Interpretation: SEG 5 (2):SF41-SF61 (2017)

Forty-six core samples were collected from a deep well that penetrated organic-rich layers of the Chang 7, 8, and 9 members of the Yanchang Formation in the Ordos Basin. Tests for total organic content, Rock-Eval pyrolysis, X-ray diffraction mineralogy, and molecular composition of gases released from rock crushing were conducted. Analytical results indicate that TOC and clay contents are elevated. The organic matter -rich mudstone in the Triassic Yanchang Fm suggests good-to-excellent source potential for oil generation. Its thermal maturity is in the oil window. Strong petroleum expulsion occurred from the upper part of the approximately 13 m thick Chang 7 member, and for the Chang 8 and Chang 9 members, resulting in low free oil and low methane concentration in these OM-rich intervals. A combination of sandstone and thin organic-rich mudstone layers is a perfect hybrid lithology stacking pattern for petroleum expulsion. The thickness for effective source rock, approximately 10–12 m, varied with sandstone/mudstone lithology stacking pattern. In contrast, limited or no oil expulsion occurred in the lower part of Chang 7 member, a 25 m thick organic-rich interval, which is indicated by high free oil and high [Formula: see text] concentration. A [Formula: see text]-TOC plot can be used to differentiate generated gas, retained gas in OM-rich mudstones, and migrated gas in permeable sandstone beds. We have developed a conceptual model for petroleum expulsion from OM-rich thin versus OM-rich thick layers. Compaction and thermal volume expansion of oil generated from OM may play an important role in petroleum expulsion in OM-rich mudstones. The estimated petroleum expulsion efficiency is approximately 70% and 35% for thin and thick OM-rich mudstone layers, respectively. The redistributed OM in clay-dominated rock assemblage likely forms the preferred migration path to petroleum expulsion.
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DOI 10.1190/int-2016-0104.1
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