The Triassic Yanchang Formation is currently a hot spot for lacustrine shale-gas exploration in the Ordos Basin, China. A seismic-sedimentological study using a newly acquired 3D survey was conducted to advance the interpretation and prediction of the shale-gas reservoirs. The seismic volume was converted into a log-lithology volume at the thin-bed level. The inverted acoustic impedance volume was stratal sliced to extract seismic geomorphologic information. Deltaic facies and depositional history were interpreted using lithologic and planform morphology of seismic attributes on stratal slices. Detailed core analysis data including total organic content (TOC), mineral composition, and mechanical properties of sandstones and shales were correlated with seismic-derived lithology and facies. Microseismic data were evaluated for reservoir performance in production wells. Finally, shale-gas sweet spots, or optimal drilling targets, were predicted by mapping relatively high-brittleness lithofacies in 3D using seismic attributes. In the three submembers of the Chang 7 member of the Yanchang Formation, the high-TOC Ch7-1 shale unit is not ideal for shale-gas development because of its ductile nature and tunnel effect when fracturing. Ch7-2 prodelta sediments are shale-gas sweet spots because they are thick, relatively brittle, and in close proximity to high-TOC Ch7-1.

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