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Maben Field—Analogue for Ordovician Exploration in the Black Warrior Basin of Mississippi, U.S.A


Ponder, Randy1, Enzo Insalaco2, Frédéric Walgenwitz2, Jean-Pierre Houzay2 (1) Total E&P USA, Inc, Houston, TX (2) Total S.A, Pau, France


Maben Field produces gas from the Ordovician in the Black Warrior Basin and provides an analog for understanding the factors in exploring this trend along the Appalachian-Ouachita orogenic belt.

Maben Field rreservoir quality is clearly influenced by complex interactions between depositional facies, dolomite texture/crystal size, hydrocarbon migration/alteration and diagenesis. The depositional system was low energy with a scarcity of sabkha and other evaporites. Not all grainstones are porous reflecting porosity occlusion by calcite, limpid dolomite, bitumen in order of importance. The diagenetic history of the Ordovician reser­voir is described as early replacement dolomitization (tidal flat), followed by limpid dolomite and calcite type 1 cementation. Dolomite texture is controlled by the sedimenta­ry facies: sucrosic, porous dolomite in grainstones, anhedral tight mosaics in mudstones. Dissolution may be associated with exposure surfaces and meteoric invasion. Late deep burial dolomitization is at a low level and does not strongly alter the poroperm template inherited from the early stages.

The Mississippian Neal Shale is the primary source rock. The average TOC, recon­structed, is estimated to be 4.5% with a corresponding HI of 400 - 600. The kerogen type is 90% amorphous kerogen and 10% algal kerogen. High reflectivity of bitumen (3.65%) indicates high thermal stress acquired by deep burial during Late Paleozoic. Remnants of very high maturity oil in bitumen strongly suggest a pre-existing oil accumulation. Non­soluble high maturity bitumen + high maturity oil remnants, suggests oil-cracking rather than simple precipitation (i.e. de-asphalting). Gas is almost pure methane which isotopi­cally suggests very high maturity.