Geological conditions and gas-bearing evaluation of the Niutitang Formation shale in the Xixiang–Zhenba area, China

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Qing Xie
Feng Xu
Ning Wang
Zhen Yang


Black carbonaceous shale of the Niutitang Formation in the Xixiang–Zhenba area was found to be well developed and abundant in high-quality shale gas. However, few studies have been conducted in this area, and its reservoir-forming conditions are not clear. This study aims to analyse source rocks, reservoir characteristics and storage conditions of the Niutitang Formation shale in the Xixiang–Zhenba area using field investigations, drilling and logging, supplemented with laboratory experiments. Results of this study shows that the Niutitang Formation shale is deeply buried at 1500–4500 m and is mainly 10-110 m thick. The shale is widely distributed, thicker in the west, thinner in the east and is a highly mature organic rich source rock with kerogen type I and II. The shale stratum features a high content of brittle minerals, many natural cracks, and a low content of clay minerals which are mainly illite, followed by a mixed layer of illite and smectite. The shale reservoir is characterized by low porosity and permeability. In addition, the lithology is dense and acts as a good seal in this area while it has a high adsorption capacity and high gas-bearing potential. Overall, within the study area, the western, central, and southern parts have good structural preservation conditions. The Niutitang Formation in the study area shows excellent organic matter characteristics for shale gas generation as well as good geological conditions for shale gas accumulation.


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