Abstract

The Yanchang Formation in the Ordos Basin in North Central China represents a large, long-lived lacustrine system of the late Triassic Period. The extensive shales within this system provide hydrocarbons (HCs) for conventional and unconventional oil and gas reservoirs. In the formation, the Chang 7 shale is the thickest shale with the best geochemical parameters, and it is the main source rock in this area. In recent years, the discovery of shale gas in the Chang 7 shale has promoted the exploration and development of lacustrine shale gas in China. We have estimated the shale gas resource potential based on the analysis of the geologic conditions of the Chang 7 shale. The average thickness of the Chang 7 shale reaches 42.6 m, and the main organic matter types are types I1 and II2. The average content of organic carbon is more than 3%, and the average HC potential is 11.2  mg/g. However, the thermal maturity of the Chang 7 shale is low with a vitrinite reflectance Ro ranging from 0.83% to 1.10%. The Chang 7 shale lithology consists of shale and sandy laminations or thin sandstones. The shale is characterized by high clay mineral content and poor porosity and permeability, with an average porosity of 1.8% and an average permeability of 0.163×103  μm2. The sandy laminations or thin sandstones are characterized by relatively higher brittle mineral content, relatively lower clay mineral content, and higher porosity and permeability. The pores of the Chang 7 shale include primary intergranular and intragranular pores, secondary intragranular and intragranular dissolved pores, fracture pores, and organic-matter-hosted pores. The proportion of adsorbed gas, free gas, and dissolved gas is approximately 52%, 37%, and 11%, respectively, and the shale gas resources of the Chang 7 shale are 5318.27×108  m3.

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