Experimental mechanical compaction of reconstituted shale and mudstone aggregates: Investigation of petrophysical and acoustic properties of SW Barents Sea cap rock sequences
This study investigates petrophysical and acoustic properties of experimentally compacted reconstituted samples of seal sequences from the southwestern Barents Sea. The aggregates were collected from drill cuttings of mudstone and shale formations of two exploration wells, 7220/10-1 (Salina discovery) and 7122/7-3 (Goliat field). The washed and freeze-dried samples were characterized for grain size distributions, geochemical analyses, and mineralogical compositions. A total of 25 compaction tests (12 dry and 13 brine-saturated) were performed with a maximum effective vertical stress of 50 MPa. The laboratory measurements demonstrated that petrophysical and acoustic properties of argillaceous sediments can change within a sedimentary basin and even within a given formation. The results show that the collected aggregates from Goliat field are compacted more compared to Salina discovery. The maximum and minimum compaction are measured in samples collected from Snadd and Fuglen formations, respectively. The final porosity of brine-saturated specimens varies between 5% and 22%. The ultrasonic velocity measurements depict that samples with the same porosity values can have a broad range of velocity values. The resulting compaction trends in this study were compared to published compaction curves for synthetic mixtures of quartz and clay. All compaction trends show higher porosity reduction than the silt fraction with 100% quartz. Comparison of experimental compaction result of each mudstone and shale aggregate with its corresponding acquired well log data helps to delineate the burial history and exhumation in the study area. A net exhumation of 950 m and 800 m is estimated at Salina and Goliat wells, respectively. The outcomes of this study can provide insights for hydrocarbon prospect discovery in a pre-mature sedimentary basin in terms of exploration and production, and also for geological CO 2 storage sites. The experimental results may provide information for well log and seismic interpretation, basin modeling and seal integrity of investigated horizons.
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