen and
Chambers, 1996).
The inversion processes also led to an eastward shift
of the western limit of the basin. Previously
deposited sediments were folded, uplifted and
eroded, thus forming the sediment source for
subsequent sequences deposited to the east. This
explains the fact that, in most of the Lower Miocene
deposits, the proximal deltaic facies can be found
only in synclines because those in the anticline
crests have been eroded. Mostly marine shales
(distal facies) are exposed in the cores of anticlines.
This sediment recycling process increased sediment
maturity and improved reservoir quality, with the
younger sandstones being considerably cleaner and
of much better reservoir quality than older ones
(Allen and Chambers, 1996).
OUTCROP STUDY RESULTS
The outcrop study was carried out in several
sections with particular attention being paid to the
description and recognition of the bounding
surfaces and the interpretation of sedimentary
depositional
environments.
Sedimentological
observation included the description of lithology,
sedimentary and biogenic structures, and fossils.

Detailed descriptions and interpretations of facies


and facies associations are provided below:
a. Facies association 1: distributary channel
Units of Facies association 1 are typically 8 to
15 m thick, coarse- to medium-grained
sandstone (Figure 4) showing fining upwards
grain size trend. Trough cross-stratification at
the base of the units is replaced by current
ripples and flaser structures at the top. This
facies association rests on erosional to sharp
basal contacts. Increasing content of shale
lenses toward the top, forming fining and
thinning upward successions, are observed.
Mud drapes can be observed locally within the
cross-bedded
sandstones.
Root
traces
occasionally occur at the top of the succession
as do burrows. The sands are overlain by
carbonaceous mudstone.
Upward-fining of the grain size and thinning of
bed thicknesses indicate a progressive decrease
in depositional energy. Sedimentary structures
show a predominance of unidirectional flow.
Facies association 1 is interpreted as
distributary channel fill in a deltaic
environment. The presence of mud drapes may
indicate tidal influence.
b. Facies association 2: fluvial channel
This facies association consists of several fining
upward sandstone units, with sand being wellsorted, coarse to medium-grained and trough
cross-stratified. Each sandstone unit is bounded
by a basal scour surface. Siderite concretions
are found locally within the sandstones.
This facies association is characterised by the
absence of marine fossils and evidence of tidal
current processes. Facies association 2 is
interpreted as representing fluvial channels
dominated by unidirectional current flow.
Several of these channel sandstones are stacked,
forming composite channel sand deposits up to
30 m thick (Figure 5).

Facies Description And Facies Association


c. Facies association 3: distributary mouth bar
Five distinct facies associations were identified:
Facies association 1: distributary channel
Facies association 2: fluvial channel
Facies association 3: distributary mouth bar
Facies association 4: prodelta/shelf facies
Facies association 5: floodplain/interdistributary
/tidal flat

Units of Facies association 3 show coarsening


upward successions, grading from laminated
silty marine mudstone at the base to fine- to
medium-grained sandstone at the top,
associated with progressively thicker and more
frequent sandstone layers also at the top

(Figure 6). Facies association 3 exhibits a sharp


upper contact with either laminated shales or
with other sandstones facies above.
Thickness for this facies association varies from
2 m to 4 m. Typical sedimentary structures
present in this facies include parallel lamination
and hummocky cross-stratification, ripples,
small-scale wavy lamination and flaser bedding.
Small-scale trough cross-bedding is sometimes
observed. Facies association 3 is generally
capped by bioturbated sandstone covered by
organic shale or coal. Ophiomorpha burrows
occur frequently in sandstone layers. Reworked
bioclasts occurring occasionally towards the top
of the sands include gastropods, bivalves and
echinoderm fragments.
Facies association 3 is interpreted as prograding
distributary mouth-bar deposits in a delta front
environment. Based on the thickness of these
distributary mouth-bar deposits, the maximum
water depth in which they developed probably
did not exceed 5-6 m. Siltstone and mudstone
layers represent low-energy periods due to
fluctuation in the sediment discharge, or else
changing depositional loci. The occurrence of
flaser-bedding suggests tidal influence. The
coal and/or organic shale capping the mouth bar
successions represent delta plain deposits.
Interbedded mudstone and sandstone beds
showing thickening upwards are considered to
be distal bar deposits. Syn-sedimentary
deformation, including collapse structures, also
occurs in this facies association.

d. Facies association 4: prodelta


This facies association consists of laminated
mudstones intercalated with sideritic nodules,
very thin lenses of siltstone and very finegrained sandstones. The nodules are 0.5-1 cm
thick and 2-5 cm long; concentrated in different
horizons and oriented parallel to the bedding
plane. Thicknesses of individual units of facies
association 4, range from 4 m to 7 m. Facies
association 4 is interpreted as prodelta.
A five meters thick limestone bed with bioclasts
including corals, molluscs, and calcareous algal
is embedded in shale towards the top of the
section. The contact with underlying lithofacies
is gradational, and the upper part of this
lithofacies is bioturbated. This limestone
represents a major transgressive event.

The occurrence of limestone indicates major


transgression.
e. Facies association 5: floodplain/
interdistributary/tidal flat
This facies association is characterized by
stratified silty mudstones interbedded with
wavy laminated fine-grained sandstones, which
sometimes show a slight coarsening-upward
trend. Plant debris and coaly shales are
abundant. The upper part of this facies
succession in places contains oysters.
The mudstone and siltstone facies are
interpreted as representing overbank flooding of
interchannel areas during high-discharge
periods. The slight coarsening-upward trend
indicates progressive shallowing and possible
bay-infill (Elliot, 1974).
Stratigraphy
Numerous
small-scale
progradationalretrogradational units (5th order cyclycity?) are
identified (Figure 7). These units represent the
progradation of individual delta lobes bounded by
flooding events and are interpreted as
parasequences. At least twelve parasequences are
present with thicknesses ranging from 15 to 30 m.
In most cases parasequence boundaries are defined
by the onset of shale deposition above a coal
horizon at the top of an underlying parasequence.
Parasequences are grouped into 4 parasequence sets
(4th order scale?) in the lower half of the section.
Individual parasequence sets are dominated by
prodelta shales and distal to proximal delta front
mouth-bars in their lower part, and delta plain
distributary channel deposits are observed in the
upper part. This increasing fluvial influence upparasequence set reflects a gradual seaward
movement of the shoreline and a regressive stacking
pattern. A major facies shift from delta plain
distributary channel to thick prodelta laminated
mudstones intercalated with sideritic nodules is
systematically observed at the top of each
parasequence set, illustrating a short episode of
transgressive stacking. Parasequence sets are
therefore interpreted as representing regressivetransgressive stacking of individual deltas
(parasequences).
Regressive-transgressive cycles are vertically
stacked on possibly a 3rd-order scale. The lower part
of the section (up to 140 m above the base) shows a

regressive stacking pattern. Sediments above 140 m


(up to 280 m) demonstrate up-section increasing
marine influence and transgression. The presence of
carbonate units in the upper part of the section (270
m) marks maximum transgression.
Fluvio-deltaic deposits dominate the upper half of
the studied section. This section records the sudden
influx of coarser material to the study area. An
abrupt vertical facies shift from distal delta
front/prodelta to fluvial channel may suggest a
relative sea level fall and, therefore, the contact
between the fluvial channel and the underlying
marine mudstone is a candidate sequence boundary.
Comparison With Subsurface Geology
Subsurface studies of oil and gas fields of the
Mahakam area reveal the similarity in stratigraphy
and stacking pattern of sediments compared to the
outcropping sediments of the same age
(Samson et al, 2005).
a. Orders of depositional sequences
Three different orders of stratigraphic hierarchy
can be recognized and distinguished. Individual
deltaic cycles are around 25 m thick and
represent parasequences or 5th order sequences.
Regressive-transgressive cycles are about 100
m thick and represent parasequence sets or 4th
order sequences. 3rd order sequences are
around 300 m thick.
Individual deltaic cycles represent the basic
stratigraphic building blocks: that is to say they
are equivalent to parasequences. One deltaic
cycle represents all the stages from the
beginning to the completion of an individual
delta progradation. Distal-mouth bars, usually
observed in the lower part of the deltaic cycle,
are surrounded by thick shale intervals. Higher
in the section the sand content increases,
resulting in better quality reservoirs. There is a
big difference in sand quantity and reservoir
quality between the lower part where silt lenses
dominate the section and the upper part where
good sands form continuous reservoirs
(Figure 8).
Many parasequences are stacked to form
parasequence sets. Individual parasequence sets
show regressive stacking of individual deltas
with transgression at the very top, and are
termed regressive - transgressive (R-T) cycles.
Parasequence sets are limited at their base and

top by maximum flooding surfaces of the same


order (4th order).
Maximum flooding surfaces are represented by
shale-dominated intervals easily recognizable at
the field-scale. They are useful for field-wide
inter-well correlation.
b. Sedimentological relationships / stacking
patterns
The initial delta prograded over the maximum
flooding surface at the bottom of the R-T cycle
(Figure 8). Each successive delta prograded
further than the previous one, thus bringing
more sand, occupying a greater area and,
providing reservoirs of better quality. The
lowermost deltaic cycle is dominated by very
fine-grained sands. The uppermost deltaic cycle
contains fine- to medium-grained sands.
Some of the R-T cycles are dominated by sand.
Other R-T cycles do not contain valid reservoirs
because sands are of poor reservoir quality or
absent. The position of the R-T cycle in the
wider stratigraphic framework determines the
geometry of the sand bodies and the reservoir
quality of the sands.
Several stacked parasequence sets form a
regressive stacking pattern between maximum
flooding surfaces. Each regression has its
transgressive counterpart. The stratigraphic unit
can thus be assimilated into a genetic sequence
and can be considered as a 3rd order
depositional sequence. R-T cycles situated in
the lower part of the genetic sequence are
dominated by non-reservoir sediments. The
quantity and the quality of reservoir facies
increases in the upper R-T cycles.

CONCLUSION
Outcropping sediments in the Samarinda road-cut
are dated as Middle Miocene and consist of
deltaic/shallow marine facies. Five distinct facies
associations were recognized: (1) Distributary
channel; (2) Fluvial channel; (3) Distributary
mouth-bar; (4) Prodelta/Shelf deposits; and (5)
Interdistributary/floodplain/tidal flat.
Twelve parasequences are recognised representing
high-frequency cyclicity. A series of regressive and
transgressive parasequence sets reflects gradual
seaward and then landward movement of the

shoreline. Stacking pattern of parasequence sets in


the lower and middle part of the study interval
allows recognition of the regressive and
transgressive cycles (3rd order?). It is speculated that
the fluvio-deltaic dominated upper section of the
study interval represents lowstand.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
The authors would like to thank TOTAL E&P
Indonesie, and partners BP MIGAS and INPEX for
permission to publish this paper.
REFERENCES

The stratigraphic stacking patterns of sediments in


the subsurface hydrocarbon-bearing formations of
the Mahakam area show three different scales of
cyclicity. Individual deltaic cycles, constituting
parasequences (5th order), represent the building
blocks of the sedimentary series. They are vertically
stacked in parasequence sets, each set
demonstrating regressive followed by transgressive
trends and, therefore, are called RegressiveTransgressive cycles (4th order).
Three different scales of cyclicity are observed
ranging from 3rd order sequences through 4th order
R-T cycles to individual 5th order deltaic cycles.
Each order shows a similar stacking pattern, with
regression followed
by transgression, thus
governing the stratigraphic distribution of reservoir
sands and reservoir quality.
A detailed understanding of the stratigraphic
controls on reservoir facies and reservoir quality has
obvious applications in the reservoir modeling
processes relating to layering strategy, facies
modeling and property modeling.

Allen, G.P. and Chambers, J.L.C. 1996.


Sedimentation Patterns In The Modern And Ancient
Miocene Mahakam Delta: Indonesian Petroleum
Association, Field Trip Guide Book, 73p.
Elliott, T. 1974. Interdistributary Bay Sequences
And Their Genesis: Sedimentology, 21, 611-622
Moss, S.J., Chambers, J.L.C., Cloke, I.R., Satria,
D., Ali, J.R., Baker, S., Milsom, J. and Carter. A.
1997. New Observation On The Sedimentary And
Tectonic Evolution Of The Tertiary Kutei Basin,
East Kalimantan. In: Fraser. A.J., Matthews, S.J.
and Murphy, R.W., eds. Petroleum Geology of
South Asia, Special Publication No. 126, 395-416.
Samson, Ph., Dewi-Rochette, T., Lescoeur, M. and
Cordelier, Ph. 2005. Peciko Geological Modeling:
Possible and Relevant Scales For Modeling A
Complex Giant Gas Field In A Mudstone
Dominated Deltaic Environment. Proceedings
Indonesian Petroleum Association, 30th Annual
Convention, IPA05-G-065.

Figure 1 - The Kutei Basin is located in East Kalimantan, Indonesia. Since the Miocene about 8000 m of
sediments was accumulated in this basin (Allen and Chambers, 1996).

Figure 2 - Field photograph of deltaic deposits exposed in the Samarinda road cutting. The section
becomes younger to the left.

Figure 3 - Geological map of the Kutei Basin and surrounding margins, East Kalimantan. (modified from Moss et al., 1997).

Figure 4 - Outcrop photograph of distributary channel sand body overlying a coal bed.

Figure 5 - Outcrop photograph of stacked fluvial channels.

Figure 6 - Outcrop photograph of thickening- and coarsening-upward successions interpreted as


distributary-mouth bar deposits.

Figure 7 - Summary outcrop log, of the Middle Miocene deltaic succession in Samarinda showing 3 tiered
hierarchy of vertical stacking patterns.

Figure 8 - Well logs in the Peciko field showing different scales of stratigraphic cyclicity observed in the
subsurface.