Sedimentological characterization, petrophysical properties and reservoir quality assessment of the onshore Sandakan Formation, Borneo

Numair A. Siddiqui*, Manoj J. Mathew, M. Ramkumar, Benjamin Sautter, Muhammad Usman, Abdul Hadi Abdul Rahman, Mohamed A.K. El-Ghali, David Menier, Zhang Shiqi, Chow Weng Sum

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Sedimentological parameterization of rock heterogeneity and prediction of shallow-marine siliciclastic reservoir quality remains a challenge globally to date, especially in regions with complex depositional histories, in that, variations in petrographic and petrophysical properties can occur within the same sedimentary sequence of similar age and rock type. Because exploratory drilling strategies and reservoir models can significantly be augmented through direct observation of outcrops that are representative of equivalent reservoir stratigraphic intervals in the offshore zone, outcrop sedimentological characterization can help improve the understanding of subsurface reservoirs of similar strata in surrounding petroliferous basins. To this end, we analyzed well-exposed successions of the mid Mio–Pliocene shallow-marine sandstone deposits of the Sandakan Formation, Borneo, through conventional field investigation, petrographic and petrophysical studies of different sandstone facies types to predict reservoir quality and heterogeneity within different depositional settings. On the basis of these evaluations, the studied sandstone was grouped into three qualitative reservoir rock classes: Class I (Ø = 18.10–43.60%; K = 1265.20–5986.25 mD), Class II (Ø = 17.60–37%; K = 21.36–568 mD) and Class III (Ø = 3.4–15.7%; K = 3.21–201.30 mD). The petrographic and petrophysical results reveals a consistent rise in both gamma ray and permeability values due to a change in depositional environment from proximal lower shoreface to upper shoreface of some successions within the sequence. The change in depositional setting for each sandstone type establishes certain variation in classes within the same facies type. For instance, the permeability may indicate low values due to the presence of bioturbation and increased mud content owing to the burrows with bimodal grain classification, regardless of change in gamma ray readings. This phenomenon signifies that there exists no strict correlation between gamma ray and permeability profile despite containing good quality reservoir rocks and appropriate classification. Our study is of paramount significance to the development of initial exploration strategies in regions where similar siliciclastic strata can be potential reservoirs because it serves as analogs to offshore hydrocarbon bearing packages.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106771
JournalJournal of Petroleum Science and Engineering
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020


  • Borneo
  • Petrography
  • Petrophysics
  • Reservoir quality
  • Sandstone heterogeneity
  • Sedimentology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Fuel Technology
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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