Detailed core description of multiple wells within a giant UAE gas field has enhanced understanding of the depositional make-up and possible controls on depositional style for the Arab Formation. In this field, the Arab Formation differs from other areas such as Qatar in that anhydrite and dolomite are scarce in the lower Arab Formation units and recognition of any sequence stratigraphic boundaries is limited. In summary the limestone-dominated reservoir units combine to reflect a large-scale shallowing-upwards trend from basinal/outer, mid-ramp to inner ramp depositional settings, based on core-derived facies association analysis. The facies associations are defined according to sedimentological and faunal characteristics and form genetically related, larger-scale units reflecting a low-energy, mid to outer ramp depositional setting, which grades sharply into an inner ramp shoal and shoal complex depositional setting. Within the low-energy units of the lowest Arab Formation reservoir, mudstones are interbedded with bioclast-rich accumulations of variable thickness and an uncertain origin. The vertical spacing of these units may be a function of random/non-random cyclicity (?Milankovitch) and reflect variation in depositional slope angle and hence slump/debrite deposits or deeper water faunal communities. The transition from the distal depositional setting to the proximal depositional setting occurs over a relatively narrow zone into oolitic grainstones as the system progrades. The grainstones form a thick sequence of bedded units reflecting both shoal and intershoal areas within an inner ramp depositional setting, but cyclicity is not apparent in this interval. The small-scale cyclicity present in the lower Arab Formation units may potentially be equal to those that are defined by dolomite-anhydrite cycles in Qatar, but in this area of Abu Dhabi, the overall distal setting has negated the development of these mixed evaporite-carbonate cycles. The implications of this include a lack of intraformational seals and a uniformity of lithofacies (i.e. limited variation), which is also expressed in the more proximal inner ramp deposits and provides for good reservoir potential.


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