Wrench faulting and trap breaching: A case study of the Kizler North Field, Lyon County, Kansas, USA
Keywords:wrench faulting, late-stage migration, trap, tectonics, petrophysical evaluation
The Kizler North Field in northwest Lyon County, Kansas, is a producing field with structures associated with both uplift of the Ancestral Rockies (Pennsylvanian to early Permian) and reactivation of structures along the Proterozoic midcontinent rift system (MRS), which contributed to the current complex and poorly understood play mechanisms. The Lower Paleozoic dolomitic Simpson Group, Viola Limestone, and “Hunton Group” are the reservoir units within the field. These units have significant vuggy porosity, which is excellent for field potential; however, in places, the reservoir is inhibited by high water saturation. The seismic data show that two late-stage wrench fault events reactivated existing faults. The observed wrench faults exhibit secondary P, R’, and R Riedel shears, which likely resulted from Central Kansas uplift-MRS wrenching. The latest stage event breached reservoir caprock units during post-Mississippian to pre-Desmoinesian time and allowed for hydrocarbon migration out of the reservoirs. Future exploration models of the Kizler North and analog fields should be based on four play concepts: 1) four-way closure with wrench-fault-related traps, 2) structural highs in the Simpson Group and Viola Limestone, 3) thick “Hunton Group,” and 4) presence of a wrench fault adjacent to the well location that generates subtle closure but not directly beneath it, which causes migration out of reservoirs. In settings where complex structural styles are overprinted, particular attention should be paid to the timing of events that may cause breaches of seals in some structures but not others. Mapping the precise location and vertical throw of the reactivated wrench faults using high-resolution seismic data can help reduce the drilling risk in analog systems.
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