Upper Paleozoic to Mesozoic eolian blanket sandstones of the Colorado Plateau and the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and southern Wyoming are texturally complex. As petroleum reservoirs they commonly have poor performance histories. They contain the sediments of a depositional system comprised of three closely associated depositional subenvironments: dune, interdune, and extradune. Sediments of each subenvironment have different textural properties which resulted from different depositional processes. Dune sediments are usually more porous and permeable than interdune or extradune sediments and may be better quality reservoirs than interdune or extradune sediments. Interdune sediments are here restricted to those nondune sediments deposited in the relatively flat areas between dunes. Extradune sediments (a new term) include all deposits adjacent to a dune field and are mainly subaqueous deposits. Dune sediments may be enveloped by extradune sediments as the depositional system evolves resulting in a texturally inhomogeneous reservoir having poor fluid migration properties.
This model of textural inhomogeneity in eolian blanket sandstones. was applied to the Weber (Tensleep) Sandstone in Brady, Wertz, and Lost Soldier fields, Sweetwater County, Wyoming. Data were obtained from both outcrop and subsurface and included environmental interpretation, textural analysis, and plotting of the distribution of depositional subenvironments. As predicted from the model, the texture of dune sediments in Brady field differed markedly from interdune and extradune sediments. The predicted geometric distribution of subenvironments was confirmed in Lost Soldier and Wertz fields. However, secondary cementation and fracturing there has obscured the original porosity and permeability contrasts. The porosity and permeability distribution, a characteristic depending partly on depositional processes, could impede fluid migration in the reservoir and significantly reduce recovery of hydrocarbons.
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USGS Numbered Series
Lithology and chemical analyses of core and cuttings from USGS drill hole near Gold Acres, Lander County, Nevada