AAPG ANNUAL CONFERENCE AND EXHIBITION
Making the Next Giant Leap in Geosciences
April 10-13, 2011, Houston, Texas, USA
Arabian Gulf, One More Time
(1) College of Marine Scienc, U. of South Florida, St. Petersburg, FL.
(2) University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC.
The sabkha, dolomite, evaporite/barrier islands of the Arabian Gulf remain one of petroleum geologists’ most useful sedimentary models for understanding and exploiting ancient tidal-flat reservoirs, especially those in the Permian Basin area of West Texas. Repeated re-examination of the sabkhas, investigated before the advent of sequence stratigraphy and our understanding of rapid precipitation of micritic carbonates, have provided additional insights into the architecture and sedimentary processes that constructed these classical areas. In particular, ongoing dynamics of the carbonate chenier/beach-spit complexes and the creation of new beachrock and rapid sediment precipitation in the Gulf have significantly refined our knowledge of these special sedimentary processes since the seminal studies of the 1960s. These modern reservoir-size accumulations include impermeable bored and eroded marine cemented layers that, under the guidelines of sequence stratigraphy, could be misinterpreted as flooding sequences. Such relatively impermeable synsedimentary rock layers may also explain early creation of compartmentalization and isolation of fluids in certain carbonate reservoirs. In addition, we now know that synsedimentary marine cementation creates hard surfaces that can, in turn, control distribution of fossils and sediment-producing organisms that, in turn, become cemented and thus perpetuate the process. Renewed field examination of these areas of sediment accumulation with these newly appreciated processes in mind may generate new ideas useful for both hydrocarbon and groundwater exploration. Is it time to reexamine the classical areas in the field while at the same time simulating and modeling these accumulations with our new digital tools?