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Sandtrak: a new tool to further the understanding of sands within reservoir systems

Abstract

Heavy mineral analysis and detrital zircon geochronology are commonly used as sediment provenance tools within academia and the petroleum industry. Heavy mineral analysis gives insights into lithological composition of the source geology and detrital zircon geochronology provides information on the ages of initial igneous source rocks. In addition to identifying the ages of zircons, analysis of zircon geochemistry (e.g. U and Th ratios) can split different source units that are the same age. Furthermore, analysis of the morphology of individual zircons can provide information about the history of reworking of sediment. However, provenance studies require sizable data sets to maximise the understanding of sediment pathways from identified sources. Additionally they need to be fully integrated with other geological information (e.g. the stratigraphic framework) to be fully effective.

Chemostrat now offers Sandtrak which enable large detrital zircon and heavy mineral datasets to be analysed and obtained for provenance studies in a matter of weeks. Sandtrak came online as a commercial service on the 1st July 2013. Since then it has successfully processed ∼200 predominantly cutting samples comprising ∼4500 concordant zircons for detrital zircon geochronology and ~100 heavy mineral and mineral typological samples.

This paper will illustrate through the use of case studies from the West of Shetland, West of Ireland, Southern North Sea and Voring basins, how the large data sets produced by Sandtrak can be utilised to aid the petroleum industry. In addition it will demonstrate how the integration of these new techniques with standard stratigraphic tools can generate a wide variety of information to further the understanding of reservoirs and reservoir systems. Furthermore, these case studies will span a range of scales from understanding large scale sediment pathways along the western Atlantic margin to sediment input points at the basin scale and identifying sand on sand contacts within individual reservoirs.