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AAPG Bulletin


AAPG Bulletin, V. 87, No. 11 (November 2003), P. 1699-1715.

Copyright copy2003. The American Association of Petroleum Geologists. All rights reserved.

Pool characterization of Ordovician Midale field: Implication for Red River play in northern Williston basin, southeastern Saskatchewan, Canada

Written by Renhai Pu,1 Hairuo Qing2

Geology by Renhai Pu,1 Hairuo Qing,2 Donald M. Kent,3 Mark A. Urban4

1Department of Geology, Northwest University, Xi'an, Shaanxi 710069, China; email: [email protected]
2Department of Geology, University of Regina, Regina Saskatchewan, Canada, S4S 0A2; email: [email protected]
3D. M. Kent Consulting Geologist Ltd., 86 Metcalfe Road, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, SV4 0H8
4Department of Geology, University of Regina, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, S4S 0A2


Renhai Pu received a B.S. degree in petroleum geology from the Chengdu College of Geology (China) in 1983, an M.S. degree from the China University of Geosciences (Beijing) in 1990, and a Ph.D. from Northwest University (China) in 1998. He has been teaching seismic interpretation and sequence stratigraphy in Northwest University (China) for 13 years. His current research interests are in reservoir prediction and exploration of subtle traps.

Hairuo Qing is an associate professor at the University of Regina. His research interests include characterization of carbonate reservoirs, geochemistry and diagenesis of dolomites, and secular variation of isotopic composition of seawater in geologic history. He obtained his B.Sc. degree from the Chengdu University of Technology and his M.Sc. degree and his Ph.D. (Dean's honor list) from McGill University.

Don Kent is a professor emeritus and adjunct professor at the University of Regina, as well as a consulting petroleum geologist. His interests are carbonate sedimentology and diagenesis and carbonate reservoir characterization. He has spent 44 years studying and publishing papers on Paleozoic carbonates in the northern Williston basin, with particular emphasis on Mississippian, Devonian, and Ordovician rocks.

Mark A. Urban received a B.Sc. degree in geology from the University of Regina in 2002. He is currently a graduate student at the same university, working on an M.Sc. project on reservoir characterization of the Red River "B" in the northern Williston basin.


Much of this work was conducted while Renhai Pu was a visiting scientist at the University of Regina, sponsored by the China Scholar Council. The funding of this project is from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (Discovery Grant 155012 to Qing), Nexen Energy (Calgary), and the Petroleum Technology Research Center (Regina). Talisman Energy (Calgary) provided 3-D and 2-D seismic data and synthetic seismograms. We would like to acknowledge the assistance from the personnel at the Subsurface Core-Lab of Saskatchewan Industry and Resources for core examination and data gathering. We benefited greatly from discussions with R. Alway (ExxonMobil), J. Arseneault and S. Brame (Talisman), F. Haidl and K. Kreis (Saskatchewan Industry and Resources), D. Leckie and R. Galant (Nexen), C. Sitzler (Anadarko), and L. Stasiuk (Geological Survey of Canada). The constructive comments by AAPG Bulletin reviewer Scott P. Cooper and editor John Lorenz significantly improved the manuscript.


The Upper Ordovician Midale field is located in the northern Williston basin in southeast Saskatchewan, Canada. Hydrocarbons are hosted mainly in the dolomite reservoirs with burrowed textures in the upper Yeoman Formation. These reservoirs are characterized by intercrystalline porosity in the dolomitized matrix, with variable amounts of vugs and fractures, and can be divided into four zones. Reservoir zones 1 and 2, typically 6–10 m (20–33 ft) thick in total, are situated in the upper part of the traps and commonly bear oil. Although the underlying zones 3 and 4 are thicker, they commonly contain only water because they are located below the spillpoint of the hydrocarbon traps.

The seismic reflection of the Red River reservoirs in the Midale field is characterized by a weak- to medium-amplitude trough immediately above the positive reflection of the Winnipeg shale. Where all four zones are present, an additional peak occurs on the seismic profile above the original reservoir reflection. This additional peak, however, disappears where reservoir zones 3 and 4 pinch out. Where there is an increase in the thickness of reservoir zones 1 and 2 or amalgamation of zone 1 with zone 2, the Red River reservoirs are characterized by high-amplitude and high-frequency reflections on seismic profiles.

The Ordovician oil pools in the Midale area are associated with low-relief anticline structures. These low-relief structures are interpreted as the compactional drape of Red River strata over local Precambrian basement highs. The source of hydrocarbons in the Red River reservoirs is Ordovician kukersites. A wide range of API fractions for the oils from the Midale pools suggests a mixing of low-maturity oils, sourced from local kukersite beds, and high-maturity oils that migrated over a long distance from the south. The hydrocarbon production from Red River Midale pools is characterized by the fast rise of water cut and high water output, which can be attributed to the small pool size and the fracture systems connecting oil and water zones.

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