Geochemical Modelling of Diagenetic Illite and Quartz Cement Formation in Brent Sandstone Reservoirs: Example of the Hild Field, Norwegian North Sea

  1. Richard H. Worden3 and
  2. Sadoon Morad4
  1. Bernard Sanjuan1,
  2. Jean-Pierre Girard1,
  3. Sandra Lanini1,
  4. Anne Bourguignon1 and
  5. Étienne Brosse2

Published Online: 17 MAR 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9781444304336.ch19

Clay Mineral Cements in Sandstones

Clay Mineral Cements in Sandstones

How to Cite

Sanjuan, B., Girard, J.-P., Lanini, S., Bourguignon, A. and Brosse, É. (1999) Geochemical Modelling of Diagenetic Illite and Quartz Cement Formation in Brent Sandstone Reservoirs: Example of the Hild Field, Norwegian North Sea, in Clay Mineral Cements in Sandstones (eds R. H. Worden and S. Morad), Blackwell Publishing Ltd., Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444304336.ch19

Editor Information

  1. 3

    Department of Earth Sciences, University of Liverpool, Brownlow Street, Liverpool L69 3GP, UK

  2. 4

    Department of Earth Sciences, Uppsala University, Villa vägen 16, S-752 36 Uppsala, Sweden

Author Information

  1. 1

    BRGM-3, Av. Claude Guillemin, 45060 Orleans Cedex 2, France

  2. 2

    IFP-1, Av. Bois-Préau, 92500 Rueil-Malmaison Cedex, France

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 17 MAR 2009
  2. Published Print: 7 OCT 1999

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405105873

Online ISBN: 9781444304336



  • geochemical modelling of diagenetic cement formation, Hild field;
  • clay mineral reactions during burial diagenesis - controlled by changes in mineral stability;
  • constraints on simulation conditions;
  • HILDSIM simulator;
  • geochemical modelling - closed-system conditions;
  • outcomes of closed-system simulations;
  • influence of aqueous acetate concentration;
  • application to modelling Hild diagenesis;
  • coupled chemistry–transport model (HILDSIM–MARTHE)


Deep burial diagenesis in the Brent reservoir sandstones of the Hild Field, Norwegian North Sea, was responsible for the development of illite and quartz, and the extensive dissolution of kaolinite and K-feldspar at T>100°C. Geochemical modelling and numerical simulations were conducted in an attempt to reproduce these diagenetic processes.

Present-day formation water in Hild is a Na[BOND]Cl brine (total dissolved solids ≈ 70 gl−1) with a calculated pH of about 5.2 in reservoir conditions. Saturation indices (150°C, 800bar) indicate equilibrium with kaolinite, illite, paragonite and calcite, near-equilibrium with quartz and disordered dolomite, and marked undersaturation with respect to anorthite, albite, K-feldspar and phengite. Numerical simulations performed in closed- and open-system conditions, using sea water, present-day formation water and fresh water as pore-water, indicate that illitization in Hild is controlled by the closed-system reaction: K-feldspar + kaolinite [RIGHTWARDS DOUBLE ARROW] illite + 2 quartz H2O. The results indicate further that the initial proportion of K-feldspar and kaolinite in the reacting rock constitutes the primary factor controlling the amount of diagenetic quartz and illite generated in numerical models. Variables such as T (between 100 and 150°C), p CO2 and aqueous acetate concentration have little influence on simulation outcomes.

The amount of diagenetic illite (average =6%) present in the reservoir can readily be reproduced numerically by adjusting the K-feldspar content and K-feldspar/kaolinite molar ratio (which must be <1) in the initial assemblage reconstructed from petrography. Spatial variation in the present day diagenetic illite content most likely reflects primarily variation in K-feldspar abundance at the time of illitization. In contrast, the amount of diagenetic quartz observed in the reservoir (average =10%) cannot be achieved numerically by the reaction described, suggesting that a contribution by pressure-solution was significant. Numerical simulation further illustrates that the illitization process is not responsible for the loss of porosity that affected the Hild Brent sandstones. Mechanical compaction and quartz cementation are more likely causes.

This study illustrates that numerical modelling in closed-system or open-system conditions is useful in simulating diagenetic transformations observed in illitized Brent reservoirs provided that sufficient constraints can be placed on mineralogy, fluid chemistry and pressure–temperature conditions of the system.