Understanding the linkages between grain mineralogy and diagenetic and sedimentary processes enhances the reliability of petrophysical models to predict reservoir deliverability from permeability. Petrographic data within well-defined depositional facies reveal the diagenetic evolution of porosity-permeability relationships. Formation evaluation methods relying solely on petrophysical rock typing are seriously limited when predicting ultimate reservoir performance in complex pore structures. The Almond Formation, Wyoming, is characterized by three depositional facies associations — shoreface, deltaic (bay head and flood tide), and fluvial-coastal plain — which present three distinctive porosity-permeability trends. Textural features resulting from depositional processes, such as grain size and sorting, vary little between facies associations, yet permeability can vary by up to four orders of magnitude for the same porosity value. Differences between petrophysical facies are primarily driven by diagenetic (cementation and grain dissolution) effects on different framework grain compositions (petrographic facies). Therefore, the main difference between the facies associations is diagenetic, due to provenance and transport mechanisms. The characterization of depositional and diagenetic controls on pore geometry allows the narrowing of uncertainty in absolute permeability prediction. We have quantified the relationship between depositional facies, with their specific mineral composition and diagenetic overprint, and the steepness functions in porosity-permeability space. This analysis allowed us to effectively reduce the uncertainty in the prediction of initial gas production from wireline logs.
- Received July 1, 2016.
- Revision received October 4, 2016.
- Accepted October 11, 2016.