New study in Frontiers of Earth Science suggests lacustrine shale reserves could bolster China’s energy independence

BEIJING, September 2, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Shale oil exploration has grown rapidly since the beginning of the 21st century, especially in North America. Since 2010, offshore shale oil production has increased at an average rate of more than 25% per year, making the US the world leader in production with total recoverable resources pegged at approximately 20.7 billion tonnes. The development of shale oil resources has significant potential to shape energy security and geopolitics. In addition to offshore shale oil, countries have also started using lake basins for oil production.

Lake shale oil reserves are considered optimal when their organic content is high, the reservoirs are suitably high pressured to facilitate formation, and Ro the value that indicates the thermal maturity of shale is greater than 1.0%. in China, medium to high maturity lacustrine shale oil is characterized by mature liquid hydrocarbons and a high proportion of mobile oil. While these characteristics make it a valuable resource, questions surrounding production costs and recoverable quantities remain. Furthermore, without low development costs, it remains to be seen whether these reserves can be exploited economically.

Now petroleum scientists led by Dr. Wenzhi Zhao in the China National Petroleum Corporation, presented their evaluation of the enrichment conditions and location characteristics of lake shale oil reservoirs in China. “We have proposed a set of parameters for evaluating shale oil enrichment zones and assessed the presence of optimal zones. This data will serve as a good reference to promote the economic development of these oil reserves.” says Dr. Zhao, explaining the motivation behind the study, which was published in Frontiers of Earth Science. Also visit the press release website:

The team used data collected from medium- to high-maturity lacustrine shale reserves currently being developed in China for their analyzes and specifically determines the optimal conditions for the accumulation of shale oil and the characteristics of these deposits. Their analysis revealed that shales with high organic content and appropriate thermal maturity favor oil retention. “The optimum organic content of this shale ranges from three to four percent, and kerogen I and II appear to be the dominant type of organic matter. Interestingly, the Ro values ​​of this shale are greater than 0.9%. Finally, these reservoirs should exhibit a certain degree of brittleness and have porosity between three to six percent,” explains Dr. Zhao. In addition to these parameters, shale oil with good mobility was found when large amounts of high-grade hydrocarbons were present, and the enrichment interval of this oil was highly dependent on the reservoir, which has a tightly closed roof and bottom.

“What we’re seeing is that major oil enrichment is occurring in semi-deep to deep depositional zones. Furthermore, the distribution of shale oil enrichment intervals is governed by the type of lithology, as oil and gas are trapped in the source rock. the best lithological sections, while the Madstone is not,” notes Dr. Zhao, suggesting the characteristics of these deposits.

The team directs the reserves China with medium to high maturity close to 16.3 billion tonnes, of which almost 8.4 billion can be commercially developed. They are distributed in the Ordos, Songliao, Bohai Gulf and Junggar basins and represent a significant energy resource for of China future.

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Title of the original article: Enrichment conditions and distribution characteristics of medium- to high-maturity lacustrine shale oil in China
Journal: Frontiers of Earth Science

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SOURCE Earth Science Frontiers

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