Sequence stratigraphic controls on reservoir characterization and architecture: case study of the Messinian Abu Madi incised-valley fill, Egypt

Mohamed Abdel-Fattah 1  and Roger Slatt 2
  • 1 Geology Department, Faculty of Science, Suez Canal University, Ismailia, Egypt
  • 2 Institute of Reservoir Characterization and ConocoPhillips School of Geology and Geophysics, University of Oklahoma, Norman, USA


Understanding sequence stratigraphy architecture in the incised-valley is a crucial step to understanding the effect of relative sea level changes on reservoir characterization and architecture. This paper presents a sequence stratigraphic framework of the incised-valley strata within the late Messinian Abu Madi Formation based on seismic and borehole data. Analysis of sand-body distribution reveals that fluvial channel sandstones in the Abu Madi Formation in the Baltim Fields, offshore Nile Delta, Egypt, are not randomly distributed but are predictable in their spatial and stratigraphic position. Elucidation of the distribution of sandstones in the Abu Madi incised-valley fill within a sequence stratigraphic framework allows a better understanding of their characterization and architecture during burial.

Strata of the Abu Madi Formation are interpreted to comprise two sequences, which are the most complex stratigraphically; their deposits comprise a complex incised valley fill. The lower sequence (SQ1) consists of a thick incised valley-fill of a Lowstand Systems Tract (LST1)) overlain by a Transgressive Systems Tract (TST1) and Highstand Systems Tract (HST1). The upper sequence (SQ2) contains channel-fill and is interpreted as a LST2 which has a thin sandstone channel deposits. Above this, channel-fill sandstone and related strata with tidal influence delineates the base of TST2, which is overlain by a HST2. Gas reservoirs of the Abu Madi Formation (present-day depth ∼3552 m), the Baltim Fields, Egypt, consist of fluvial lowstand systems tract (LST) sandstones deposited in an incised valley. LST sandstones have a wide range of porosity (15 to 28%) and permeability (1 to 5080mD), which reflect both depositional facies and diagenetic controls.

This work demonstrates the value of constraining and evaluating the impact of sequence stratigraphic distribution on reservoir characterization and architecture in incised-valley deposits, and thus has an important impact on reservoir quality evolution in hydrocarbon exploration in such settings.

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