By Walter H. Fertl

Petroleum formation pressures

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The first detailed quantitative study of osmotic pressure is found in a series of investigations by Pfeffer in 1887. Basically, an osmotic pressure can arise when two solutions of different concentration, or a pure solvent and a solution, are separated by a semipermeable membrane. Irrespective of the mechanism by which the semipermeable membrane operates, the final result is the same. Osmotic flow continues until the chemical potential of the diffusion component is the same on both sides of the barrier.

On a regional basis, overpressures may approach the overburden load, which for reason of stability they cannot surpass. , indicates that locally confined, even higher pressure gradients may be encountered. Pore fluid pressure gradients exceeding the overburden gradient by up to 40% are known. 12). The internal strength of rock overlying the surpressured zones assists the overburden load to contain locally these tremendous upward forces. 12. Schematic model of pressure bridge (after Fertl, 1971).

S. S. Gulf of Mexico Basin have been encountered while drilling for oil and gas. Recently, Johnson and Bredeson (1971)studied the structural development of several salt domes in Louisiana's Miocene productive belt. 22 shows the geologic section for the Weeks Island salt dome, which is typical for the six fields studied. The authors summarized their findings as follows: "Six shallow salt domes in the Miocene productive belt of coastal Louisiana were studied t o attain an understanding of the structural history during the time of deposition of the sediments penetrated by drilling.

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