The Ordovician Majiagou Formation contains the main reservoir of the Ordos Central gas field in the Ordos basin. The producing zone at the top of member 5 consists of carbonate rocks modified during a long period of subaerial exposure and karstification from the Late Ordovician to the middle Carboniferous. On the eastern margin of the Ordos basin, the porosity of the exposed carbonate rocks of this unit ranges from 0.5 to 15.1%, and permeability ranges from <0.01 to 1224 md. In the subsurface of the basin, the porosity of the reservoir rocks ranges from 0.5 to >8%, and permeability ranges from <0.1 to 5 md. The main reservoir porosity is a dissolution-enhanced vuggy porosity, associated with dolomite. The carbonate rocks show great heterogeneity, reflecting the varying effects of karstification in creating and modifying porosity.

Petrographic and geochemical analyses of various components in these carbonates provided evidence for depositional and diagenetic processes. The reservoir carbonates were deposited in shallow and restricted hypersaline environments and were later modified by karstification and burial diagenesis. Dolomitization appears to have resulted from mixing of marine and meteoric waters and probably occurred in both shallow and deep burial settings. Cementation by calcite also occurred in both shallow and deep environments, under different hydrodynamic conditions. Both depositional settings and diagenetic processes, such as leaching by meteoric water, paleokarstification, dolomitization, and cementation, controlled reservoir development. The outcrop and subsurface samples show similar petrographic features, porosity types, and geochemical characteristics, but the exposed section of the formation shows evidence of more alteration by meteoric water.

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