ABSTRACT

The Sichuan Basin is a prime gas-producing basin in China. Besides the giant Neoproterozoic Weiyuan gas field discovered in the central paleo-uplift, an extra giant gas reservoir in the Cambrian in this area has been confirmed in recent years. Although the lower Paleozoic in the southwest (Weiyuan area) is normally pressured, it is overpressured in the central area (Moxi–Gaoshiti area). Combined with the seal distribution, five pressure systems, including three overpressure systems, can be divided based on drill-stem test, mud weight, and sonic transit time data. Overpressures appear at depth interval of 1500 to 4900 m (4921 to 16,076 ft), approximately. Benefiting from the good sealing capacity of the gypsum in the Upper and Middle Triassic, high overpressure (pressure coefficient [r] > 2.0) has been preserved in the Lower Triassic, and the Upper Triassic and Cambrian are moderately overpressured (1.3 < r < 1.7). Mechanisms for various overpressure systems are different. Abnormally high sonic transit time in the Permian indicates disequilibrium compaction overpressure. The analyses of sonic transit time–effective stress suggest that disequilibrium compaction is the primary mechanism for the overpressure in the Upper Triassic Xujiahe Formation, but the Cambrian overpressure system is predominantly associated with fluid expansion, which mainly resulted from gas generation. Furthermore, we consider that the late thermal cracking of oil to gas is a key factor for gas and overpressure preservation in old strata. The high overpressure in the Lower Triassic marine carbonate rocks was caused by oil cracking and gypsum dehydration mechanisms. Combining the origin analysis with the burial and hydrocarbon generation histories, we constructed the Cambrian pore pressure evolution model, which is characterized by roughly normal pressure before 200 Ma, overpressuring from 200 to 90 Ma, and overpressure releasing since 90 Ma.

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