Fluid mapping in deeply buried Ordovician paleokarst reservoirs in the Tarim Basin, western China

Research paper by Y. Y. Zhang, Z. D. Sun, J. F. Han, H. Y. Wang, C. Y. Fan

Indexed on: 09 Mar '16Published on: 23 Nov '15Published in: Geofluids


The storage spaces within deeply buried Ordovician paleokarst reservoirs in the Tarim Basin are mostly secondary and characterized by strong heterogeneity and some degree of anisotropy. The types of fluids that fill the spaces within these reservoirs are of great importance for hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation. However, fluid identification from seismic data is often controversial in this area because the seismic velocity for this particular reservoir could be significantly influenced by many factors, including pore shapes, porosity, fluid types, and mineral contents. In this study, we employ the differential effective medium‐Gassmann rock physics model to interpret and discuss the characteristics of conventional karstic carbonate reservoirs in the Tarim Basin that are filled with different fluids (oil, gas, and water) using logging data and thus objectively build corresponding fluid identification criteria. These criteria are subsequently evaluated by amplitude versus offset (AVO) forward analysis based on typical logging data and further applied to ascertain the reservoir fluid types in two different areas in the Tarim Basin based on prestack inversion results. For conventional carbonate reservoirs, gas can be distinguished from heavy oil and water, but heavy oil and water are broadly similar on seismic data. For condensate carbonate reservoirs, water can be differentiated from light oil (i.e., condensates) and gas, but light oil and gas demonstrate substantial similarities in terms of their seismic responses. The predicted fluid results are in good agreement with the results of drilling and oil testing. In particular, modeling the seismically resolvable reservoirs in the carbonate strata in the Tarim Basin, which have needle‐ and sphere‐shaped storage spaces (pore aspect ratio > 0.3) and clay content that is lower than 5%, indicates that fluid properties could be properly evaluated if the porosity is larger than 5% for conventional carbonate reservoirs and >7% for condensate carbonate reservoirs.