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Natural mineralized fractures from the Montney-Doig unconventional reservoirs (Western Canada Sedimentary Basin): Timing and controlling factors

Abstract : Characterizing the origin of natural fractures in organic-rich fine-grained deposits is key to constraining permeability evolution in these potential source rocks and tight reservoirs, as well as to assess the hydraulic connectivity of the fluid systems in which they develop. Differently oriented calcite-filled fractures (i.e. veins), hosted by organic-rich mudrocks of the Lower-Middle Triassic Montney-Doig unconventional resource play (Western Canada Sedimentary Basin), were sampled in sub-surface well cores from British Columbia. A multidisciplinary approach (including sedimentology, Rock-Eval pyrolysis, petrography, O–C–Sr isotope geochemistry and fluid inclusion microthermometry) was applied to host-rocks and fracture filling calcites. The results demonstrate the relevance and usefulness of such multidisciplinary studies to gather insights on: 1) the lithology-related factors controlling fracture occurrence; 2) the timing of fracture opening and the origin of the circulating paleo-fluids; 3) the openness of the fluid system through time. More specifically, host-rock facies (particularly grain size) and vertical facies changes appear to be the leading factors controlling fracture occurrence. A less relevant role was played by the occurrence of diagenetic carbonates, while TOC possibly did not control fracture occurrence. Three generations of calcite cemented fractures were identified. Vertical fractures (first generation) post-dated the onset of oil generation (Late Cretaceous). Horizontal, bedding-parallel fractures (second generation) post-dated the onset of gas generation and possibly opened close to maximum burial, corresponding to peak hydrocarbon (CH4) generation (Late Cretaceous - Early Paleogene). Vertical fractures (third generation) post-dated the horizontal ones and opened during basin uplift (Middle to Late Paleogene). The consistent petrographic and geochemical features of all the calcite cements point to parent fluids in equilibrium with the host-rock lithologies, that possibly behaved as a closed hydraulic system during Late Cretaceous to Paleogene time; this would support the hypothesis that, at least in the portion of the basin investigated, the Montney Fm also acted as source rock of the unconventional system.
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Marta Gasparrini, Olivier Lacombe, Sébastien Rohais, Belkacemi Mohammed, Tristan Euzen. Natural mineralized fractures from the Montney-Doig unconventional reservoirs (Western Canada Sedimentary Basin): Timing and controlling factors. Marine and Petroleum Geology, Elsevier, 2021, 124, pp.104826. ⟨10.1016/j.marpetgeo.2020.104826⟩. ⟨insu-03097687⟩

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