Scholarly article on topic 'Types and characteristics of carbonate reservoirs and their implication on hydrocarbon exploration: A case study from the eastern Tarim Basin, NW China'

Types and characteristics of carbonate reservoirs and their implication on hydrocarbon exploration: A case study from the eastern Tarim Basin, NW China Academic research paper on "Materials engineering"

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{"Carbonate reservoir" / "Hydrocarbon exploration" / "Grain shoal" / "Mound shoal" / "Gravity flow deposits" / Dolomite / "Eastern Tarim Basin"}

Abstract of research paper on Materials engineering, author of scientific article — Shiwei Huang, You Zhang, Xingping Zheng, Qifa Zhu, Guanming Shao, et al.

Abstract Carbonate rocks are deposited in the Ordovician, Cambrian, and Sinian of eastern Tarim Basin with a cumulative maximum thickness exceeding 2000 m. They are the main carriers of oil and gas, and a great deal of natural gas has been found there in the past five years. Based on lithofacies and reservoir differences, natural gas exploration domains of eastern Tarim Basin can be classified into five types: Ordovician platform limestone; Ordovician platform dolomite; Cambrian platform margin mound shoal; Cambrian slope gravity flow deposits, and; Sinian dolomite. Carbonate reservoir characteristics of all the types were synthetically analyzed through observation on drilling core and thin sections, porosity and permeability measurement, and logging data of over 10 drilling wells. We find distribution of part of good fracture and cave reservoir in carbonate platform limestone of Ordovician. In the Ordovician, platform facies dolomite is better than limestone, and in the Cambrian, platform margin mound shoal dolomite has large stacking thickness. Good quality and significantly thick carbonate gravity deposit flow can be found in the Cambrian slope, and effective reservoir has also been found in Sinian dolomite. Commercial gas has been found in the limestone and dolomite of Ordovician in Shunnan and Gucheng areas. Exploration experiences from these two areas are instructive, enabling a deeper understanding of this scene.

Academic research paper on topic "Types and characteristics of carbonate reservoirs and their implication on hydrocarbon exploration: A case study from the eastern Tarim Basin, NW China"

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ADVANCING RESEARCH EVOLVING SCIENCE

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Journal of Natural Gas Geoscience xx (2017) 1—7

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Original research paper

Types and characteristics of carbonate reservoirs and their implication on hydrocarbon exploration: A case study from the eastern Tarim Basin, NW

Shiwei Huang a, You Zhang b,c *, Xingping Zheng b,c, Qifa Zhu d, Guanming Shao b,c, Yanqing Cao a, Xiguang Chen b,c, Zhao Yang b,c, Xiaojia Baie

a Exploration Department of Daqing Oilfield Company Ltd., Daqing 163453, China b PetroChina Hangzhou Research Institute of Petroleum Geology, Hangzhou 310023, China c CNPC Key Laboratory of Carbonate Reservoirs, Hangzhou 310023, China d Production Operations Department of Seventh Oil Production Plant in Daqing Oilfield Company Ltd., Daqing 163517, China e Research Institute of Exploration and Development, Tarim Oilfield Company, PetroChina, Korla 841000, China

Received 27 September 2016; revised 15 December 2016 Available online ■ ■ ■

Abstract

Carbonate rocks are deposited in the Ordovician, Cambrian, and Sinian of eastern Tarim Basin with a cumulative maximum thickness exceeding 2000 m. They are the main carriers of oil and gas, and a great deal of natural gas has been found there in the past five years. Based on lithofacies and reservoir differences, natural gas exploration domains of eastern Tarim Basin can be classified into five types: Ordovician platform limestone; Ordovician platform dolomite; Cambrian platform margin mound shoal; Cambrian slope gravity flow deposits, and; Sinian dolomite. Carbonate reservoir characteristics of all the types were synthetically analyzed through observation on drilling core and thin sections, porosity and permeability measurement, and logging data of over 10 drilling wells. We find distribution of part of good fracture and cave reservoir in carbonate platform limestone of Ordovician. In the Ordovician, platform facies dolomite is better than limestone, and in the Cambrian, platform margin mound shoal dolomite has large stacking thickness. Good quality and significantly thick carbonate gravity deposit flow can be found in the Cambrian slope, and effective reservoir has also been found in Sinian dolomite. Commercial gas has been found in the limestone and dolomite of Ordovician in Shunnan and Gucheng areas. Exploration experiences from these two areas are instructive, enabling a deeper understanding of this scene.

Copyright © 2017, Lanzhou Literature and Information Center, Chinese Academy of Sciences AND Langfang Branch of Research Institute of Petroleum Exploration and Development, PetroChina. Publishing services by Elsevier B.V. on behalf of KeAi Communications Co. Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

Keywords: Carbonate reservoir; Hydrocarbon exploration; Grain shoal; Mound shoal; Gravity flow deposits; Dolomite; Eastern Tarim Basin

1. Introduction

There is vast distribution of carbonate rocks in eastern Tarim Basin (referred to as 'Tadong'), bounded to the

* Corresponding author. CNPC Key Laboratory of Carbonate Reservoirs, Hangzhou 310023, China.

E-mail address: zhangyou_hz@petrochina.com.cn (Y. Zhang). Peer review under responsibility of Editorial office of Journal of Natural Gas Geoscience.

southeast by Che'erchen fault, to the northeast by Kongquehe fault, and to the west by Tabei uplift as well as the Manxi low slope, a huge triangular area between Tabei and Tazhong uplifts [1—3]. The top surface of Ordovician carbonate rocks has huge fluctuations in structure, and its tectonic units can be divided into the middle Manjiaer depression with great depth, the eastern Yingjisu Depression with slightly shallow depth, including the north side Kongquehe slope, the east Luobupo low uplift, the south Tadong uplift, the southwest Gucheng low uplift, and Shunnan slope etc (Fig. 1). Today the burial depth

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jnggs.2017.02.001

2468-256X/Copyright © 2017, Lanzhou Literature and Information Center, Chinese Academy of Sciences AND Langfang Branch of Research Institute of Petroleum Exploration and Development, PetroChina. Publishing services by Elsevier B.V. on behalf of KeAi Communications Co. Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

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of the top surface of Tadong uplift carbonate is generally more than 4000 m; in the Shunnan—Gucheng area, it's more than 5500 m. The exploration area of carbonate that is shallower than 6000 m is about 3 x 104 km2.

Large-scale oil and gas exploration of Tadong began in the late 1980s. More than 20 exploratory wells have been drilled into the Paleozoic carbonate rocks, with rich oil and gas flows. For example, a small amount of crude oil was produced from Well Tadong 2 of Tadong uplift in the Cambrian. Low-yield gas flow was obtained from Well Yingdong 2 in Cambrian. Clumps of asphalt were also found in Well Gucheng 4 in Cambrian. Low-yield gas flow was obtained from Well Gulong 1 in Ordovician Yingshan dolomite [4—6]. Especially since 2011, commercial gas flow was obtained from Wells Shunnan 1, Gucheng 6, Gucheng 8, Shunnan 4, Shunnan 5, Shunnan 7, and Gucheng 9 in Ordovician carbonate rocks [7—9]. Gas reservoir was found in Well Chengtan 1 in the Cambrian dolomites. According to existing research and drilling, carbonate rocks of Tadong are adjacent to Lower Paleozoic source rocks, and have superior oil and gas accumulation conditions [10,11]. However, the carbonate rocks of the Tadong exploration area are deeply buried. So far, there exist only a few exploratory wells, which are distributed unevenly. Overall exploration and awareness level of the study area is relatively low. Gas reservoir lithologies contain both limestone and dolomite. Gas layers are found in multiple layers of Ordovician and Cambrian. Sinian dolomite is still to be broken through. Through a comprehensive analysis of existing major exploratory wells data, the carbonate exploration and reservoir characteristics of Tadong are comprehensively sorted. This helps to break limitations to understanding, which

lead to exploration dead zones. And this will also enable natural gas breakthroughs and introduce ideas for sustained discovery.

2. Carbonate rocks stratigraphy

Stratigraphy of carbonate rocks in Tadong are mainly distributed in the Ordovician of the Lower Paleozoic, Cambrian and Sinian. The Ordovician and Cambrian come across different strata partitions, and therefore two sets of stratigraphic nomenclature systems [12—14] exist. These are in fact different phases between the platform and slope-basin region (Fig. 1).

Cambrian and Ordovician in Shunnan, Gucheng, and Luoxi blocks belong to shallow water platform facies. Carbonate rocks developed in Upper Cambrian Qiulitage Formation, Lower Ordovician Penglaiba Formation, Lower-Middle Ordovician Yingshan Formation, and Middle Ordovician Yijianfang Formation. The levels of limestone increases from the bottom to the top of the stratum, as those of dolomitede-creases. Lithology of upper Ordovician was dominated by clastic rock.

Cambrian and Ordovician in Tadong uplift, Kongquehe slope belong to ramp-deep basin. Tuershaketage formation of Upper Cambrian-Lower Ordovician was dominated by limestone and dolomite. The bottom of stratum, on the other hand, was dominated by dolomite; while the top of stratum was dominated by limestone, and the cumulative thickness was up to one thousand meters. Lithology of Heituwa Formation in Middle-Lower Ordovician and overlying strata was dominated by clastic rock.

Fig. 1. Tectonic zoning map of Lower Paleozoic in the east of Tarim Basin and its comprehensive stratigraphic column.

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Four exploration wells of Cambrian and Ordovician in Tadong uplift and Kongquehe slope drilled Shuiquan dolomite of Upper Sinian, and the thickness is distributed unevenly.

3. Main carbonate reservoirs types and their characteristics

According to the development of geological strata and facies, carbonate reservoirs in eastern Tarim Basin were divided into five major categories: Ordovician platform

limestone' Ordovician platform dolomite; Cambrian platform margin mound shoal; Cambrian slope gravity flow deposits; and Sinian dolomite with rich reservoir space types (Fig. 2).

3.1. Ordovician platform limestone

Shallow water platform limestones were deposited during the Ordovician in Shunnan, Gucheng, and Luoxi blocks. The cumulative thickness is between 500 and 800 m. It was confirmed by six exploration wells in Gucheng platform and

Fig. 2. Carbonate reservoir photos of Lower Paleozoic in eastern Tarim Basin. (a) Mud-crystal particles of limestone, intergranular calcite cementation, intergranular dissolution pores filled with asphalt, Well Gc10, upper Yingshan Formation, 5863.00 m; (b) Mud-crystal particles of limestone, intergranular dissolution pores filled with asphalt, Well Gc7, upper Yingshan Formation, 5749.00 m; (c) Microtek dolomite, intergranular dissolution pores developed, Well Gc8, lower Yingshan Formation, 6077.80 m, cast thin sections; (d) Microtek dolomite, intergranular dissolution pores developed, Well Gc7, lower Yingshan Formation, 6679.30 m, cast thin sections; (e) Middle crystalline dolomite, residual psammitic ghost, residual holes distributed along fractures, Well Ct1, 6878.41 m, Upper Cambrian; (f) Dolomite cave developed, cave diameter is about 30—40 mm, half cave was filled by dolomite, Well Ct1, 6879.28 m, Upper Cambrian; (g) Finegrained dolomite, residual psammitic ghost, dissolved pores developed locally, Well Ct2, 6727.45 m, Upper Cambrian; (h) Fine-grained dolomite, residual psammitic ghost, dissolved pores developed locally, Well Ct1, 7074.5 m, Upper Cambrian; (i) Fine-middle grained dolomite, residual psammitic ghost, intergranular dissolved pores developed, Well Ml1, 5523.44 m,, cast thin sections, Upper Cambrian; (j) Dolomite cave developed, cave diameter is about 10—30 mm, outcrop sample of Upper Cambrian; (k) fine crystalline dolomite, residual holes distributed along fractures, Well Td1, 4974.41 m, Upper Cambrian; (l) Fine crystalline dolomite, intergranular dissolution pores developed, Well Dt1, 5210.27 m.

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Luoxi platform that reservoir spaces were mainly dominated by intergranular dissolved pore, intragranular dissolved pore, corrosion fracture-vug and structural fracture, etc.

Most intragranular dissolved pores and part of dissolution vugs were filled with solid bitumen (Fig. 2a and b). They basically belong to matrix porosity reservoir. According to 97 tested samples, maximum porosity is 3.81%, while average porosity is 0.84%. Reservoir property is poor, and single-well reservoir thickness is generally less than 5 m. In porosity-typed reservoir of Ordovician limestone in Shunnan, little visible corrosion vugs can be found from the cores, and dissolution pores spots can be observed from logging imaging.

Previous studies suggest porosity-typed reservoir of Ordovician platform limestone distributed in grain bank facies, and experienced leaching of meteoric water. The reservoir was then modified by later burial dissolution [15—17]. It has a large area distribution, but generally has moderate to poor reservoir property. Seismic amplitude reflection for reservoir is weak to moderate. For example, good oil and gas flows occur in Yijianfang and upper Yingshan limestones in Well Shu-nann7, and Well Shunann7 with low-yield oil and gas flow after being acidized.

Fracture-vug reservoir was modified by dissolution of hydrothermal fluid that flowed along fractures. Reservoir property is good, and venting and leakage phenomena were often found during the drilling process. Seismic data show 'beaded' strong amplitude, and high-yield gas flow was often obtained during well-testing.

3.2. Ordovician platform dolomite

Ordovician dolomite mainly developed in lower Yingshan Formation and the upper Penglaiba Formation of Shunnan and Gucheng in Tadong. It interbedded with limestone of the same horizons, and cumulative thickness is between 50 and 300 m. According to the thin section observation of Gc6, Gc7, Gc8, Gc9, Gc12 in Lower Ordovician dolomite, reservoir spaces were mainly dominated by corrosion fracture-vug, intra-granular dissolved pores and structural fracture etc (Fig. 2c—e). Corrosion fracture-vug was the most important reservoir space type. Fracture-vug was filled with quartz, dolomite, calcite, and others. Intragranular dissolved pore was the secondary porosity, and was often filled with asphalt. Pores and holes usually developed in coarse grains dolomite (Fig. 2c and d).

The study suggests that the intergranular pore of fine to middle crystalline dolomite mainly formed in the shallow burial dolomitization process, while fracture-vug reservoir was modified by hydrothermal dissolution transported along fracture [16].

Reservoir properties of lateral distribution are controlled by combination of fault and grain shoal. The corrosion of calcite and dolomite produced corrosion hole; the cementation of quartz, calcite and dolomite are observed to have contributed to these destructive effects (Fig. 3) [18,19].

According to statistics of 15 tested samples, the maximum porosity is 4.65% while average porosity is 1.21%. Log

interpretation indicates that single-well reservoir thickness is 13.7 m. Reservoir properties and reservoir thickness of Ordovician dolomite are superior to limestone, which therefore also indicates that potential natural gas resource of dolomite may exceed limestone.

3.3. Cambrian platform margin mound shoal

From Luntai uplift to Gucheng uplift of Tadong area, a large 'S' shaped Cambrian platform margin developed, and multi-stage mound shoal accumulated towards the east [20,21]. They came across at 15—20 km (Fig. 4), and lithology was dominated by dolomite. The superimposed thickness of Cambrian mound shoal in Gucheng uplift is up to 500—800 m.

Well Ct1 drilled Cambrian mound shoal at the depth of 6855—7292 m, and the types of reservoir, are diverse. These are generally divided into two categories. The first reservoir type is large pores-fracture seriously modified by meteoric water-karst and hydrothermal dissolution-cementation. Its main reservoir spaces were cave, dissolved fracture, crack, and hollow between dissolution collapse breccias (Fig. 2e and f). Porosity test samples are an average of 2.4%. The second category is the small pores-seam slightly modified by karst. Its main reservoir spaces were dissolution of small pores, inter-crystalline pores, biological mold hole, intragranular dissolved pore and dissolved fracture (Fig. 2g and h). Porosity test samples are at an average of 1.4%. The cumulative reservoir thickness of platform margin mound shoal is up to 103 m.

3.4. Cambrian slope gravity flow deposits

During Cambrian period, Tadong uplift was mostly deep-water slope-basin. Situ fine-grained of normal deposition, such as shale, silicalite, argillaceous limestone, micritic limestone had poor porosity and permeability; gravity flow deposits redeposited, such as slope breccia and calcarenaceous turbi-dites, had coarse particles, with significant Bouma sequence structure, and had relatively better reservoir properties. Cambrian slope gravity flow depositsnear the platform margin are dolomitization which contained high-quality reservoir [22—24]. Gravity flow deposits gradually thinned from the platform margin slope towards the basin (Fig. 4). The average thickness of gravity flow deposits in eastern Gucheng slope and Luoxi slope is within the range of 50—150 m.

According to thin section observation of Wells Ml, Yd2, Yd1, Td1, Td2 and Gc2 in Cambrian slope gravity flow deposits, reservoir spaces were mainly dominated by corrosion pores, intragranular dissolved pore, intercrystalline dissolved pores and structural fracture, etc (Fig. 2i and j). According to the statistics of 70 tested samples, the maximum porosity is 4.01% and average porosity is 1.11%. Some samples have excellent reservoir properties with middle or middle-rough throat. Log interpretation indicates that the average thickness of gravel debris rock and high-density turbidites reservoir of single-well (such as Wells Ml, Yd2, Yd1) is at 37 m. Normal deposition of situ fine-grained, such those in as Well Td1, Well Td2 had thin reservoir thickness. The above statistical analysis

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Fig. 3. The influence of tectonic thermal events on reservoir heterogeneity.

showed that the Cambrian slope gravity flow deposits of Tadong, especially high density calcarenaceous turbidites could develop good and thick reservoirs.

3.5. Sinian dolomite

Sinian is the oldest strata of carbonate rocks in Tadong. Only Wells Td1, Td2, Dt1 and Yl1 have drilled through onto Sinian dolomite. Moreover, thickness varied from well to well. Rift shallow sedimentary characteristics have been observed.

According to core and thin section observation of Wells Td1, Td2 and Dt1 in Tadong uplift, reservoir spaces were mainly dominated by structural fracture, residue holes in cementation of dissolved fracture, as well as intercrystalline dissolved pores and breccias holes, among others (Fig. 2k and l). According to the statistics of 23 tested samples, the maximum porosity is 2.13% and average porosity is 0.92%. Log interpretation indicates that the reservoir average was mainly dominated by class III reservoir, with little class II reservoir. Therefore, effective reservoir of a particular thickness can be expected to develop in Sinian dolomite.

4. Carbonate hydrocarbon exploration

The exploration area of Ordovician carbonate platform in eastern Tarim Basin may exceed 12000 km2 (Fig. 1). The total resource of Shunnan limestone and Gucheng dolomite is up to hundreds of billions in cubic meters. And it is an important realistic field of gas exploration. Fracture-cave limestone reservoir in Shunnan had obvious seismic response, and had better exploration results. There was good gas flow measured in Ordovician limestone of Cuchneg platform and Luoxi platform, but with no oil and industrial gas flow. The exploration of Gucheng may learn from the experience of Shunnan, in which the strong seismic reflection of amplitude, relatively high-quality fracture-cave reservoir were selected. Currently, the dolomite reservoir of lower Yingshan Formation is the main gas reservoir of Cucheng. Fault activity played an important role in both reservoir and hydrocarbon accumulation [25—27]. The burial of Ordovician dolomite in Shunnan was deeper than 7000 m, deeper than Gucheng uplift. Few wells have drilled the dolomite. Strata of Well Shunnan 5 had different degrees of dolomitization, with good gas logging

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Fig. 4. Sedimentary facies of upper Cambrian in the east of Tarim Basin.

display. It also indicates that the deep Ordovician dolomites in Shunnan area have sustained exploration value.

The exploration area of Cambrian platform margin mound shoal in Gucheng area may exceed 1000 km2 (Fig. 1), And it may become another major exploration area after Ordovician platform limestone and dolomite. In 2014, Well Ct1 first revealed the deep Cambrian platform margin mound shoal-having gas reservoir, and this opened the prelude of a new field. Cambrian platform margin mound shoal also developed in the Luobupo uplift of eastern Tadong. However, no exploration wells have drilled the field.

Many giant foreign oil and gas fields that belong to deep-water Carbonate gravity flow deposits have been discovered. Tadong, is an important potential area of carbonate hydrocarbon exploration, with an exploration area of 6500 km2 (Fig. 1). Well Yd2 obtained low-yield gas flow. Hydrocarbon accumulation conditions of Gucheng east slope are approximate with Gucheng low uplift, and there is great hope to obtain industrial gas flow.

Tadong uplift and the structural high position of Kongquehe slopes are the main exploration domains in Sinian (Fig. 1), with an exploration area of 10000 km2, but receive relatively low levels of awareness and research. High-quality dolomite karst reservoirs are potential exploration areas as well.

5. Conclusions

(1) Carbonate reservoirs in eastern Tarim Basin are divided into five major categories: Ordovician platform limestone; Ordovician platform dolomite; Cambrian platform margin mound shoal; Cambrian slope gravity flow deposits; and Sinian dolomite, among others.

(2) The fracture-cave limestone reservoir of Shunnan yielded obvious seismic response, and had better exploration results. The exploration of Gucheng may learn from the experience of Shunnan, preferably selecting the strong seismic reflection and relatively high-quality fracture-cave reservoir.

(3) Ordovician platform dolomite reservoirs in Gucheng were mainly dominated by corrosion fracture-vug, intragranular dissolved pore and structural fracture, etc. It has obtained industrial gas flow. The deep Ordovician dolomites in Gucheng and Shunnan area have sustained exploration value.

(4) Gas reservoir has been discovered in deep Cambrian platform margin mound shoal of Gucheng area. Reservoir spaces were mainly dominated by large dissolved cavern, and porous matrix. It is indeed a new significant field for gas exploration. Cambrian slope gravity flow deposits and Sinian dolomite are potential fields for natural gas exploration.

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Foundation item

Supported by China National Science & Technology Special Project (2011ZX05004-002); Major Projects of China National Petroleum Corporation (2014E-32-02).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Acknowledgments

The authors thank Profs. Zengzhao Feng, Genshun Yao, and Anjiang Shen for their comments and suggestions on the original manuscript, and Daqing Oilfield Company for making the data available. The authors are grateful to reviewers, whose comments greatly improved the original manuscript.

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