The coalbed methane resource is very abundant in Qinshui basin (3.28 × 1012 m3; 114 tcf). The investigation on the upper Paleozoic coalbed methane system is a guide to the exploration and development of coalbed methane. The upper Paleozoic coalbed methane system in the Qinshui basin is sealed by a low-permeability roof and floor strata comprising mudstone, siltstone, and bauxite of the Carboniferous Benxi Formation and the Permian Shanxi and Xiashihezi formations. The overburden is the Lower Permian Xiashihezi Formation and the Upper Permian, Triassic, and Middle Jurassic clastic deposits. The source and reservoir rocks are the Carboniferous–Permian coal seams. The hydrocarbon generation of the source rocks reached its first peak in the Late Triassic. The highest maturity was about Ro = 1.2% under a normal paleogeothermal gradient (2–3°C/100 m; 1.1–1.7°F/100 ft). A tectonic thermal event during the Jurassic and Cretaceous Yanshanian orogeny enhanced the coal maturity and caused a second peak of hydrocarbon generation. Varying igneous intrusions caused the coal maturity to be higher in the southern, northern, and eastern parts of the Qinshui basin instead of the central and western parts. The highest maturity was greater than Ro = 4% in the Jincheng area. The migrated thermogenetic coalbed methane accumulated in the reservoirs in which abnormally high reservoir pressure exists locally under the hydrodynamic drive. Because of the different hydrodynamic background and sealing condition, the distribution of coalbed methane content is inhomogeneous. The reservoir is undersaturated with gas in most areas. Based on the coalbed methane system investigation, we assessed the coalbed methane producibility in different parts of the Qinshui basin, and the major producibility area is in the southern part of the basin.

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