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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

AAPG Bulletin


Volume: 79 (1995)

Issue: 9. (September)

First Page: 1301

Last Page: 1319

Title: Depositional Setting, Sequence Stratigraphy, Diagenesis, and Reservoir Potential of a Mixed-Lithology, Upwelling Deposit: Upper Triassic Shublik Formation, Prudhoe Bay, Alaska

Author(s): Julie A. Kupecz (2)


The Upper Triassic Shublik Formation within the Prudhoe Bay field unit, North Slope, Alaska, is a potentially economic hydrocarbon reservoir comprised of mixed lithology and mineralogy. Its composition includes limestone, phosphate, shale, siltstone, and sandstone, as well as accessory amounts of siderite, glauconite, pyrite, kaolinite, and dolomite. Within the Prudhoe Bay field unit, the Shublik has been subdivided into four zones, lettered from base to top, D through A, which become thinner and show evidence of deposition under higher energy conditions toward the northeast. The formation is truncated to the east by the regional Lower Cretaceous unconformity.

Zones within the Shublik comprise a basal transgressive systems tract (conglomerate lag at the Shublik Formation/Ivishak Formation contact through basal zone C shales) and two highstand shallowing-upward parasequences (zones C through B, and zone A, respectively). The parasequences are bounded by shales interpreted to represent deposition during periods of marine flooding. The contact between the Shublik and the overlying Sag River Formation juxtaposes comparatively deeper marine Shublik with shallower water glauconitic sandstones of the Sag River Formation. The contact is unconformable and is interpreted to represent a regional sequence boundary. Lithofacies of the Shublik are interpreted to have been coeval depositional facies of an upwelling system. Relative sea level changes durin Shublik deposition are interpreted to have caused the observed vertical and lateral variability in lithofacies via systematic changes between anaerobic, dysaerobic, and aerobic upwelling conditions.

Dissolution of carbonate allochems resulted in the creation of moldic porosity that positively affected reservoir quality (i.e., permeability) in the carbonate packstone/grainstone facies. Areas of highest porosity are in the northern and northeastern parts of the field, which correspond to a combination of facies-controlled reservoir quality improvement toward the northeast and carbonate dissolution along the Lower Cretaceous unconformity and the North Prudhoe Bay fault zone. Oil in place for the Shublik within the Prudhoe Bay unit is estimated to be between 250 and 500 million bbl. Although permeabilities are generally low throughout the field area, the Shublik Formation has the potential to add significant reserves to the Prudhoe Bay field unit.

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