The Jurassic black mudstone and coal beds in the central Junggar Basin, northwestern China, are the major source rocks for the basin with type II2 and type III (gas-prone) kerogens. Widespread overpressures are developed in the Jurassic stratigraphic interval. Sonic and resistivity logs display strong characteristic responses of overpressure in the mudstones, with anomalously high acoustic traveltimes and low resistivity compared with the normally pressured mudstones. The overpressured Jurassic sediment sequences appear to have undergone normal compaction because the mudstones exhibit no anomalously low bulk density. The overpressured mudstones deviate from the normally pressured mudstones in density–effective vertical stress space. The overpressure in the Jurassic source rocks is, therefore, not caused by disequilibrium compaction. The overpressured Jurassic sandstone reservoirs are predominantly oil and gas saturated or oil bearing. The well-log responses of the overpressured mudstones and seismic velocity characteristics indicate that the top depth of the overpressure zone ranges from 3800 to 4600 m (12,500 to 15,100 ft), corresponding to formation temperatures of approximately 94°C to 111°C (∼201°F to 232°F), with estimated vitrinite reflectance values of 0.6% to 0.75%. The Jurassic source rocks with overpressure are capable of generating hydrocarbons at present and are currently overpressured. All the evidence suggests that the overpressure in the Jurassic source rocks in the central Junggar Basin is caused by hydrocarbon (HC) generation. The overpressure evolution was modeled quantitatively in response to pressure changes caused by HC generation during basin evolution. The results indicate that multiple episodes of overpressure development and release occurred within the Jurassic source rocks, suggesting multiple episodes of HC expulsion. The timing and numbers of these episodes of HC expulsion were thus determined from the modeled overpressure evolution.

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