The Middle Jurassic Brent Group of the northern North Sea presents a mature and highly productive reservoir play fairway where a combination of effective facies analysis and depositional sequence stratigraphy offers real potential to optimize exploitation. The north of the Brent province differs from classically studied southern areas in being dominated by marginal-marine delta-front facies. A core- and log-based study of 37 wells around the Don fields was performed to establish a sequence stratigraphic framework, map facies and thereby describe facies architecture. The results demonstrate that reservoir quality and productivity are regionally and locally controlled by facies. Of particular interest are intervals of fluvio-estuarine channel to sharp-based shoreface sandstone that formed during sea-level lowstands, since it is these packages that boost well productivity but, conversely, also increase the risk of early water breakthrough on production. Analogy with the Saloum Delta of Senegal highlights the importance of rapid and continuous barrier migration and destruction in controlling the deflection and switching of fluvio-estuarine channels, explaining also the preferential preservation of channel-floor deposits over continuously eroded barrier and delta-top facies. Interpretations suggest that deposition in the study area was dominated by punctuated progradation of the Brent Delta, as periods of delta plain incision alternated with episodes of base-level rise and delta aggradation/progradation. A model of regression for the Brent Delta is presented, where the Rannoch, Etive and Ness formations are an amalgam of highstand, falling stage and lowstand systems tract deposits, and the Tarbert Formation is a transgressive systems tract deposit, with the delta responding to regional relative sea-level changes driven by uplift and deflation of the mid North Sea dome. The prograding Brent Delta is characterized as a succession of attached shorefaces formed by alternating periods of normal and forced regression. Significantly, this explains the long distance (>200 km) build out of the Brent Delta and the continued presence of coarse-sandstone packages, as well as the potential for high-quality reservoirs even in the distal reaches of the system. It also suggests that there is limited potential for lowstand fan plays beyond the northernmost tip of the delta.
- © 2013 The Authors
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