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Minerals 2017, 7(6), 88;

Diagenesis and Reservoir Properties of the Permian Ecca Group Sandstones and Mudrocks in the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa

Department of Geology, Faculty of Science and Agriculture, University of Fort Hare, Private Bag X1314, Alice 5700, Eastern Cape Province, South Africa
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Paul Sylvester
Received: 4 April 2017 / Revised: 21 May 2017 / Accepted: 26 May 2017 / Published: 30 May 2017
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Diagenesis is one of the most important factors that affects reservoir rock property. Despite the fact that published data gives a vast amount of information on the geology, sedimentology, and lithostratigraphy of the Ecca Group in the Karoo Basin of South Africa, little is known about the diagenesis of the potentially feasible or economically viable sandstones and mudrocks of the Ecca Group. This study aims to provide an account of the diagenesis of sandstones and mudstones from the Ecca Group. Twenty-five diagenetic textures and structures were identified and grouped into three stages that include early diagenesis, burial diagenesis and uplift-related diagenesis. Clay minerals are the most common cementing materials in the sandstones. Smectite, kaolinite, and illite are the major clay minerals that act as pore lining rims and pore-filling materials. A part of the clay minerals and detrital grains was strongly replaced by calcite. Calcite precipitates locally in the pore spaces and partially or completely replaced clay matrix, feldspar, and quartz grains at or around their margins. Precipitation of cements and formation of pyrite and authigenic minerals occurred during the early diagenetic stage. This process was followed by lithification and compaction which brought about an increase in tightness of grain packing, loss of pore spaces, and thinning of bedding thickness due to overloading of sediments and selective dissolution of the framework grains. Mineral overgrowths, mineral replacement, clay-mineral transformation, dissolution, deformation, and pressure solution occurred during burial diagenetic stage. After rocks were uplifted, weathered and unroofed by erosion, this resulted in decementation and oxidation of iron-rich minerals. The rocks of the Ecca Group were subjected to moderate-intense mechanical and chemical compaction during their progressive burial. Intergranular pores, secondary dissolution, and fractured pores are well developed in the sediments of the Ecca Group. The presence of fractured and dissolution pores tend to enhance reservoir quality. However, the isolated nature of the pore linkage makes them unfavorable producers of hydrocarbons, which at best would require stimulation. The understanding of the space and time distribution of diagenetic processes in these rocks will allow the development of predictive models of their reservoir quality, which may contribute to the reduction of risks involved in hydrocarbon (oil and gas) exploration. View Full-Text
Keywords: diagenesis; reservoir rock properties; diagenetic textures; Ecca Group; Karoo Basin diagenesis; reservoir rock properties; diagenetic textures; Ecca Group; Karoo Basin

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Baiyegunhi, C.; Liu, K.; Gwavava, O. Diagenesis and Reservoir Properties of the Permian Ecca Group Sandstones and Mudrocks in the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. Minerals 2017, 7, 88.

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