ABSTRACT

The discovery of carbonate gas fields in the Middle Triassic Leikoupo Formation of the Sichuan Basin has a complex history. In recent years, a series of structural fields have been discovered in the western Sichuan Basin. Their discovery confirms the immense exploration potential of the Leikoupo Formation. In this study, we analyze the characteristics of Leikoupo Formation exploration plays using exploration wells and test data, aiming to provide a reference for further discoveries. The Leikoupo Formation represents the uppermost unit in the Sichuan marine carbonate platform succession. During its deposition, the whole basin was characterized by a restricted and evaporitic platform. Two classes of reservoirs developed. One is pore–fracture reservoirs, in marginal platform and intraplatform shoals, and another is fracture–vug reservoirs in the karstic weathering crust of the formation-capping unconformity. Three hydrocarbon accumulation models were established for the Leikoupo Formation based on the spatial and temporal relationship among the source, reservoir, and cap rocks. Two types of exploration plays are present in the Leikoupo Formation, that is, shoal (including intraplatform shoal and marginal platform shoal) dolomite plays and karstic dolomite weathering crust plays (including intraplatform shoal karst and marginal platform shoal karst). The western Sichuan depression in the karstic slope belt presents immense exploration potential because of a proximal hydrocarbon supply, charging via an extensive fracture network, shoals and karstic reservoir, a good seal rock of terrestrial mudstone, and potential composite hydrocarbon accumulations in stratigraphic traps, making it a promising area for future exploration.

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