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AAPG Bulletin, V.
High-frequency Miocene sequence stratigraphy, offshore Louisiana: Cycle framework and influence on production distribution in a mature shelf province
1Bureau of Economic Geology, John A. and Katherine G. Jackson School of Geosciences, University of Texas at Austin, Box X, University Station, Austin, Texas, 78713; email: [email protected]
2Bureau of Economic Geology, John A. and Katherine G. Jackson School of Geosciences, University of Texas at Austin, Box X, University Station, Austin, Texas, 78713
Tucker F. Hentz is a research associate at the Bureau of Economic Geology, University of Texas at Austin, which he joined in 1982. He graduated cum laude with a B.A. degree in geology from Franklin & Marshall College in 1977 and received his M.S. degree in geology from the University of Kansas in 1982. His research interests include the regional sequence stratigraphy of gas-bearing successions in the Anadarko basin, Rio Grande embayment, and Gulf Coast basin.
Hongliu Zeng has been a research scientist at the Bureau of Economic Geology, University of Texas at Austin, since 1997. His research interests include seismic sedimentology, seismic stratigraphy, and special seismic processing, applied to petroleum prospecting. He earned his B.S. (1982) and M.S. (1985) degrees in geology from the Petroleum University of China and his Ph.D. (1994) in geophysics from the University of Texas at Austin.
We acknowledge the significant research contributions to this study made by our colleagues, namely, Lesli J. Wood, L. Frank Brown Jr., Michael V. DeAngelo, Adrian C. Badescu, Cem O. Kili, and Claudia Rassi. John T. Ames and Jana S. Robinson prepared the figures under the direction of Joel L. Lardon. Susann V. Doenges copyedited the text prior to the submission of the revised draft. Peer reviews by William E. Galloway, James P. Rogers, and Peter K. Webb are greatly appreciated and have improved the manuscript.
This article was prepared with the support of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) under Cooperative Agreement No. DE-FC26-98FT40136, with Gary P. Sames as the project manager. However, any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the DOE. As an industry partner, Chevron-Texaco contributed the well-log, production, and 3-D seismic data. Landmark Graphics Corporation provided software for display of well-log correlations and interpretation of seismic data via the Landmark University Grant Program. The Owen-Coates Fund of the Geology Foundation, University of Texas at Austin, provided partial support of publication costs. This article was published with the permission of the director of Bureau of Economic Geology, John A. and Katherine G. Jackson School of Geosciences, University of Texas at Austin.
The regressive Miocene succession of offshore Louisiana comprises 10 third-order sequences and no fewer than 58 fourth-order sequences, which average approximately 1.1 and 0.19 m.y. in duration, respectively, comparable to durations measured in the Gulf Coast Basin and basins worldwide. Upper lower to middle Miocene distal third-order sequences comprise mostly lowstand prograding-wedge, slope-fan, and basin-floor-fan deposits. In contrast, middle to upper Miocene medial sequences record progressively more landward systems tracts: (1) the lateral transition between on-shelf incised-valley fills and the proximal parts of basinward-thickening, lowstand prograding wedges and (2) cyclic on-shelf highstand and transgressive systems tracts. Upper Miocene inner-shelf and marginal marine systems tracts and more abundant incised valleys dominate the thinner proximal third-order sequences.
This genetic framework has a major influence on hydrocarbon distribution. Although a strong structural-trapping component is present in the fields, more than 90% of cumulative production originates where fourth-order systems tracts stack to form third-order lowstand systems tracts in all 10 third-order sequences. The development of a high-frequency sequence framework for the prolific Miocene succession and the discovery that hydrocarbons are pooled within the Miocene third-order lowstand systems tracts yield a focused model for the development of abundant undiscovered Miocene reserves in the mature northern Gulf of Mexico shelf province.
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