ABSTRACT

Huge, high gas–oil ratio, hydrogen sulfide (H2S)-bearing gas condensate accumulations were recently discovered in the Ordovician carbonate reservoirs of the Tazhong uplift in the Tarim Basin, northwest China. Distinct differences exist between the eastern and western condensates in terms of chemical and isotopic compositions. Condensates from the western part of the uplift were characterized by high dibenzothiophenes (generally >500 μg/g), a high H2S concentration (∼7%, vol./vol.), and relatively depleted 13C methane (δ13C1 = −55.5‰ to −36‰). The H2S concentration in the Tazhong gas condensates shows a positive correlation to Mg2+ concentration in the formation water. Formation water in Lower Ordovician–Cambrian strata in the Tazhong uplift is rich in Mg2+, which facilitates the thermochemical sulfate reduction (TSR) of sulfate contact ion pairs (CIPs) to produce H2S and dibenzothiophenes. A detailed comparison of the chemical compositions of the formation waters in different strata indicates that a high H2S concentration in the Tazhong gas condensates originates from the TSR of sulfate CIPs in the Lower Ordovician–Cambrian strata, where a primary oil accumulation may have existed. The concentrations of 3- and 4-methyldiamantanes in the western condensates (80 to 150 μg/g) are relatively lower than those from the eastern part of the uplift. Also, the δ13C1 in the western H2S-bearing gas condensates was more negative, and the δ13C2 − δ13C1 value was larger than that from typical TSR-altered gases. These features indicate that the western Tazhong samples had just entered the initial stage of TSR. According to the pressure, volume, temperature (PVT) phase diagram, the lower Paleozoic section was quickly buried after the Tortonian. High-H2S hydrocarbon inclusions formed during the last 10 m.y. when paleotemperatures reached 140°C (284°F). Because the reaction rate of the sulfate CIPs oxidation was relatively slower than that of H2S autocatalysis during the entire TSR process, advanced TSR has not been accomplished yet. It is also inferred that the Tortonian was the key period for accumulation of secondary H2S-bearing gas condensates, resulting from abundant gas washing along deep fractures and charging in the early reservoirs. An increased aromaticity parameter (toluene/n-heptane) and an increased fractionation index from east to west indicate an intensified degree of gas washing. Different gas-washing intensities in the eastern and western gas condensates led to diverse PVT states as well. Deep strata in the Tazhong uplift were characterized by multiple charges and mixing, coupled with periodic TSR, leading to the occurrence of variable H2S-bearing gas condensates.

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