Interpretation: SEG 3 (2):SN1-SN20 (2015)

The Mid-Cretaceous Wasia Formation represents one of the most productive hydrocarbon carbonate sequences in the Middle East. In Saudi Arabia, limited integrated studies have assessed the complexity and spatial distribution of its reservoir depositional systems near to an intrashelf basin margin. This study was focused on an assessment of its 3D seismic chronostratigraphy by integrating key well and seismic data to evaluate the gross depositional history of the mixed carbonate-clastic system. A seismic chronostratigraphy approach was introduced to assess the geometric relationships of depositional cycles and lithologic associations in response to relative sea-level changes. The main step entailed the correlation of well log chronostratigraphy from core and biostratigraphy interpretations with closely spaced, semiautomatically generated seismic horizons from seismic reflection data. A 3D seismic chronostratigraphy cube was built to interactively assess the basin history through the Mid-Cretaceous stages. Seismic sequences were selected to assess isopachs and gross depositional trends for demarcation of shelf, shelf margin, and slope from horizon attributes including root-mean-square amplitude and frequency decomposition. The results found the oldest Albian Safaniya member to be a generalized low-angle ramp shelf slope with thinning of sequences toward an intrashelf basin. Later, in the Albian, Cenomanian, and Turonian, carbonate factories developed distinct seismic sequences with steepened prograding systems in the Mauddud, Ahmadi/Rumaila, and Mishrif members at the intrashelf basin margin. Generally, areas immediately landward of the shelf margin possessed the most favorable reservoir lithologies of rudist-bearing platform carbonates, with source-rock distribution confined to basinal equivalents of sequences. The seismic chronostratigraphy approach proved to be fundamental to understanding the Wasia carbonate depositional system because it provided a technique to assess the varied stratal architectures of the main productive sequences. The integrated technique represents a unique methodology for exploration targeting of conventional reservoirs and unconventional source rocks.
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DOI 10.1190/int-2014-0132.1
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