Importance of biogenic activities in improving reservoir quality


Bioturbation plays an important role in changing the textural composition of the sediments after deposition. The burrowing organisms eat mud and thereby oxidise organic matter and physically destroy the primary lamination. Sediments overturned by bioturbation become more exposed to oxidation at the sea or lake bottom. Bioturbation may reduce the porosity and permeability of sandy laminae by mixing clay with clean sand. Bioturbation will also destroy thin clay laminae, which may significantly increase the vertical permeability and this may be very significant for reservoir quality. 
Undisturbed primary lamination may be evidence of rather rapid sedimentation giving little time for a burrowing bottom fauna to become established, or alternatively indicate strongly reducing conditions restricting the fauna. Black shales usually have well preserved lamination due to lack of burrowing organisms. The presence or absence of burrowing also influences the physical properties, particularly the difference in velocity and resistivity parallel and vertical to bedding (anisotropy) and this may be important for geophysical modelling. 
Burrowing worms produce faecal material which may develop into smectite-rich clays, which in turn may develop into chlorite coatings, thus improving reservoir quality. Early diagenetic formation of coatings on quartz grains is extremely important due to its role in preserving porosity at greater depth. 
Most clastic depositional environments have some organisms producing organic matter which, at least in part, is incorporated within the sediments. Both sandstones and mudstones nearly always contain significant amounts of biogenic material from calcareous, and sometimes also siliceous, organisms and this may later be an important source of carbonate and silica cement at greater burial depth. 
Marine organisms composed of aragonite dissolve during relatively shallow burial and calcite precipitates either as replacements within the fossils (neomorphism) or as cement in pore space between the grains. 
Carbonate cement in sandstones may form layers or concretions and in most cases is derived from biogenic carbonate, particularly from organisms composed of aragonite. Siliceous organisms composed of opal (diatoms or siliceous sponges) may be an important source of micro-quartz coatings on quartz grains at greater depth. 
Carbonate cements in both mudstones and sandstones are mostly due to dissolution and reprecipitation of biogenic carbonate or early aragonite cement. There are usually no other major sources of carbonate cement. In the sulphate-reducing zone, carbonate concretions form, often with a negative δ13C due to the CO2 produced during sulphate reduction. Carbonate concretions in cores may be mistaken for continuous carbonate layers but it is possible to recognise that they are concretions. Even if CO2 is generated from organic matter, there are few Ca2+ sources available in sandstones or mudstones for making calcite. Leaching of plagioclase can supply some Ca2+, which can be precipitated as calcite, but this can only account for very small amounts of the calcite observed in such sediments. The distribution of carbonate cement is related to facies and sequence stratigraphy. 
The evolution of pelagic planktonic calcareous organisms in the Mesozoic drastically increased the supply of carbonate on the seafloor, including in deeper waters. Before then most of the carbonate was produced by benthic organisms restricted to shallow water facies. Upper Jurassic and younger sandstones often contain abundant calcite cement due to the “rain” of calcareous algae, foraminifera and other planktonic organisms settling on the seafloor. Silica-producing organisms may also be important for diagenesis and reservoir quality at greater burial. Organisms like siliceous sponges are composed of amorphous silica which at higher temperatures will be dissolved and replaced by opal CT and quartz. Diatoms and radiolarians may also be a major source of silica which will be precipitated as quartz. Diatoms appeared during the Cretaceous and have been a major source of amorphous silica during the Cainozoic. Diatoms can produce pure siliceous rocks like the Tertiary Monterey Formation of California, which is both a source rock and a fractured reservoir rock. 
Biogenic carbonate is in most cases the main source of calcite cement. The distribution of such cement must therefore be linked to sedimentary facies, more specifically to biological productivity relative to the clastic sedimentation rate. Environments with low clastic sedimentation rates, particularly submarine highs, often have high organic carbonate production.

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