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Abstract: Reservoir Characterization Through Facies Analysis of Core and Outcrop of the Lower Green River Formation: Hydrocarbon Production Enhancement in the Altamont-Bluebell Field, Uinta Basin, Utah

Marybeth Wegner, Ann Garner, Thomas H. Morris

The Altamont-Bluebell Field has produced over 125 million barrels of oil from lacustrine rocks of the Green River Formation, yet operators have not been able to accurately distinguish productive zones from non-productive, thief, and water-bearing zones. Low recoverability is largely due to the lack of understanding of the relationship between heterolithic facies, reservoir fracture systems and clay migration. These areas were investigated by analyzing over 457 meters of core from the Bluebell area and 843 meters of outcrop from the Willow Creek area.

Approximately 60% of the core consists of carbonates and 40% consists of clastics (predominantly sandstones). The carbonate rocks in general have good porosity and randomly oriented, interconnected fractures, whereas the fractures in the sandstones are more vertical and isolated. The sandstones, however, do have the best reservoir capacity due to inherent interparticle porosity. Preliminary analysis of clay types indicates swelling illite-smectite mixed layer clays as well as kaolinite in both the clastic and carbonate rocks. These swelling clay types combine with the high pour point waxy oils to reduce production efficiency and total recovery.

Outcrop studies conducted in the Willow Creek Canyon area help establish facies heterogeneity and reservoir storage capacity of lithology within the facies belts that have been defined in the Altamont-Bluebell field. Although production primarily occurs from fractured lithology, core plug analyses of more than 10 lithology indicate that arenites have the greatest potential for reservoir capacity, with porosities as high as 27%. This suggests that an association of arenites with fractured lithology would provide the best scenario for long-term production.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90959©1995 AAPG Rocky Mountain Section Meeting, Reno, Nevada