Context is everything. Not all thick sands pay out and not all thin sands are poorly productive. It is important to understand a basin's palaeogeographical drivers, the resultant palaeoenvironments and their constituent sedimentary architecture. Development of a depositional model can be predictive with respect to the magnitude of accessible pore space for potential development.

We present a multi-field study of the Dneipr-Donets basin. Over 600 wells were studied with >4500 lithostratigraphical picks being made. Over 7500 sedimentological picks were made allowing mapping of facies bodies and charting shifts in facies types. A facies classification scheme was developed and applied. The Devonian-Permian sedimentary section records the creation, fill, and terminal closure of the Dneipr-Donets Basin:

  • Syn-rift brittle extension (late Frasnian-Famennian): intracratonic rifting between the Ukrainian Shield and Voronezh Massif formed a NW-SE orientated trough, with associated basaltic extrusion. Basin architecture consists of rotated fault blocks forming graben mini-basins. Sedimentation is dominantly upper shoreface but sand packages are poorly correlatable due to the faulted palaeotopography.

  • Early Post-rift thermal subsidence (Visean-Lower Bashkirian): the faulted palaeotopography was filled and thermal subsidence drove basin deepening. Cyclical successions of offshore, lower shoreface and upper shoreface dominate. Sands are typically thin (<10m) but can be widely correlated and have high pore space connectivity.

  • Mid Post-rift: the Bashkirian (C22/C23 boundary), paralic systems prograde over the shoreface. Changes in vertical facies are abrupt due to a low gradient to basin floor. Deltaic and fluvial facies can produce thick amalgamated sands (>30m), but access limited pore space because they are laterally restricted bodies.

  • Terminal post-rift (Mykytivskan): above the lower Permian, the convergence of the Kazahkstanian and Siberian continents began to restrict the Dnieper-Donets basin's access to open ocean. The basin approached full conditions and deposition was dominated by evaporite precipitation, with periodic oceanic recharge. Ultimately, this sediment records the formation of Pangea.

The successions examined were used to construct a basinal relative sea level curve, which can be applied elsewhere in the basin. This can be used to help provide palaeogeographical context to a field, which in turn controls the sedimentary architecture.

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