ABSTRACT

The Dabei Gas Field is a recently discovered giant tight-gas field in the Kuqa Subbasin, western China. The reservoir porosity and permeability mainly range from 1% to 8% and from 0.01 to 1 md, respectively. The hydrocarbon (both gas and light oil) accumulation processes in the tight-sandstone reservoirs were studied based on detailed reservoir characterization, thermal maturity of both gas and light oil, hydrocarbon charge history, regional tectonic compression, and thrusting. Two episodes of oil and one episode of natural-gas charge were delineated in the tight-sandstone reservoir, as evidenced by (1) similar sources but different maturities for the gas and light oil, (2) the presence of abundant bitumen in the tight-sandstone reservoir, (3) the presence of both hydrocarbon gas inclusions and oil inclusions with two distinct fluorescence colors, and (4) the presence of two groups of aqueous inclusions (coeval with the petroleum inclusions) with contrasting homogenization temperatures and salinities. The oil inclusions with the blue-white fluorescence color were determined to have been trapped at 5–4 Ma, whereas the gas charge may have occurred at circa 3–2 Ma, corresponding to a salinity change recorded in the aqueous inclusions. The hydrocarbon accumulation processes appeared to be controlled by the tectonic compression of the South Tianshan Mountains. Intense tectonic compression caused thrust fault reactivation, which provided pathways for hydrocarbon migration. Overpressure evolution of the reservoir indicates that an intense tectonic compression began at circa 5 Ma, which caused thrust activation and concomitant oil charge into the relatively porous part of the reservoir. Subsequent tectonic compression caused uplift and erosion associated with thrusting at the end of the Kuqa Formation deposition (ca. 3 Ma), with thrust faults and fractures acting as major migration pathways for the gas accumulation in the already-tight sandstone reservoir resulting from both compaction and tectonic compression.

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