The Calcites of Shale Plays: Why Moving Beyond Quantitative Mineralogy Will Improve Project Economics

Hart, Bruce (Statoil)


Summary Calcite forms variable proportions of source-rock reservoirs ("shale plays"). Although calcite content can be quantified via petrophysical analyses, XRD, XRF and other techniques, the amount of calcite, by itself, is not enough information to predict the likely importance of these minerals for reservoir and completions quality. Four principle types of calcite can be recognized:Pelagic components, mostly foraminifera and coccoliths, form a large component of the Eagle Ford and Niobrara but other types of pelagic carbonates (e.g., tentaculitids) are common in Paleozoic source-rock plays such as the Marcellus, Carbonate "event beds" (turbidites, storm deposits, etc.) are present in the Avalon, Barnett, Vaca Muerta and other plays, In situ benthic carbonates (bivalves, corals) are present in some plays (e.g., Eagle Ford, Marcellus), and Diagenetic calcites (pore filling cements, fracture fills, replacements, etc.) are present to varying degrees in perhaps most source-rock plays. Detailed core descriptions and petrographic observations are critical for assessing the origin of the calcite. Similar concepts apply to other mineral and organic components of mudstones.

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