FORMATION AND RESERVOIR ROCK CHARACTERISTICS OF DOLOSTONES IN THE EARLY TRIASSIC FEIXIANGUAN FORMATION, NE SICHUAN BASIN, CHINA: SIGNIFICANCE FOR FUTURE GAS EXPLORATION

Wenzhi Zhao1* , Ping Luo*a, Gengsheng Chen2, Hong Cao1 and Baoming Zhang1

1 Research Institute of Petroleum Exploration and Development, Beijing, China, 100083.

2 Southwest Branch Co. (Oil and Gas Fields), PetroChina, Chengdu, China.

Corresponding authors, email: zwz@petrochina.com.cn and pluo@petrochina.com.cn.

Major discoveries of natural gas have recently been made in the oolitic dolostones of the Early Triassic Feixianguan Formation in NE Sichuan Province, Southern China. These dolostones were formed by three facies-controlled dolomitization processes: (i) meteoric mixing zone dolomitization with dolomites having a relatively high degree of crystalline order13C: 1.0 to 2.5PDB; δ18O: 6.5 to 2.5PDB); (ii) seepage-reflux dolomitization associated with evaporative brines; the corresponding dolomite crystals are relatively ordered and were formed in tidal flat environments and platform-margin oolitic shoals adjacent to lagoons; (iii) burial dolomitization (shallow to moderate burial depths, ca. 1,000 to 4,000m), whereby seawater-derived brines were present in the host rock and the resultant water/rock reactions played a major role in dolomitization.

The three dolomitization processes were controlled by the arid climate prevailing during the Early Triassic, and also by fourth-order relative sea-level changes, especially with respect to the reflux dolomitization. Burial dolomitization, which is of second-order of importance for porosity development, was strongly dependant on the presence of sufficient original porosity to facilitate water-rock reactions within the carbonates. The best reservoir rocks formed as oolitic banks and bars in the vicinity of evaporative lagoonal-tidal complexes which experienced optimal conditions for dolomitization. Dolostones with a dolomite content of 80% to 90% form good vuggy reservoir rocks at the present day, indicating that the intensity of dolomitization influences the quality of reservoir rocks.

According to our results, future gas exploration in the Feixianguan Formation dolostone reservoirs should focus on locating oolitic banks associated with evaporative lagoon and tidal flat complexes and delineating the best structural/lithological traps
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