Kela-2 is a giant gas field with a proven reserve of 597 tcf in the Kuqa depression, northern Tarim Basin. Widespread overpressures have been encountered in the Eocene and Cretaceous sandstone reservoirs of the field, with pressure coefficients up to 2.1 from drill-stem tests and well-log data analysis. Disequilibrium compaction associated with horizontal tectonic compression may be the dominant overpressure mechanism in the sandstone reservoirs, because the overpressured sandstone with a maximum burial depth over 6000 m (19,685 ft) displays anomalously high porosity and low density. The causes for sandstone reservoirs with anomalously high porosity in the Kela-2 gas field were studied based on an integrated investigation of sandstone reservoir characteristics, paleo oil–water contact, petroleum charge history, and overpressure evolution. Collective evidence indicates that early oil charge had retarded the porosity reduction of the reservoir sandstone and resulted in disequilibrium compaction from overburden rocks, and overpressure from disequilibrium compaction and horizontal tectonic compression at the beginning of the rapid subsidence and deposition in the Kela-2 gas field again contributed to the preservation of the reservoir porosity: (1) overpressured mudstones in the Kela-2 gas field are characteristic of normal compaction, and overpressure was generated by horizontal tectonic compression instead of disequilibrium compaction; (2) the reservoir sandstones with high porosity and permeability are associated with high paleo oil saturation, as indicated by quantitative grain fluorescence (QGF) responses and anomalous QGF on extract intensity; (3) sandstone units below the paleo oil–water contact have very low porosity and permeability; and (4) three episodes of oil and one episode of gas charge are identified in the sandstone reservoirs of the Kela-2 gas field, and the later two episodes of oil charge occurred circa 5.5–4.5 Ma, which corresponds to the beginning of the rapid tectonic subsidence and deposition in the Kuqa depression. The initially charged oil in the sandstone reservoirs was subsequently displaced by gas at circa 3–2 Ma through fault activation at the edge of the anticline trap. The overpressure evolution for the K1bs reservoir sandstone in the Kela-2 gas field indicates that the apparent overpressure development in the sandstone reservoir began at 5 Ma following the major oil charge and has been maintained to the present. Overpressure development from 5 Ma in the sandstone reservoirs of the Kela-2 gas field is believed to be the dominant cause of the porosity preservation.

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