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Petroleum Geology of Principal Sedimentary Basins in Eastern China

K. Y. Lee

The principal petroliferous basins in eastern China are the Songliao, Ordos, and Sichuan basins of Mesozoic age, and the North China, Jianghan, Nanxiang, and Subei basins of Cenozoic age. These basins contain mostly continental fluvial and lacustrine detrital sediments. Four different geologic ages are responsible for the oil and gas in this region: (1) Mesozoic in the Songliao, Ordos, and Sichuan basins; (2) Tertiary in the North China, Jianghan, Nanxiang, and Subei basins; (3) Permian-Carboniferous in the southern North China basin and the northwestern Ordos basin; and (4) Sinian in the southern Sichuan basin. The most prolific oil and gas sources are the Mesozoic of the Songliao basin and the Tertiary of the North China basin.

Although the major source rocks in these basins are lacustrine mudstone and shale, their tectonic settings and the resultant temperature gradients differ. For example, in the Songliao, North China, and associated basins, trapping conditions commonly are associated with block faulting of an extensional tectonic regime; the extensional tectonics in turn contribute to a high geothermal gradient (40°-60°C/km), which results in early maturation and migration for relatively shallow deposits. However, the Ordos and Sichuan basins formed under compressional conditions and are cooler. Hence, maturation and migration occurred late, relative to reservoir deposition and burial, the result being a poorer quality reservoir.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #91043©1986 AAPG Annual Convention, Atlanta, Georgia, June 15-18, 1986.