Characterizing scales of sedimentary heterogeneity in a fluvial—estuarine reservoir analog: An example from the Mulichinco Formation, Neuquén Basin, Argentina

Mariana S. Olivo, Diego A. Kietzmann, Laura J. Schencman, Daniel Minisini, Julián Espínola, Nicolás D. Waldmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An integrated stratigraphic, sedimentological and petrophysical analysis is presented to document the variety of sedimentary heterogeneities scales that can occur in a fluvial–estuarine reservoir analog. In this context, outcrops of the Mulichinco Formation (Neuquén Basin, Argentina) were investigated combining architectural analysis, vertical and lateral facies organization, and reservoir properties distributions in different channel-body types. Six main facies associations have been defined: gravelly–sandy to sandy braided channels, meandering channels, floodplain deposits, tidally influenced terminal channels, and subtidal to intertidal plains deposits, which we interpret the deposition in a proximal to distal fluvial and inner estuarine systems. Sequence stratigraphic analysis suggest the fluvial–estuarine succession evolved from a lower to an upper interval representative of low to high accommodation versus sediment supply ratios, respectively. Variations in accommodation and spatial changes from on-to off-axis locations within the fluvial system might performed as large-scale controls in stratigraphic and spatial variations of channel-deposits proportions and connectedness, which decreases vertically and horizontally towards the N and SE. Moreover, these trends could be overprinted by the avulsion influence. Distribution and preservation-style of fines within the channels define different intra-channel-body compartments controlled by distinct allogenic and autogenic processes. Cross-bedded sandstones represent the facies with the greatest reservoir quality, but they record the widest range in petrophysical values and textural variations, which represent unfavourable potential facies-scale reservoir compartments and barriers. Finally, variations in cement mineralogy would be the first-order control for permeability distribution and reservoir quality separation throughout the different channel units, since clay-rich cements contain the highest values of microporosity and permeability. Therefore, primary depositional processes followed by diagenesis strongly controlled the sandstone properties as reservoir. This work provides a characterization for stratigraphic-to pore-scale sedimentary heterogeneities and may contribute to the improvement of predictive models for exploration and development strategy of fluvial–inner estuarine reservoirs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104604
JournalMarine and Petroleum Geology
StatePublished - Nov 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier Ltd


  • Channel connectivity
  • Compartmentalization
  • Fluvial–estuarine reservoir
  • Reservoir properties
  • Sedimentary heterogeneities
  • Tight-gas

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Geophysics
  • Geology
  • Economic Geology
  • Stratigraphy


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