Abstract

Paleogene saline lacustrine carbonate rocks are important fractured reservoirs in the western Qaidam Basin. Core data show that most fractures are small, steeply dipping faults; bedding-plane slip faults; and subvertical opening-mode fractures. Other fractures are diagenetic in origin. Fracture occurrence and abundance patterns are controlled by lithology, bed thickness, and proximity to larger faults. Fractures are generally filled with calcite, gypsum, or glauberite (Na2Ca[SO4]2); the degree of fracture filling determines the effectiveness of fractures as fluid conduits and the distribution of high-quality reservoirs. Open fractures not only provide the main pathways for fluid flow, but also enhance the free fluid index and the free fluid saturation measured by nuclear magnetic resonance and determine the potential production rates of tight carbonate reservoirs. The open fractures are parallel to and occur near faults, and many do not coincide with the present-day direction of the maximum horizontal compressive stress.

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