Late Neoproterozoic to Early Palaeozoic evolution and hydrocarbon prospectivity of the NW Tarim Basin, China
Sebastian A. Turner, 2012. "Late Neoproterozoic to Early Palaeozoic evolution and hydrocarbon prospectivity of the NW Tarim Basin, China", Geology and Hydrocarbon Potential of Neoproterozoic–Cambrian Basins in Asia, G. M. Bhat, J. Craig, J. W. Thurow, B. Thusu, A. Cozzi
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Recent contraction in the NW Tarim Basin, China, has exhumed a thick (2–3 km) sequence of Upper Neoproterozoic to Lower Palaeozoic sediments that provide a unique insight into the early evolution of the basin. The sedimentary sequence was examined in outcrop and consists of a lower, 500-m-thick fluvial–lacustrine clastic and volcanic succession, conformably overlain by a 2000-m-thick shallow marine carbonate succession which records a major rifting event that initiated in the Late Neoproterozoic. This rifting event probably corresponds to the break-up of East Gondwana and the separation of the Tarim Block from a conjugate margin equivalent in NW Australia. The generation and infilling of rift basins creates a number of potential hydrocarbon plays, although analysis of individual play elements indicates a relatively high risk, despite the prevalence of hydrocarbons derived from the same rift sequence elsewhere in the basin.
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This volume provides a comprehensive overview of the geology and hydrocarbon potential of the major Neoproterozoic–Cambrian basins of Asia from Oman, across the Middle East and the Indian Subcontinent, to China and SE Siberia, along with new research on the region. Many of these areas (e.g., Oman, Bikaner–Nagaur Basin in India, South China and SE Siberia) host prolific Neoproterozoic–Cambrian petroleum systems with giant to supergiant fields. Three key elements: (1) tectonic stability, (2) relatively late phase of hydrocarbon generation and (3) presence of an effective evaporite seal, seem to be critical for the development of effective Neoproterozoic–Cambrian petroleum systems. These key elements appear of less consequence for the development of ‘unconventional’ hydrocarbons, and the future prospectivity in many of these basins may lie in the exploration for, and production of, shale gas and shale oil directly from the thermally mature, organic-rich source rocks.