Abstract

The offshore Bohai Bay Basin, located in the central Bohai Bay Basin, north China, one of the most petroliferous basins in China. In this article, based on formation-testing temperature, drill-stem tests, and bottom-hole temperature data, 80 thermal gradient values at the depth interval of 0 to approximately 3000 m (~9843 ft) in the offshore Bohai Bay Basin were obtained. The basinwide average thermal gradient is 31.8 ± 4.6°C/km. Based on the above thermal gradient data and the corresponding average weighted thermal conductivity data, 80 measured terrestrial heat flow values were obtained. These values range from 33.5 to 84.0 mW/m2, with an average value of 60.8 ± 8.7 mW/m2. The heat flow and thermal gradient distribution in this region generally show higher values in the uplifts and lower ones in the sags. A thermal history, derived from vitrinite reflectance and apatite fission-track) data, indicates that Paleogene cooling occurred after a period of much higher paleogeothermal gradient (38∼54°C/km). Tectonic subsidence analysis reveals that the area experienced initial synrift subsidence during the Paleogene followed by subsequent thermal subsidence since the Neogene. Thermal and tectonic subsidence histories of this area are of great significance to petroleum exploration and hydrocarbon resource assessment because they bear directly on issues of petroleum source rock maturation. The maturation and hydrocarbon expulsion histories of the Paleogene Shahejie 3 Formation (E2s3), which is the most important source rock in the offshore Bohai Bay Basin, are modeled. Results show that the Shahejie 3 Formation is in a high mature stage at the present day, and the Bozhong and Qikou sags are the most important kitchens. The Huanghekou sag became the third most important hydrocarbon kitchen in the early Neogene. Based on this hydrocarbon kitchen evolution, oil and gas mainly accumulated after 12 Ma. The evolution of kitchen areas may provide new insights for the understanding of the oil and gas exploration potential of the offshore Bohai Bay Basin.

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