Thick marine shales occur in the Wufeng Formation and Longmaxi Formation of Sanquan Town of the Nanchuan District, Chongqing Municipality, which is located on the southeast margin of the Sichuan Basin. However, few details of the characteristics of the Wufeng–Longmaxi shales in this area have been reported. In this study, a well approximately 100 m (∼328 ft) deep was drilled. A high-quality shale (total organic carbon [TOC] >2.0 wt. %, clay <40%) interval that was approximately 24 m (∼79 ft) thick with an average TOC value of 3.0 wt. % mainly occurs in the Ordovician Wufeng Formation (Katian and Hirnantian) and base of the Silurian Longmaxi Formation (Rhuddanian). Shales with higher TOC values commonly have a higher porosity and specific surface area. Tectonic movements may also have been very important factors that influenced the petrophysical properties of the shales. For example, a detachment layer that resulted from complex tectonic movements is extensive in the Wufeng Formation. The cracks and microcracks in the detachment layer can result in good pore connectivity. Consequently, the detachment layer can be an effective migration pathway. The Longmaxi–Wufeng shales of Sanquan Town are also compared with those of the famous Jiaoye 1 well in the Jiaoshiba shale gas field in the eastern Sichuan Basin. Although the shales in Sanquan Town have considerable shale gas generation potential, the shale gas resource potential in Sanquan Town is probably poor because the escape of shale gas may be accelerated by the detachment layer in destroyed anticlines and synclines.

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