Application of formation water geochemistry to assess seal integrity of the Gotnia Formation, Kuwait

Mubarak Matlak Al-Hajeri*, Stephen A. Bowden

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


A very large database of formation water geochemistry has been acquired for the Kuwait petroleum system. This database makes it possible to explore the geological history of Kuwait’s formation and ground waters in a way that is not possible by other means. Working at this regional scale spatial and formational variation in groundwater chemistry in Kuwait identifies lithostratigraphy and physical barriers to flow that can be explored in the context of Kuwait’s geological history. Cretaceous oil reservoirs in north Kuwait have formation water saturated with Na (>50%) that is anomalously abnormal in salinity for its depth. The most likely subsurface source of such saline water is the Upper Jurassic Gotnia Formation which comprises beds of evaporite halite, and/or pre-Gotnia formations of deeper reservoirs. To reach their current location, both parts of the Gotnia and Hith formations must have been breached. To date, this is the only evidence to show that the sealing capacity of the Gotnia Formation has been overcome, implying that the formation, and therefore units beneath, are capable of sourcing fluids to younger and shallower reservoirs. Given the ubiquity of samples of formation water in many other regions, applying formation water geochemistry to other petroleum systems would appear a good method for evaluating basin models and understanding of fluid migration in mature petroleum provenances.

Original languageEnglish
Article number56
JournalArabian Journal of Geosciences
Issue number3
Early online date24 Jan 2017
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2017

Bibliographical note

We would like to thank Mohammed D. Al–Ajmi Manager of Exploration Group in KOC for his support and encouragement. Critical comments by Dr. Mohammed Al-Mahmoud, Dr. Hanneke Verweij and Dr. John Armstrong-Altrin helped to improve the manuscript. We would also like to thank Raju T. Arasu from Exploration Group for generating seismic lines. Finally, we thank Technical Review Committee at KOC and Ministry of Oil in Kuwait for their review, approval and endorsement of this paper.


  • Application of petroleum hydrogeochemistry
  • Gotnia Formation
  • Kuwait petroleum system
  • Seal’s integrity
  • Upward migration


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