Abstract

We have investigated the geologic features of the lower Cambrian-aged Niutitang Shale in the northwestern Hunan province of South China. Our results indicate that the Niutitang Shale has abundant and highly mature algal kerogen with total organic carbon (TOC) content ranging from 0.6% to 18.2%. The equivalent vitrinite reflectance (equal-Ro) value is between 2.5% and 4.3%. Mineral constituents are dominated by quartz and clay. The average quartz content (62.8%) is much higher than that of clay minerals (26.1%), and this suggests a high brittleness index. Organic-matter pores, interparticle pores, intraparticle pores, interlaminated fractures, and structural fractures are all well developed. The porosity ranges from 0.6% to 8.8%, with an average of 4.8%, whereas the permeability varies from 0.0018 to 0.0600  μD (microdarcy) (averaging 0.0182  μD). The porosity of TOC- and clay-rich shale samples is generally higher than that of quartz-rich shale samples. The gas adsorption capacity of the Niutitang Shale varies from 2.26 to 4.53  cm3/g, with a mean value of 3.11  cm3/g. The TOC content appears to significantly influence gas adsorption capacity. In general, TOC-rich samples exhibit a much higher adsorption capacity than TOC-poor samples.

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