Lacustrine Shale Gas Reservoir Characterization in the Yanchang Formation by Integrated Geological Facies, Geochemistry, Chemostratigraphy, SEM Pore Imaging, Petrography, and Geophysics

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2016

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During the past 2 years, researchers from the Bureau of Economic Geology (BEG) and Yanchang Petroleum Group (Yanchang) have worked closely to conduct an integrated research project titled "Lacustrine Shale Gas Reservoir Characterization in the Yanchang Formation by Integrated Geological Facies, Geochemistry, Chemostratigraphy, SEM Pore Imaging, Petrography, and Geophysics."

On November 8, 2013, a team of executives, led by Dr. Xiangzeng Wang, Vice President and Chief Geologist of the Shaanxi Yanchang Petroleum Company, Ltd., visited the Bureau of Economic Geology (BEG) to sign a 2-year agreement for the project. Project objectives were to provide integrated studies of geological facies, hydrocarbon geochemical characterization, chemical stratigraphy, SEM pore imaging, and detailed petrographic study. These aspects were to be integrated to yield broader concepts about hydrocarbon generation and storage and the distribution of geological facies and fundamental rock attributes. Additionally, models were to be developed for evaluating sweet spots for shale gas that can be applied in making economic decisions.

All project tasks have been on schedule, and collaboration between the BEG and Yanchang Petroleum has been very successful. A team of executives, led by Dr. Xiangzeng Wang, Vice President of the Shaanxi Yanchang Petroleum Company, Ltd., traveled to Austin twice during the research project for midterm and final project reviews. The Research Institute of Shaanxi Yanchang Petroleum sent five researchers to the BEG who were involved in specific research tasks relevant to their backgrounds and interests. A team of BEG researchers led by Dr. Scott Tinker, BEG Director; Eric Potter, BEG Energy Program Manager; and Drs. Tongwei Zhang and Hongliu Zeng, Principal Investigators (PIs) of the research project, traveled to Xi'an three times to conduct core description, data collection, and sampling. A field trip to Yanchang Formation outcrops took place during one visit, and presentations were given at the year-1 project review meeting and at the final project review meeting. BEG researchers also conducted a series of technology-transfer workshops at The Research Institute of Shaanxi Yanchang Petroleum.

A large amount of new data collection has been conducted during the 2 years of the project. More than 60,000 raw data for 23 new analytical items are summarized in Table 1: 15 GB of petrographic data, 25 GB of SEM pore imaging data, and 216 core pictures were collected. Twenty oral presentations, nine poster presentations, three reports, and five abstracts were given in annual and final project review meetings (Table 2). Key results will be published in Interpretation, in a Special Section titled "Lacustrine shale characterization and shale resource potential in Ordos Basin, China," in May 2017.

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