Electrofacies definition and zonation of the lower Cretaceous Barra Velha Formation carbonate reservoir in the pre-salt sequence of the Santos Basin, SE Brazil


by M. Molina Camargo, G. F. Chinelatto, M. Basso, A. C. Vidal, published at Journal of Petroleum Geology, September 2022, Vol. 45, 439-459.



Lower Cretaceous carbonates in the pre-salt succession in the Santos Basin, eastern Brazil, are highly heterogeneous in terms of their reservoir characteristics as a result of depositional and diagenetic factors. Electrofacies have widely been used for reservoir zonation and, when allied with computer-based methods such as neural networks, may help with the study of such complex reservoir rocks and with the identification of high-quality reservoir zones. In this work, an unsupervised artificial neural network known as a self-organizing map (SOM) was used to carry out a zonation of the pre-salt carbonates in the Aptian Barra Velha Formation, the main reservoir unit in the Santos Basin. Available data included gramma-ray, neutron porosity, resistivity deep, sonic, density, photoelectric factor, total porosity and effective porosity profiles from 21 wells together with mineralogical models. Core descriptions and thin section images were used as additional data for the lithological characterization of the electrofacies and consequently for reservoir zonation. A total of four electrofacies were defined from the SOM application, and five reservoir zones were identified.

The characterization of the reservoir zones also considered the structural locations of the wells based on the relative depth to top- Barra Velha Formation; well locations were classified as structurally high, intermediate or low. Based on the reservoir zone characteristics, the results could be correlated with zonations in previous studies. A general tendency was noted for there to be an increase of finer-grained sediments in the formation in wells located in structural lows; packstone and mudstone facies were prevalent in these wells and were in general characterized as poor-quality reservoir rocks. By contrast, the shrubstones and grainstones which were more frequent in structurally high wells comprised higher quality reservoir rocks.

The basal reservoir zone showed wide lithological variation compared to the overlying reservoir zones. Grainstone-dominated facies were identified in the middle of the formation, and the uppermost reservoir zones were characterized by an upward increase in shrubstones and reworked grainstones which in general pointed to better quality reservoirs.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/jpg.12827

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