Diagenesis in the Middle Jurassic Khatatba Formation sandstones in the Shoushan Basin, northern Western Desert, Egypt



The Middle Jurassic Khatatba Formation acts as a hydrocarbon reservoir in the subsurface in the Western Desert, Egypt. This study, which is based on core samples from two exploration boreholes, describes the lithological and diagenetic characteristics of the Khatatba Formation sandstones. The sandstones are fine- to coarse-grained, moderately to well-sorted quartz arenites, deposited in fluvial channels and in a shallow-marine setting. Diagenetic components include mechanical and chemical compaction, cementation (calcite, clay minerals, quartz overgrowths, and a minor amount of pyrite), and dissolution of calcite cements and feldspar grains. The widespread occurrence of an early calcite cement suggests that the Khatatba sandstones lost a significant amount of primary porosity at an early stage of its diagenetic history. In addition to calcite, several different cements including kaolinite and syntaxial quartz overgrowth occur as pore-filling and pore-lining cements. Kaolinite (largely vermicular) fills pore spaces and causes reduction in the permeability of the reservoir. Based on framework grain–cement relationships, precipitation of the early calcite cement was either accompanied by or followed the development of part of the pore-lining and pore-filling cements. Secondary porosity development occurred due to partial to complete dissolution of early calcite cements and feldspar. Late kaolinite clay cement occurs due to dissolved feldspar and has an impact on the reservoir quality of the Khatatba sandstones. Open hydraulic fractures also generated significant secondary porosity in sandstone reservoirs, where both fractures and dissolution took place in multiple phases during late diagenetic stages.

The diagenesis and sedimentary facies help control the reservoir quality of the Khatatba sandstones. Fluvial channel sandstones have the highest porosities and permeabilities, in part because of calcite cementation, which inhibited authigenic clays or was later dissolved, creating intergranular secondary porosity. Fluvial crevasse-splay and marine sandstones have the lowest reservoir quality because of an abundance of depositional kaolinite matrix and pervasive, shallow-burial calcite and quartz overgrowth cements, respectively. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.