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ABSTRACT: Early Cambrian Relief Sandstone, Officer Basin, South Australia--An Example of Secondary Porosity Development

Chris J. Gaugham, John K. Warren

The Lower Cambrian Relief Sandstone has been drilled and cored at seven locations in the eastern Officer basin, central Australia. Core, well log, petrographic, and x-ray diffraction analyses have been used to subdivide the Relief Sandstone into stratigraphic units and individual depositional environments, and to determined controlling factors on known reservoir distribution and quality.

Interest in the Relief Sandstone as a potential economic oil-bearing sandstone is supported by excellent reservoir quality (up to 26.5% porosity and 4839 md permeability). Potential source rocks are found above, below and interfingering with the Relief Sandstone. There are several occurrences of live oil bleeding from vugs and fractures in a stratigraphically higher carbonate. Traces of oil in the Relief sands and the presence of live oil in relatively close proximity suggests that the Relief Sandstone could host an economic oil accumulation.

The majority of the Relief Sandstone was deposited in eolian or braided fluvial environments, with some alluvial fan sedimentation in the east, and tidal- to shallow-marine deposition in the west. Distribution of reservoir-quality sands is bimodal. In the east, porosity and permeability for the most part are very poor to average. In the west, porosity and permeability are generally good to excellent. The bulk of the economic porosity is secondary, a result of dissolution of cement and matrix, with minor porosity from leaching of grains. The lower reservoir quality in the east is due to diagenesis associated with compaction and authigenic illite. Grain packing with suturing and silica overgrowths have reduced primary porosity to noneconomic levels. Permeability has been reduced by thes processes and by the blocking of pore throats with authigenic illite. In the west, the porosity and permeability are high and generally due to dissolution of clay cement and primary matrix. In some cases where the clay has undergone less dissolution, it remains as grain rims and still blocks pore throats. This significantly reduces permeability although the porosity may remain high.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #91003©1990 AAPG Annual Convention, San Francisco, California, June 3-6, 1990