The age and origin of reservoir sandstones which underlie the lowermost Silurian “hot” shales of the Sahmah Formation in the west of Oman is controversial. Here we describe one such sandstone which was cored and interpreted based on geological well evidence, and which then had to be re-interpreted when definitive palynological results became available. The findings are enhanced when interpreted along with other deep wells in the area which have consistent palynological data. The western part of the Sultanate of Oman is a tectonically stable intra-basinal high with low regional dips. In this area, the relief on the base-Silurian unconformity of >250 m appears to be greater than that beneath the Permo-Carboniferous unconformity which is well known for being highly erosive. The sandstones preserved beneath the base-Silurian unconformity vary in depositional environment and reservoir quality from well to well, depending on their age, degree of erosion and differences in regional subsidence. There has been little evidence for the presence of Hirnantian-aged deposits in Oman to date. However, some of the erosion and deep incisions which affect deposits of the Upper Ordovician Hasirah Formation are almost certainly related to falling sea levels accompanying the Hirnantian glaciation, just as the presence of the “hot shale” source rocks in the overlying Sahmah Formation are likely to be related to rising sea-levels and anoxic conditions during the later deglaciation. Deformed strata in the Upper Ordovician deposits may reflect the instability of valley-sides cut into weakly-consolidated strata exposed during changes in sea-level. The Sahmah oil play underlying the basal Silurian “hot” shales in Oman carries significant risks relating to the presence or absence of closures and reservoir, and the character, continuity and cementation of reservoir sandstones.
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