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The main Japanese oil producing region lies on the Japan Sea side of northern Honshu island. Although the total reserve is small and production supplies only three-tenths of a percent of total Japanese oil consumption, it has two distinguishing features: (1) the main reservoir rocks are volcanic, pyroclastic, or tuffaceous, and (2) primary oil and gas migration seems to have taken place downward from the overlying source rocks. Marine volcanic activity since 15 Ma formed the main reservoir sections together with significant secondary porosity development. Thick and continuous deposition of organic-rich shales and mudstones followed and lower parts of these fine-grained rocks became the main source rocks. The principal direction of primary hydrocarbon migration occurred vertically downward from them. These fine-grained rocks seem to have acted as pressure seals as well as capillary seals over the oil/gas saturated zones below.

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