Factors controlling pore network development of thermally mature Early Palaeozoic mudstones from the Baltic Basin (N Poland)

P. Słomski*, J. Szczepański, T. Topór, M. Mastalerz, A. Pluymakers, A. Derkowski, T. Wojciechowski

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Understanding the formation of pore space, especially in low porosity shales (as source rocks and as unconventional resources), is critical to the oil and gas industry, since pores control the space available for hydrocarbon and participate in hydrocarbon transport. We examined 87 Ordovician and Silurian mudstone samples collected from four wells located in the Pomeranian part of the Baltic Basin (northern Poland), one of the primary Polish targets for hydrocarbon exploration. These samples represent the Pelplin, the Pasłęk, the Jantar, the Prabuty, and the Sasino Formations, which still requires more detailed porosity studies. Our study aimed to identify factors controlling porosity development, by applying bulk techniques (organic petrology and TOC analyses, quantitative mineralogy, and porosimetry) as well as nano-to microscale techniques (thin section petrography, electron microscopy). The studied samples are mainly argillaceous mudstones. The results of porosimetry measurements, combined with image analysis, indicate that the pores of all studied rocks are dominated by micropores (pores <2 nm in diameter), mesopores (2–50 nm in diameter) and small macropores. The SEM images showed three main pore types: a) voids related to clay mineral aggregates, b) pores inside organic matter particles, and c) pores between other mineral grains. In the Jantar and Sasino mudstones, the organic matter content and its thermal maturity control porosity. The occurrence of solid bitumen in the rocks from these formations reduces samples’ mesoporosity because of the pore-clogging effect. In contrast, in the Pasłęk and Prabuty Formations, there is low organic matter content and specific surface area and the volume of mesopores increase with clay minerals content. In the Pelplin mudstones, there are no prevailing factors controlling porosity. Finally, we suggest that a combination of SEM image analysis and dual liquid porosity (DLP) measurements is a powerful method to assess porosity available for petroleum flow in mudstones.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105328
Number of pages24
JournalMarine and Petroleum Geology
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project https://www.openaccess.nl/en/you-share-we-take-care Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • Baltic basin
  • Petrography and mineralogy
  • Pore network development
  • Shales
  • Types of porosity


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