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The Lower Cretaceous Viking Formation in the Crystal field of south-central Alberta contains a linear sandstone body, as much as 30 m thick, that forms a complicated dual-pool hydrocarbon reservoir. This contrasts sharply with most other Viking reservoirs, which are much thinner, are commonly oriented northwest, and are composed of a single hydrocarbon pool. Thickness, orientation, and pool duality are attributed to the complicated depositional history of the Viking in the Crystal region. The sandstone body is interpreted as a multistage tidal channel-fill deposit within a larger estuarine channel-bay complex, which rests unconformably on inner shelf-lower shoreface facies. A major lowstand of sea level that occurred approximately 97 m.y. ago is believed to be responsible for incisement of the estuarine valley, which was filled during rising sea level.
A depositional model of progressive estuarine valley fill under transgressive conditions readily accounts for the occurrence of two hydrodynamically separated oil pools, and also for differences in reservoir continuity and performance trends within the main oil-bearing "A" pool. Highly productive wells in the main pool correspond to specific channel-fill deposits, or are situated in areas where deposits of successive channel stages are highly superimposed. Conversely, marginally productive wells and poor reservoir communication between producing wells occur in areas where the different channel-stage deposits diverge.
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