Shuaiba Lagoon and Basinal Facies Exploration Potential in Abu Dhabi

Taher, Ahmed (ADNOC Upstream) | Celentano, Maria (ADNOC Upstream) | Franco, Bernardo (ADNOC Upstream) | Al-Shehhi, Mohammed (ADNOC Upstream) | Al Marzooqi, Hassan (ADNOC Upstream) | Al Hanaee, Ahmed (ADNOC Upstream) | Da Silva Caeiro, Maria (ADNOC Upstream)



In early Aptian times, subtle tectonic movements may have been activated along the NW-SE strike-slip faults and have resulted in a vertical displacement along these faults. The displacement would have allowed the carbonate-producing organisms to colonize along the shallower southern margin and generate well developed reservoir facies. The basinal facies were deposited to the north of the shelf margin, which is known to be the Bab Basin.

Significant oil was discovered in the Shuaiba shelf facies. However, the lagoonal and basinal facies have potential for discovering a significant volume of hydrocarbon, especially in the fields that are located in the Upper Thamama hydrocarbon migration pathways. This potential is supported by the absence of an effective seal separating Thamama Zone-A from Shuaiba basinal facies above, which allowed for the Zone-A hydrocarbon to migrate vertically into the Shuaiba basinal facies. In addition, this potential was supported by the hydrocarbon shows while drilling and by the interpreted well logs, which confirm the presence of movable hydrocarbon in the Shuaiba lagoonal and basinal facies.

The Shuaiba Formation is comprised of two supersequences (Azzam and Taher, 1995, van Buchem et al., 2010 and Lyndon et al., 2010) that were deposited during the Aptian time. The lower sequence started at the early Aptian time and mainly included Hawar Member, Thamama Zone-A, the Shuaiba shelf facies and its time equivalent Shuaiba basinal facies sediments. The second sequence was deposited after the drop in sea level below the Shuaiba shelf break. This drop caused subaerial exposure of the Shuaiba shelf platform and allowed for the clastics material to influx the fine-grained over the Shuaiba basinal facies area. The clastic influx and the carbonate rich claystone of the Late Aptian sequence sediments may represent the effective top seal for the Shuaiba basinal facies and Zone-A oil accumulation.

The Shuaiba basinal facies were deposited in an intrashelf basin that was enclosed by the Shuaiba shelfal facies sediments. This resulted in restricted water circulation, anoxic condition and deposition below the wave base. Such depositional environment is favourable for source rock preservation.

Lithologically, Shuaiba basinal facies consist of pelagic lime-mudstone, wackestone and packstone with abundant planktonic microfossils. These facies are characterized by low permeability values, but their porosity can reach up to 20%. The lagoonal sediments consists of a deepening sequence of carbonate sediments, with shallow marine algal deposits at the base and fine hemipelagic to pelagic carbonates in the upper section.

The differences between the Shuaiba Shelf and the Shuaiba Basin are mainly in permeability values. By applying the latest technology in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, the Shuaiba basinal facies will produce a significant volume of hydrocarbon.