Origin and distribution of grain-coating and pore-filling chlorite in deltaic sandstones for reservoir quality assessment

Joshua Griffiths, Richard H. Worden, James E.P. Utley, Christian Brostrøm, Allard W. Martinius, Auwalu Y. Lawan, Ali I. Al-Hajri

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Grain-coating chlorite preserves porosity and permeability through the inhibition of quartz cement whereas pore-filling chlorite blocks pore-throats and diminishes reservoir quality. The aim of this study is to determine the origin and principal mechanisms which govern the distribution of grain-coating and pore-filling chlorite in Jurassic deltaic sandstones (Tilje Formation, Smørbukk field, Mid Norwegian Shelf). The study focussed on very high-density sampling for petrographic analysis, from three sections of sandstone core from the same well with contrasting reservoir quality, rather than the low-density sampling approach typically employed. The aim was to gain new understanding of specific controls on porosity and permeability based on core description, core analysis measurements and a suite of petrographic techniques. Results of this study show grain-coating chlorite originated from the thermally-driven recrystallisation of detrital clay coats and/or clay mineral precursors. Pore-filling chlorite has principally derived from the ductile deformation of chlorite-rich Fe-ooids, that were possibly reworked from a proximal evaporitic setting. The distribution of chlorite precursor material, detrital clay coats, and subsequently the distribution of grain-coating and pore-filling chlorite, were controlled by the relative dominance of tidal and fluvial processes active during sediment deposition. Optimum grain-coating chlorite is found in tidal-fluvial sandstones with moderate fluvial influence. Pore-filling chlorite is pervasive in tidal-fluvial channel sandstones deposited during periods of high fluvial discharge, or proximal to the central turbidity maximum zone; marked by an abundance of fluid mud. Tidal channel sandstones with no fluvial influence are pervasively quartz cemented due to an absence of grain-coating chlorite. Grain-coating chlorite and good reservoir quality occurs in heterolithic distributary mouth bar sandstones, however mixing of mud- and sand-prone facies due to intense bioturbation has reduced permeability. Results from this study can be used to predict reservoir quality in the Smørbukk field and in analogous shallow-marine sandstones worldwide.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105326
Pages (from-to)1-23
Number of pages23
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.


  • Chlorite
  • Deltaic sandstones
  • Grain-coating chlorite
  • Permeability
  • Pore-filling chlorite
  • Porosity
  • Reservoir quality


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