Environmental Earth Sciences

, Volume 72, Issue 4, pp 1055–1072 | Cite as

Origin of brine in the Kangan gasfield: isotopic and hydrogeochemical approaches

  • Rahim Bagheri
  • Arash Nadri
  • Ezzat Raeisi
  • G. A. Kazemi
  • H. G. M. Eggenkamp
  • Ali Montaseri
Original Article


The Kangan Permo-Triassic brine aquifer and the overlying gas reservoir in the southern Iran are located in Kangan and Dalan Formations, consisting dominantly of limestone, dolomite, and to a lesser extent, shale and anhydrite. The gasfield, 2,900 m in depth and is exploited by 36 wells, some of which produce high salinity water. The produced water gradually changed from fresh to saline, causing severe corrosion in the pipelines and well head facilities. The present research aims to identify the origin of this saline water (brine), as a vital step to manage saline water issues. The major and minor ions, as well as δ2H, δ18O and δ37Cl isotopes were measured in the Kangan aquifer water and/or the saline produced waters. The potential processes causing salinity can be halite dissolution, membrane filtration, and evaporation of water. The potential sources of water may be meteoric, present or paleo-seawater. The Na/Cl and I/Cl ratios versus Cl concentration preclude halite dissolution. Concentrations of Cl, Na, and total dissolved solid were compared with Br concentration, indicating that the evaporated ancient seawater trapped in the structure is the cause of salinization. δ18O isotope enrichment in the Kangan aquifer water is due to both seawater evaporation and interaction with carbonate rocks. The δ37Cl isotope content also supports the idea of evaporated ancient seawater as the origin of salinity. Membrane filtration is rejected as a possible source of salinity based on the hydrochemistry data, the δ18O value, and incapability of this process to dramatically enhance salinity up to the observed value of 330,000 mg/L. The overlaying impermeable formations, high pressure in the gas reservoir, and the presence of a cap rock above the Kangan gasfield, all prevent the downward flow of meteoric and Persian Gulf waters into the Kangan aquifer. The evaporated ancient seawater is autochthonous, because the Kangan brine aquifer was formed by entrapment of brine seawater during the deposition of carbonates, gypsum, and minor clastic rocks in a lagoon and sabkha environment. The reliability of determining the source of salinity in a deep complicated inaccessible high-pressure aquifer can be improved by combining various methods of hydrochemistry, isotope, hydrodynamics, hydrogeology and geological settings.


Kangan gasfield Brine aquifer Kangan aquifer Water origin Salinity 



We extend our appreciation to South Zagros Oil & Gas Company of Iran, for financial support of this study. The authors thank K. B. P. Jahromi, M. Mirbagheri, H. R. Nasriani, Sh. Karimi and A. A. Nikandish all from the above company for cooperation during the data acquisition, field works and extensive discussions about the characteristics of Kangan Gas Reservoir. The authors also thank the Research Council of Shiraz University for continuous support during this investigation. Furthermore, oxygen-18 and deuterium isotopes were carried out at the CSIRO isotope laboratories in Adelaide (Australia) and δ37Cl at isotope laboratory of Utrecht University, (the Netherlands), for which we extend our thanks to them.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rahim Bagheri
    • 1
  • Arash Nadri
    • 1
  • Ezzat Raeisi
    • 1
  • G. A. Kazemi
    • 2
  • H. G. M. Eggenkamp
    • 3
    • 4
  • Ali Montaseri
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Earth Sciences, College of SciencesShiraz UniversityShirazIran
  2. 2.Faculty of Earth SciencesShahrood University of TechnologyShahroodIran
  3. 3.Department of GeochemistryUtrecht UniversityUtrechtThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Centro de Petrologia e Geoquı′mica, Instituto Superior Te′cnicoUniversidade Te′cnica de LisboaLisbonPortugal
  5. 5.South Zagros Oil & Gas CompanyThe Oil Company of IranShirazIran

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