Shale oil and gas have been discovered in the lacustrine Zhangjiatan Shale in the southern Ordos Basin, China. To study the distribution of extractable organic matter (EOM) in the Zhangjiatan Shale (Ro ranges from 1.25% to 1.28%), geochemical characterization of core samples of different lithologies, scanning electron microscope observations, low-pressure N2 and CO2 adsorption, and helium pycnometry were conducted. The content and saturation of the EOM in the pores were quantitatively characterized. The results show that the distribution of the EOM in the shale interval is heterogeneous. In general, the shale layers have a higher EOM content and saturation than siltstone layers. The total organic content and the original storage capacity control the EOM content in the shale layers. For the siltstone layers, the EOM content is mainly determined by the original storage capacity. On average, 75% of the EOM occurs in the mesopores, followed by 14% in the macropores, and 11% in the micropores. The EOM saturation in the pores decreases with the increase in pore diameter. The distribution of EOM in the shale pores is closely related to the pore type. Micropores and mesopores developed in the kerogens and pyrobitumens and the clay-mineral pores coated with organic matter are most favorable for EOM retention and charging.

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