Potential resources of conventional, tight, and shale oil and gas from Paleogene Wenchang Formation source rocks in the Huizhou Depression

Tao Hu, Guanyun Wu, Zhi Xu, Xiongqi Pang, Yang Liu, Sa Yu

Abstract view|0|times       PDF download|0|times


Conventional and tight unconventional oil and gas resources in the Huizhou Depression have shown broad exploration prospects, which mainly originate from Wenchang Formation source rocks. Thus far, studies on Wenchang Formation source rocks mainly focused on the geochemical characteristics and conventional petroleum resource evaluation; however, the correlation of conventional, tight, and shale oil and gas, and their resources are still unknown. In fact, the formation of conventional, tight, and shale oil and gas are intrinsically related, which allows for a more objective evaluation to consider the three types of oil and gas resources simultaneously in the whole dynamic process of both hydrocarbon generation and expulsion, as well as reservoir tightness history. In this work, based on geological and geochemical analyses, the improved hydrocarbon generation potential method was utilized to establish a hydrocarbon generation and expulsion model of the Wenchang Formation source rocks. Then, combined with the reservoir tightness history, the conventional, tight, and shale oil and gas resources were evaluated. The results show that the Wenchang Formation source rocks are distributed in the whole depressions, with a thickness of 50-1850 m and an average total organic carbon content of 2.2%. The organic matter is mainly type II and is mature-high maturity. The Wenchang Formation source rocks reached hydrocarbon generation threshold and expulsion threshold at a vitrinite reflectivity of 0.43% and 0.65%, respectively, and the reservoir evolved completely tight at 2.3 Ma. Overall, the Lower and Upper Wenchang Formation contain a large amount of conventional, tight, and shale oil and gas resources.

Cited as: Hu, T., Wu, G., Xu, Z., Pang, X., Liu, Y., Yu, S. Potential resources of conventional, tight, and shale oil and gas from Paleogene Wenchang Formation source rocks in the Huizhou Depression. Advances in Geo-Energy Research, 2022, 6(5): 402-414. https://doi.org/10.46690/ager.2022.05.05


Hydrocarbon generation, hydrocarbon expulsion, resource potential, Wenchang Formation, Huizhou Depression

Full Text:



Cao, X., Zhong, D., Liu, J., et al. Coupling between diagenetic environment and porosity evolution—A quantitative study of the Zhuhai Formation in the Huizhou Sag, Pearl River Mouth Basin, South China Sea. Minerals, 2020, 10(2): 170.

Guo, B., Yu, F., Wang, Y., et al. Quantitative prediction of palaeo-uplift reservoir control and favorable reservoir formation zones in Lufeng Depression. Advances in Geo-Energy Research, 2022, 6(5): 426-437.

Guo, Q., Chen, N., Wu, X., et al. Method for assessment of tight oil resources. China Petroleum Exploration, 2013, 18(2): 67-76. (in Chinese)

Hu, T., Pang, X., Jiang, F., et al. Movable oil content evaluation of lacustrine organic-rich shales: Methods and a novel quantitative evaluation model. Earth-Science Reviews, 2021, 214: 103545.

Hu, T., Pang, X., Jiang, F., et al. Dynamic continuous hydrocarbon accumulation (DCHA): Existing theories and a new unified accumulation model. Earth-Science Reviews, 2022a, 232: 104109.

Hu, T., Pang, X., Xu, T., et al. Identifying the key source rocks in heterogeneous saline lacustrine shales: Paleogene shales in the Dongpu depression, Bohai Bay Basin, eastern China. AAPG Bulletin, 2022b, 106(6): 1325-1356.

Hu, T., Pang, X., Yu, S., et al. Hydrocarbon generation and expulsion characteristics of Lower Permian P1 f source rocks in the Fengcheng area, northwest margin, Junggar Basin, NW China: Implications for tight oil accumulation potential assessment. Geological Journal, 2015, 51(6): 880-900.

Jia, C. Breakthrough and significance of unconventional oil and gas to classical petroleum geology theory. Petroleum Exploration and Development, 2017, 44(1): 1-10.

Jia, C., Zou, C., Li, J., et al. Assessment crlteria, main types, basic features and resource prospects of the tight oil in China. Acta Petrolei Sinica, 2012, 33(3): 343-350. (in Chinese)

Jia, P., Zhang, X., Chen, W., et al. Tectonic evolution of Huizhou 21 buried hill and its control over deep oil accumulations in the Huizhou Sag of Pearl River Mouth Basin. Marine Geology Frontiers, 2021, 37(12): 27-37. (in Chinese)

Jiang, H., Pang, X., Shi, H., et al. Source rock characteristics and hydrocarbon expulsion potential of the Middle Eocene Wenchang formation in the Huizhou depression, Pearl River Mouth basin, south China sea. Marine and Petroleum Geology, 2015, 67: 635-652.

Jiang, Z., Zhu, J., Deng, H., et al. Petroleum system and hydrocarbon accumulation characteristics in the Wenchang and Enping formations in the Huizhou Sag, Pearl River Mouth Basin, China. Energy Exploration & Exploitation, 2012, 30(3): 351-371.

Katz, B. J, Lin, F. Consideration of the limitations of thermal maturity with respect to vitrinite reflectance, Tmax , and other proxies. AAPG Bulletin, 2021, 105(4): 695-720.

Li, C., Pang, X., Huo, Z., et al. A revised method for reconstructing the hydrocarbon generation and expulsion history and evaluating the hydrocarbon resource potential: Example from the first member of the Qingshankou Formation in the Northern Songliao Basin, Northeast China. Marine and Petroleum Geology, 2020, 121: 104577.

Li, J., Yang, Z., Wu, S., et al. Key issues and development direction of petroleum geology research on source rock strata in China. Advances in Geo-Energy Research, 2021, 5(2): 121-126.

Li, S. Petroleum resources ecaluation of the hydrocarbon-rich generation depression with sparse wells—A case study from the Huizhou Depression, Pearl River Mouth Basin. Wuhan, China University of Geosciences, 2013. (in Chinese)

Liu, J., Xu, G., Wen, H., et al. Main factors controlling the formation of buried hill-Paleogene reservoirs in 26-6 structure of Huizhou, Pearl River Mouth Basin. Natural Gas Industry, 2021, 41(11): 54-63. (in Chinese)

Ma, K., Pang, H., Zhang, L., et al. Hydrocarbon dynamic field division and its relevance to oil and gas exploration for Paleogene reservoir in Lufeng Depression. Advances in Geo-Energy Research, 2022, 6(5): 415-425.

Male, F., Duncan, I. J. The paradox of increasing initial oil production but faster decline rates in fracking the Bakken Shale: Implications for long term productivity of tight oil plays. Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering, 2022, 208: 109406.

Pang, X., Li, M., Li, S., et al. Geochemistry of petroleum systems in the Niuzhuang South Slope of Bohai Bay Basin: Part 3. Estimating hydrocarbon expulsion from the Shahejie formation. Organic Geochemistry, 2005, 36(4): 497-510.

Pang, X., Jia, C., Wang, W., et al. Buoyance-driven hydrocarbon accumulation depth and its implication for unconventional resource prediction. Geoscience Frontiers, 2021a, 12(4): 101133.

Pang, X., Shao, X., Li, M., et al. Correlation and difference between conventional and unconventional reservoirs and their unified genetic classification. Gondwana Research, 2021b, 97: 73-100.

Pang, X., Hu, T., Larter, S., et al. Hydrocarbon accumulation depth limit and implications for potential resources prediction. Gondwana Research, 2022, 103: 389-400.

Peng, J., Pang, X., Shi, H., et al. Hydrocarbon generation and expulsion characteristics of Eocene source rocks in the Huilu area, northern Pearl River Mouth basin, South China Sea: Implications for tight oil potential. Marine and Petroleum Geology, 2016, 72: 463-487.

Peters, K. E., Cassa, M. R. Applied source rock geochemistry, in the Petroleum System-From Source to Trap, edited by L. B. Magoon and W. G. Dow, American Association of Petroleum Geologists, Tulsa, pp. 93-120, 1994.

Robison, C. R., Elrod, L. W., Bissada, K. K. Petroleum generation, migration, and entrapment in the Zhu I depression, Pearl River Mouth basin, South China Sea. International Journal of Coal Geology, 1998, 37(1-2): 155-178.

Shi, H., Du, J., Mei, L., et al. Huizhou movement and its significance in Pearl River Mouth Basin, China. Petroleum Exploration and Development, 2020, 47(3): 483-498.

Shi, H., Zhu, J., Jiang, Z., et al. Hydrocarbon resources reassessment in Zhu I depression, Pearl River Mouth basin. China Offshore Oil and Gas, 2009, 21(1): 9-14. (in Chinese)

Shi, Y., Liu, J., Wen, H., et al. Thermo-compression simulation experiment and gas generation potential analysis of Huizhou 26-6 source rocks in the Pearl River Mouth basin. Marine Geology Frontiers, 2021, 37(11): 53-59. (in Chinese)

Sun, F., Zhang, K., Han, S., et al. Analysis of petroleum play and resources evaluation in the North Ustyurt Basin. Journal of Northeast Petroleum University, 2020, 44(6): 43-52. (in Chinese)

Tissot, B. P., Pelet, R., Ungerer, P. H. Thermal history of sedimentary basins, maturation indices, and kinetics of oil and gas generation. AAPG Bulletin, 1987, 71(12): 1445-1466.

Tissot, B. P., Welte, D. H. Petroleum Formation and Occurrence. Berlin, Germany, Springer-Verlag, 1984.

Wang, M., Sherwood, N., Li, Z., et al. Shale oil occurring between salt intervals in the Dongpu Depression, Bohai Bay Basin, China. International Journal of Coal Geology, 2015, 152: 100-112.

Wang, X., He, S., Wu, J. Tectonic controls on lacustrine source rock occurrence in the Huizhou Sag, Pearl River Mouth Basin, China. International Geology Review, 2019, 62(1): 72-93.

Xie, Y., Gao, Y. Recent domestic exploration progress and direction of CNOOC. China Petroleum Exploration, 2020, 25(1): 20-30.

Xu, S., Li, S., Yuan, C. Resource potential of water-soluble gas in the Palaeogene Huizhou Sag, Pearl River Mouth Basin. Petroleum Exploration and Development, 2012, 39(2): 194-201.

Zhang, P., Lu, S., Li, J., et al. Permeability evaluation on oil-window shale based on hydraulic flow unit: A new approach. Advances in Geo-Energy Research, 2018, 2(1): 1-13.

Zhu, H., Pang, X., Jiang, Z., et al. Studying methods and application of the hydrocarbon accumulation coefficient. Earth Science—Journal of China University of Geosciences, 2007, 32(2): 260-266. (in Chinese)

Zou, C., Dong, D., Wang, S., et al. Geological characteristics and resource potential of shale gas in China. Petroleum Exploration and Development, 2010, 37(6): 641-653.

Zou, C., Zhu, R., Wu, S., et al. Types, characteristics, genesis and prospects of conventional and unconventional hydrocarbon accumulations: Taking tight oil and tight gas in China as an instance. Acta Petrolei Sinica, 2012, 33(2): 173-187. (in Chinese)

DOI: https://doi.org/10.46690/ager.2022.05.05


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2022 The Author(s)

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Copyright ©2018. All Rights Reserved