You are on page 1of 31

Chapter 6

Carbonate Fracture-Cavity Reservoir

Chapter Outline D. Tracer Identification Method 202

Section 1. Origins and Identification of Carbonate Fracture- E. Constant-Volume Body Method 202
Cavity Reservoir 192 3. Types of Fracture-Cavity Units 202
1. General Characteristics of Fracture-Cavity Reservoirs 192 4. Significance of Fracture-Cavity Unit Classification 202
2. Main Controlling Factors for Fracture-Cavity Reservoir
Development 193 Section 3. Migration Mechanism and Enrichment Factors
(1) Control of Lithology on Fracture-Cavity Reservoir of Hydrocarbon Accumulations in Carbonate
Development 193 Fracture-Cavity Reservoirs 203
(2) Control of Karstification on Reservoir Quality 193 1. Oil/Gas Production Characteristics in Different Types of
A. Paleokarst Types 193 Fracture-Cavity Reservoirs 204
B. Paleokarst Zonation 195 (1) Isolated-Cavity-Type Oil and Gas Reservoir 204
(3) Control of Paleogeomorphology on a Karsted Reservoir 196 (2) Connected Fracture-Cavity Type Oil and Gas Reservoir 204
(4) Control of Paleofaults and Fractures on the Karsted 2. Oil/Gas Conduction System 205
Reservoir 196 (1) Fault and Fracture Conduction System 206
(5) Impact of Fracture-Cavity Filling on a Karsted Reservoir197 (2) Unconformity Conduction System 206
3. Identification of a Fracture-Cavity Reservoir 197 (3) Connected Sand-Body Conduction System 206
(1) Paleokarst Identified in Outcropa 197 (4) Combined Conduction System 206
(2) Paleokarst Evidence in Drilling and Logging 197 3. Hydrocarbon Migration and Accumulation Mechanism 206
(3) Paleokarst Evidence Observed in Core 197 4. Factors That Control Oil/Gas Enrichment in
(4) Paleokarst Evidence in Wireline-Log Display 197 Fracture-Cavity Reservoirs 208
(5) Seismic Evidence of Paleokarst 198 (1) Long-Term Exposed Paleo-Uplift Controlled the
(6) Paleokarst Evidence in Thin Section 198 Development of Quality Reservoir 208
(7) Geochemical Characteristics 198 (2) Quality Reservoir Controlled the Oil/Gas Enrichment in
4. Characteristics and Distribution of Karsted Carbonate Fracture-Cavity Fields 209
Facture-Cavity Reservoirs in China 199 (3) Superimposition of Reservoirs with Multiple Origins Is
(1) Karsted Cambrian-Ordovician Reservoirs in the Tabei the Basis for Large-Scale Distribution of Oil/Gas 210
Area of Tarim Basin 199 (4) Long-Term Successively Uplifted Slope Area,
(2) Karsted Cambrian-Ordovician Reservoirs in the Bachu Overlapping and Pinchout Area, and Areas with
and Tazhong Areas of Tarim Basin 199 Frequent Lithological Bariations Are Favorable
(3) The Karsted Ordovician Reservoir of the Majiagou Places for Oil and Gas Accumulation 210
Formation in the Ordos Basin 200 Section 4. Exploration and Development Technologies for
(4) Karsted Sinian Reservoir in the Weiyuan Gasfield of Carbonate Fracture-Cavity Oil and Gas
Sichuan Basin 200 Accumulations 210
Section 2. The Fracture-Cavity System and Units of 1. Lithologic and Paleo-Geomorphologic Analysis 211
Carbonate Reservoir 201 2. Seismic Prediction Technology 211
1. Concept of Fracture-Cavity System and Unit 201 3. Physical Modeling 211
2. Principles and Methods for Classification of 4. Reservoir Sculpturing Technique 211
Fracture-Cavity Unit 201 5. Direct Hydrocarbon Detection 212
(1) Principles for Classification of Fracture-Cavity Unit 201 6. Reservoir Acid-Fracturing Technique 212
(2) Determination of Fracture-Cavity Unit Boundary 201 7. Development Technology of Horizontal Wells 212
(3) Division of Fracture-Cavity Units 201 8. Stimulation Technology in Horizontal Wells 213
A. Reservoir Pressure Drop Method 201 9. Water Injection and Oil Displacement Technology 213
B. Well Interference Method 202 Section 5. Exploration Potential and Direction of Carbonate
C. Fluid Property Method 202 Fracture-Cavity Hydrocarbon Resources 214

Unconventional Petroleum Geology. 191

Copyright Ó 2013 Petroleum Industry Press. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
192 Unconventional Petroleum Geology

(2) Horizontal Distribution of Reservoirs 217

1. Paleo-Uplifts and Surrounding Slope Areas 214 4. Hydrocarbons Distribution 217
2. Large Stratigraphic Unconformity Reservoirs 214 5. Main Controlling Factors for High Hydrocarbon
3. DeepeUltra-Deep Reservoirs 216 Productivity and Accumulation 218
Section 6. Case Study 216 (1) Sufficient Hydrocarbon Sources 219
(2) Development of Layer-Like Fracture-Cavity System 219
1. Tectonic Evolution of Lunnan Low Uplift 216
2. Sedimentary Facies and Reservoir-Caprock Assemblage 216 (3) Enrichment at Structural Highs 219
3. Reservoir Characteristics of Lunnan Low Uplift 217 (4) Caprocks Overlain Paleokarsts 219
References 220
(1) Vertical Distribution of Reservoirs 217

The carbonate fracture-cavity reservoirs are widely 1. GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS OF

distributed in the world. Statistics show that 20%e30% of FRACTURE-CAVITY RESERVOIRS
recoverable hydrocarbon resources are related to uncon-
formity surfaces (Flugel, 2004). And many reservoirs are
The main pore network of the fracture-cavity reservoir is
related to paleokarsts, such as carbonate weathered crust
composed of big and small dissolved cavities, fractures,
reservoirs at Top Majiagou-5 Member of Lower Ordovician
and dissolved pores. Large cavities constitute the major
in Ordos Basin, China (Dai et al., 1997); gas reservoirs of
pore network, while matrix pores are underdeveloped, and
Sinian, Carboniferous, and Lower Permian in Sichuan
fractures mainly play the role of communication. Gener-
Basin; Mesoproterozoic and Neoproterozoic reservoirs of
ally, dissolved pores with diameter more than 5e15 mm are
Renqiu oil field in Bohai Bay Basin; and Ordovician
deemed to be dissolved cavities, and continuously extended
reservoirs of Tabei, Tazhong, and Bachu-Maigaiti areas in
cavities are called the dissolved cavity system or cavity
Tarim Basin. Among those reservoirs, the Ordovician
system (Ford, 1998).
fracture-cavity reservoirs in the Yingmaili-Halahatang-
Based on industrial standards, the pore network of
Tahe-Lungu area in Tabei, Tarim Basin are the most
fracture-cavity reservoirs can be further classified into big
representative, by showing sizable and highly variable
pore, midpore, small pore, micropore, huge cavity, big
distribution. This chapter focuses on the carbonate fracture-
cavity, midcavity, small cavity, big fracture, midfracture,
cavity reservoir, that is, the hydrocarbon reservoir with
small fracture, and microfracture (Table 6-1).
fractures and cavities as the main pore network.
The carbonate pore network can be further divided
intothe macroscopic fracture-cavity pore network and the
SECTION 1. ORIGINS AND microscopic pore-fracture pore network. The macroscopic
IDENTIFICATION OF CARBONATE fracture-cavity pore network includes the cavities and frac-
tures observed in core, and the large dissolved cavities evi-
FRACTURE-CAVITY RESERVOIR denced by bleed-off, blowout, and lost circulation in drilling
The carbonate fracture-cavity reservoir contains both (including large dissolved cavities in logging data interpre-
fractures and dissolved pores and cavities, which are tation). For example, from the drilling results of Well
affected by original lithology, structure, and the kar- Lunnan West LG15, the thickness of Ordovician is 20.5 m,
stification process. Studies on carbonate fracture-cavity and the cumulative bleed-off thickness in the cavity devel-
reservoirs mainly include: (1) description of pore network opment zone is 2.09 m; Well LG432 is 59 m away from
and reservoir types for carbonate reservoirs; (2) study on weathered crust, and a large dissolved cavity locates at
sedimentary processes; (3) control of structural evolution 5645e5720 m depth, which is filled by gray-green argilla-
on the karsted fracture-cavity system; (4) identification ceous siltstone and limy siltstone. Vertically, large dissolved
techniques of fracture-cavity reservoir, such as core anal- cavities were usually developed in underflow karst zone at
ysis, mud log, and electrical logging; (5) prediction of 50e140 m from the top of weathered crust; horizontally,
fracture-cavity reservoirs, including geophysical and they were developed in the paleokarst slope zone. The
structural methods; and (6) geologic modeling for fracture- microscopic pore-fracture pore network includes pores with
cavity reservoirs. It is significant for exploration and diameter less than 2 mm and microfractures with a width less
development of carbonate oiland gas fields to conduct both than 1 mm under cast slice analysis and SEM observation.
microscopic and macroscopic studies on carbonate pore Micropores include intercrystal pore, intercrystal dissolved
network and to understand both paleo-geomorphology and pore, and intragranular pore. Microfractures include struc-
the history of paleokarsted formations. tural fracture, pressolved fracture, and dissolved fracture.
Chapter | 6 Carbonate Fracture-Cavity Reservoir 193

TABLE 6-1 Classification of Carbonate Pores, Cavities, and Fractures

Pore Cavity Fracture

Type Diameter (mm) Type Diameter (mm) Type Width (mm)

Big pore 0.5e2 Huge cavity 1000 Huge fracture 100

Mid pore 0.25e0.5 Big cavity 100e1000 Big fracture 10e100
Small pore 0.01e0.25 Mid cavity 20e100 Mid fracture 1e10
Micro pore <0.01 Small cavity 2e20 Small fracture 0.1e1
Micro fracture <0.1

The pore network combination types include fracture dolomite; among different types of limestones, bioherm
type, fracture/cavity type, small cavity type, and cavity type. limestone, grainstone, and micrite are more dissoluble than
In fracture-type reservoirs, factures constitute both pore argillaceous limestone. As long as rock composition has an
network and filtration passage, presenting the feature of low impact on dissolubility, coarse-grained rocks have inter-
porosity and high permeability. In fracture/cavity type granular pores and good connectivity, where dissoluble
reservoirs, the pore network is mainly composed of pores water can diffuse and leach along intergranular pores and
and cavities, while the filtration passage is composed mainly disperse into whole rocks, resulting in spatial dissolution.
of fractures. This type of reservoir has low porosity but high Rocks with primary pores (such as reef limestone) are also
permeability, presenting good quality and obtaining high oil under strong dissolution.
flow in tests. In the small-cavity-type reservoir, the pore
network is mainly pores and small cavities, which can hardly
get oil flowing without fracture communication. In the (2) Control of Karstification on Reservoir
cavity-type reservoir, the pore network is mainly composed Quality
of unfilled or half-filled large cavities, such as sinkholes and
As a diagenetic facies (Esteban and Klappa, 1983), karst
sack-like cavities in the surface karst zone, as well as bead-
refers to the destruction and transformation actions of CO2-
like dissolved cavities along fractures.
bearing surface water and underground water on dissoluble
rocks (such as dissolution, leaching, erosion, transportation
2. MAIN CONTROLLING FACTORS FOR and deposition). Iintegrated hydrologic and geomorphic
FRACTURE-CAVITY RESERVOIR phenomena resulted therefrom, when carbonate rocks
DEVELOPMENT (including evaporates) are exposed to the atmospheric
water diagenetic environment, which includes both chem-
Fracture-cavity reservoirs, with variable pore network, are ical and physical processes. Wright (1982) defined paleo-
formed by complex controlling factors, which can be karst as “karstic features formed at one time, and
classified into internal causes and external causes. Internal subsequently buried by younger formations” (page 83 to
causes mainly refer to lithology and physical property. 84). In general, paleokarst refers to the karst at geologic
External causes include climate condition, breaking times; however, there is no consensus on e whether the time
strength, paleogeomorphology, paleodrainage, vegetation, is before Cenozoic or before Quaternary.
and length of exposure, among which climate condition is
the main controlling factor (Yuan et al., 1987; Ford and
Williams, 1989; James and Choquette, 1988). A. Paleokarst Types
Although scholars do not agree on karst classification
(1) Control of Lithology on Fracture-Cavity (Bathurst, 1975; Longman, 1980; Tucker and Wright,
1990; Palmer, 1991), generally three categories can be
Reservoir Development
distinguished: (1) penecontemporaneous karst, (2) epige-
Favorable sedimentary facies constitute the basis for netic karst, and (3) buried karst (Table 6-2).
reservoir development. The dissolubility of rocks depends Epigenetic karst is highly affected by structural
on their composition, rock fabric, and physical-chemical unconformity and paleostructure, presenting a complex
properties. In general, limestone is more dissoluble than pore/cavity-fracture network with apparent vertical
TABLE 6-2 Genetic Classification and Characteristics of Paleokarst

Diagenetic Corrosive fluid Water circulation Water circulation Main controlling

Category Type Diagenetic stage environment source drive force of karst condition of karst factors

Penecontemporaneous Fresh water dissolution Penecontem Atmospheric Atmosphere Gravity Open Sedimentary
karst poraneous environment and sea
level change

Epigenetic karst Exposed weathered Epigenetic Atmospheric Atmosphere Gravity Open Unconformity surface,
crust karst eroded datum
Bedding karst Gravity, pressure partially-open Confined water
circulation condition,
regional ground water
Buried karst Organic acid Early diagenetic~ Buried Hydrocarbon fluid Buoyancy Sealed Organic acid
dissolution Late diagenetic concentration
Deep thermal fluid Deep thermal fluid Density drive Sealed Deep thermal fluid
dissolution circulation condition
Pressolved water Overlying strata Pressure, gravity Sealed Acid substance content
dissolution in underlying strata

Unconventional Petroleum Geology

Mixed water Multiple sources Density, gravity Relatively sealed Water circulation
dissolution condition
Chapter | 6 Carbonate Fracture-Cavity Reservoir 195

zonation and developing such typical features as calcareous deposits are mainly surface eluvium and cavity wall
crust, paleosoil, bauxite, light pink calcite crystal, dissolved colluvium. Surface deposits are mainly brown-red oxidized
ditch, pit, sinkhole; crescent, overhanging, and fibrous sediments, including bauxitic and collapsed breccia. The
filtration sand or cement; breccia and mechanical flow reservoir is mainly composed of fractures and dissolved
deposits related to underground river. Buried karst is pores and cavities, with a large effective pore network,
mainly controlled by faults and deep fluid, which often which is one of the most favorable targets for current
develop such minerals as heterotactic ferrodolomite, fluo- exploration because of well-developed fractures and good
rite, sphalerite, magnetic pyrite, and collapsed structures, connectivity. In the drilling process, well kick, drilling-bit
fissures, and irregular breccia massifs. Based on the study fall, and lost circulation often occur. In Well Lungu 15,
of paleokarst reservoirs in the Tabei area, Tarim Basin, the for example, three intervals were totally bled off at
main Ordovician paleokarst is interlayer karst, buried hill 5736e5750 m, with total thickness of 2.09 m.
plus bedding karst, which can be divided into Tahe-Lunnan A seepage karst zone is located between the surface
type and Halahatang type. Among them, Tahe-Lunnan type karst zone and maximum ground water level, with a thick-
was developed at a structural high location, with steep slope ness of 30e120 m and 150 m at the thickest. It is dominated
and strong hydrodynamics, forming typical karst; Halaha- by leaching and dissolving actions with downward filtration
tang type is at a structural low location, with gentle terrain of the surface water system or downward seepage along
and weak hydrodynamics, resulting in interlayer karst and early fractures, and it is dominated by vertical karst action.
buried hill plus bedding karst (Figure 6-1). The distribution is related to the strength of karstification,
location at structure, and ground water level. In the seepage
karst zone, small, middle, or large dissolved cavities and
B. Paleokarst Zonation fractures in the shape of bottleneck, calabash, sack, and
Carbonate karst system shows vertical zoning, which bead are developed. The bottom of the cavities often extend
consists of a surface karst zone, a seepage karst zone, and toward karst lowland, until cavities are interconnected to
an underflow karst zone from top to bottom. Each karst form a huge fracture-cavity pore network. Cavities and
zone has characteristic features, showing certain horizontal dissolved fractures are mostly distributed vertically, with
distribution patterns and layer-like architecture. relatively limited lateral extent. Only local calcite cements
A surface karst zone is normally developed near in dissolved fractures and sand-mud fillings in a few dis-
weathered paleokarst and above a downward seepage zone, solved pores and cavities can be seen. If the dissolved
with thickness less than 50 m. Affected by meteoric fresh cavities cannot bear the pressure of upper and surrounding
water near the surface, it involves surface colluviation, rocks, collapsed cavities at the top of a buried hill could be
biological denudation, and certain depositional processes. developed. This karst zone is also one of the most favorable
The karst pattern is dominated by surface runoff of fresh intervals for exploration. For the wells drilled in Lungu
water. Karst products include some dissolved ditch, cavity, west area of the Tarim Basin, the thickness of seepage zone
fracture, lowland, funnel, and sinkhole formed by flushing is from 12.3 m to 119 m, and is generally within 120 m.
and dissolving of surface runoff (with high CO2 content and An underflow karst zone is located near the under-
strong dissolubility) generated from fresh water, and the ground water level, with a thickness of 50e80 m. In general,

Late strong uplift intermission Early dissolution
Contemporaneous unexposed
Typical karst type Exposed slightly eroded
Carbonate platform type
shallow reef-bank type platform margin type

Mean high tide level

Mean low tide level

FIGURE 6-1 Paleokarst distribution pattern in the Tabei area, Tarim Basin.
196 Unconventional Petroleum Geology

the depth of open structural fractures with a certain aperture underflow zone often develops into underground river; and
is the bottom of underflow karst zone. In this zone, karst conduits are less filled, which are favorable for pore
underground water is very active. Water flow mostly shows space development and are a main target of oil and gas
horizontal movement and is under the CaCO3 unsaturation exploration. In the karst lowland type, dissolution is
state. Therefore, extensive dissolution exists, which extensive, underflow karst is significantly filled and
dissolves calcite and aragonite into pores and cavities, and collapsed, and karst lowland cavities have high water-
then further into small, medium, and large dissolved cavi- bearing possibilities. The paleodrainage system in the karst
ties (underground river). Where structural fractures are area includes surface and underground rivers, whose
developed, water mostly flows along the strike of structural development is affected by faulting and lithology; laterally
fractures; dissolved pores and cavities are interconnected to dissolved cavities are often developed along the main
form a huge reservoir body. Because water flows horizon- stream of the surface water system. For example, the
tally, the mud and sand brought in from the surface can Ordovician karst system in the Tabei area of the Tarim
easily form sand-mud sediments at lowlands of caves and Basin developed two-stage paleochannels. The first-stage
areas with gentle water flow, even with good bedding. Some channel was developed at lowland by a short time exposure
caves are fully or partially filled with sand and mud. Due to after deposition of the Yijianfang Formation, which is
the continuous flushing and dissolving of underground a highly sinuous meandering river, with an elevation
water, dissolved cavities would extend continuously and difference between upstream and downstream of less than
collapsed rocks would form at bottom of caves. This karst 15 m, presenting a gentle paleogeomorphologic back-
zone is also a favorable target for exploration. ground. The second-stage channel was developed by the
short-time exposure of the Sangtamu Formation at the
end of the Ordovician, with a high sinuosity, a fixed width-
(3) Control of Paleogeomorphology on to-depth ratio, an absence of lateral migration, and an
upstream-downstream elevation difference of less than 6 m
a Karsted Reservoir
on a gentle structure (Figure 6-2).
Paleogeomorphology plays an important role in the
development of karsted reservoirs. Karst paleo-
geomorphology can be divided into three types: (1) karst (4) Control of Paleofaults and Fractures on
highland, (2) karst slope, and (3) karst lowland. In the karst
highland type, surface and seepage karst zones are devel-
the Karsted Reservoir
oped, which are dominated by water drainage and charac- Faults and structural fractures determine the permeability
terized by a large thickness and significant cave-filling. In and its orientation in host rocks, which controls the flow
the karst slope type, karst is moderately developed, an path and direction of surface runoff and underground

Paleo-fluvial channel river distribution at top of Yijianfang Formation Paleo-fluvial channel distribution at top of Sangtamu Formation
FIGURE 6-2 Seismic imaging of Ordovician paleodrainage system in the Tabei area, Tarim Basin.
Chapter | 6 Carbonate Fracture-Cavity Reservoir 197

water flow. Therefore, the karsted reservoirs distribute bauxite, pyrite, or limonite, and overlying brecciola,
along fault and fracture zones. Usually, karsted reservoirs collapsed breccia, interstitial breccia, limy siltstone, and
are more developed in zones of dense faults and fractures, argillaceous siltstone associated with an erosion surface.
as well as hinge and crossing points of faults. For
example, faults were developed in three stages in the Ha-6
Block of the Tabei area, Tarim Basin. This fault system (2) Paleokarst Evidence in Drilling and
was dominated by conjugated shear faults, with connec- Logging
tivity being improved by late echelon faults cutting
through early X-shaped faults. There are abundant high- In a karsted interval, drilling often encounters speed-up,
angle structural fractures, oblique fractures, and micro- bleed-off, bit bouncing, lost circulation and blowout, oil
fissures; AND multiscale fractures were interconnected to bloom and film in mud pit, and drill cuttings with fluorescent
form complex, network-like migration pathways that displays frequently showing oil trace. Automorphic-
promoted further formation and modification of karsted hypautomorphic calcite crystals are often seen in drill-
zones. cutting samples. Gas survey indicates apparent signs of oil
and gas, with significantly increased total hydrocarbon,
heavy hydrocarbon, and hydrocarbon components. Many
(5) Impact of Fracture-Cavity Filling on wells in Lungu and Tahe oil fields were bled off. For
a Karsted Reservoir example, a total of four intervals were bled off in Well
Lungu-102, with a total thickness of 15.64 m. Multiple wells
The filling of fractures and cavities highly affects the in the Lungu west and Lungu-7 well area have a similar
pore network for oil and gas. Generally, in a surface karst situation (Figure 6-3).
zone, fractures, pores, and cavities are relatively devel-
oped, with less-filled void, high horizontal connectivity,
and best storage capacity. In a seepage karst zone, frac- (3) Paleokarst Evidence Observed in Core
tures are more developed than dissolved fractures and
cavities; however, as a zone under long-term downward In core observation, a paleokarst system can be indicated
seepage of surface water, this zone is poorly filled and by: (1) small dissolved pores and cavities kept open or
has some effective storage space. In the seepage karst being filled by calcite or a sand-mud substance; (2) small
zone, surface water after filtration mainly shows hori- dissolved pores and cavities with mauve or brown-
zontal flow. Following the orientation of fractures and yellowish inner walls, which are mostly filled or half-filled
drainage, water often flows toward a certain direction. by mud, and show bottleneck, calabash or bead shapes; (3)
Therefore, this zone often develops huge, near-horizontal breccia, such as collapsed breccia and interstitial breccia;
pores and cavities with transverse connectivity, that is, (4) bedded mud and sand sediments within the cavities that
underground rivers. Mud and sand carried from the mostly constitute karst conduit system; (5) autogenetic
surface would easily deposit in these cavities, to form minerals in caves, such as giant-crystal calcite and stalac-
fully filled and half-filled pores and cavities, with good tite; and (6) high-angle dissolved fractures filled with red,
storage capacity. gray-greenish mud or calcite.

3. IDENTIFICATION OF A FRACTURE- (4) Paleokarst Evidence in Wireline-Log

Paleokarst can be identified from both macroscopic and The wireline-logging responses of paleokarst are generally
microscopic aspects. The macroscopic aspect includes represented by three highs and two lows: (1) high gamma
outcrop, drilling, mud log, core, logging, seismic, and ray; (2) high transit time; (3) high neutron porosity; (4) low
production response, while the microscopic aspect includes resistivity; and (5) low bulk density (Zhang and Liu, 2009).
thin section, carbon and oxygen isotope, trace element, and In large dissolved cavities, the gamma ray value
fluid inclusion. increases with mud content; deep and shallow dual-lateral
and microlateral resistivity values are low with difference;
holes are severely enlarged; and neutral, density and
(1) Paleokarst Identified in Outcropa
acoustic curves vary greatly. Small dissolved pores and
Karsted carbonate rocks show apparent macrofeatures due cavities present leopard-shaped irregular black dots in
to long-term weather denudation and leaching impacts, microresistivity image logging (EMI or FMI), while large
characterized by such features as long-term depositional dissolved cavities present all black pads in EMI or FMI
hiatus, weathered eluvium such as bauxitic mudstone, images (Figure 6-4).
198 Unconventional Petroleum Geology

FIGURE 6-3 Bleed-offs in drilling process.

(5) Seismic Evidence of Paleokarst are filled by seepage siltstones; and (4) overhanging or
crescent calcite cements are developed.
Because the existence of a fracture-cavity zone increases The microfeatures of buried karst include: (1) ferro-
the absorption decay of seismic waves, the dissolved cave calcite, ferrodolomite, and heteromorphic dolomite filled in
system usually presents “bead-like” features on seismic pore, cavity. and fracture are dissolved into intergranular
profile (Figure 6-5). Other seismic features, such as low- and intragranular pores and cavities; (2) dissolution
ered frequency, weakened amplitude, random reflection, expands along early suture lines to form pressolved frac-
weak reflection, beaded reflection (discontinuous events or tures and dissolved micropores or unfilled fractures; (3) big
complex waves), and reduced velocity (up to 20%), all intergranular pores or intergranular dissolved pores exist
indicate development of the dissolved cavity system. among middle-coarse grained dolomite crystals in dense
array; and (4) there are thermal fluid minerals such as
fluorite and flint (Wang et al., 2008).
(6) Paleokarst Evidence in Thin Section
The microfeatures of penecontemporaneous karst include
(7) Geochemical Characteristics
the following: (1) in high-energy grainstone of bank facies, When carbon and oxygen isotopes vary in different
within the primary intergranular pores only the first-stage diagenetic environments, such as seepage-underflow,
fibrous rim calcite cements are dissolved, and late-stage mixed water, and dissolved cavity, geochemical studies on
granular calcite or coarse grained calcite are well carbonate reservoir are often adopted for identification of
preserved; (2) selective dissolution forms intragranular these environments, such as studies of trace elements and
dissolved pores, moldic pores, intergranular pores, micrite fluid inclusion. The calcite crystals, as cements of karst
envelopes, and the like; (3) intergranular dissolved pores fractures and cavities formed under buried karst action,

FIGURE 6-4 FMI characteristics of paleokarst-related pores, cavities, and fractures.

Chapter | 6 Carbonate Fracture-Cavity Reservoir 199

LG100 LN54−1 LN54 LG100−6 LG100−11 LG100−10 LG101 LG16−2 LG18

FIGURE 6-5 Bead-like responses to paleokarst caves on a seismic profile.

normally have a high homogenization temperature of and Paleozoic karsted reservoirs are widely distributed. In
inclusion (generally higher than 90 oC). Yaha and Yingmai-32 well areas around the axis of adjacent
composite anticlines, there are buried hill reservoirs of the
Indosinian-Yanshan period; toward the south. Hercynian,
Early Hercynian, and Late Caledonian karst reservoirs were
DISTRIBUTION OF KARSTED also developed; and at the surrounding slope area of pale-
CARBONATE FACTURE-CAVITY ohigh overlain by mudstone of Sangtamu Formation, Upper
RESERVOIRS IN CHINA Ordovician, multistage deep bedding underflow karst
reservoirs were developed in Ordovician carbonate
Generally, fracture-cavity reservoirs in Chinese oil and gas
sequences. The bedding karst reservoirs are characterized
fields are characterized by that the following features: (1)
by large cavity size, low filling extent, and good connec-
paleokarst has apparent vertical zonation, with a well-
tivity. For example, in Well Lungu-35, drilling results show
developed surface karst zone, vertical seepage zone, and
that the dissolved cavities are as high as 31 m, with the top
horizontal underflow zone; (2) storage space is mainly
6 m being hollow (Figure 6-6) (Zhang and Liu, 2009).
composed of half-filled or unfilled residual large dissolved
In general, the three categories of Ordovician carbonate
cavities and dissolved pore-cavity-facture system; (3) high-
reservoirs in theTahe oil field constitute five types of
quality reservoir is dominated by fracture-dissolved pore
reservoirs with different combinations: fault/cavity, frac-
and cavity-large cavity, which constitutes the most impor-
ture/cavity, cavity/fracture, fracture/reef (bank) pore, and
tant reservoirs and main pay zones for high and steady
fracture (Gu and Zhou, 2001).
production of large oil and gas fields; (4) reservoirs are
greatly controlled by paleokarst landforms and fault frac-
tures, and karst slope and faulted areas are the most (2) Karsted Cambrian-Ordovician
favorable areas for reservoir development; (5) secondary
Reservoirs in the Bachu and Tazhong Areas
pores resulting from buried organic dissolution are also
important, whose development tends to coincide with of Tarim Basin
hydrocarbon formation, evolution, and migration; and (6) In Tarim Basin, paleokarst reservoirs were also widely
multistage overlapping and modification of surface karst developed in the Cambrian-Ordovician Formation of the
and buried organic dissolution constitutes the best combi- Bachu and Tazhong areas, where three types of paleokarst
nation for generation of paleokarst reservoirs (Chen, 2004). reservoirs were developed in five stages: end of Early
Caledonian (Top of Cambrian) (2) early Middle Celedonian
(1) Karsted Cambrian-Ordovician (Top of Penglaiba Formation), (3) Middle-stage (Top of
Yingshan Formation) interbedded karsted reservoir,
Reservoirs in the Tabei Area of Tarim Basin
(4) Middle Celedonian late-stage (Lianglitage Formation)
The Tabei area belongs to a residual paleohigh, which reef/bank karsted reservoir, (5) Late Caledonian and Early
experienced multistage overlapping and modification of Hercynian buried hill reservoir. Among them, the inter-
tectonic movements in the Caledonian-Himalayan period, bedded karsted reservoirs in the third stage are widely
200 Unconventional Petroleum Geology

FIGURE 6-6 Types and distribution of Karsted reservoirs in the Tabei area, Tarim Basin.

distributed in the Bachu and Tazhong areas, with an Between the end of Ordovician to pre-deposition of the
exploration area of over 5  104 km2; reef/bank karsted Upper Carboniferous Benxi Formation, the Late Caledo-
reservoirs of the Lianglitage Formation were mainly nian-Early Hercynian movement led to an overall uplift of
developed along No. I platform margin zone, which the Ordos Basin, exposing the basin for 150 Ma. As a result,
changes to a normal buried hill reservoir toward the broad widely distributed karsted reservoirs were formed in the
intraplatform area, where Lianglitage Formation shows Ordos Basin. In the main area of the basin, the karsted zone
disconformity or small-angle unconformity contact with is about 30e80 m thick, which can be divided into a surface
“black quilt” of overlying Sangtamu Formation, with karst eluvium zone, a vertical seepage karst zone, and
depositional hiatus of about 2 Ma. The buried hill reservoirs a horizontal underflow karst zone among others. In the
formed in the second stage were widely developed in vertical seepage karst zone, meteoric water runoff rapidly
the Hetianhe Gasfield-Maigaiti Slope, especially in the flew and denuded downward and vertically along fractures,
Tazhong main horst belt and the broad southern area. to form the reservoir intervals dominated by fracture type
and cavity/fracture type rocks. In the horizontal underflow
karst zone, as the horizontal water flow was controlled by
(3) The Karsted Ordovician Reservoir of a pressure gradient to form laminar flow, unsaturated
the Majiagou Formation in the Ordos Basin underground water flew actively near the groundwater
level, with horizontal karst developed. Meanwhile, due to
The main part of the Ordos Basin covers an area of about strong dissolution by soluble minerals such as anhydrite
25  104 km2, with the Majiagou Formation of Mid- (nodule) and salt, underground water containing rich SO2 4
Ordovician distributed in an area of nearly 20  104 km2. was generated, which reinforced karstification against
The Majiagou Formation is divided into six lithologic carbonate rocks. As a result, reservoir bodies dominated by
intervals from top down, among which Ma6 Member in top fracture/dissolved pore and cavity type pores were devel-
was mostly denuded and top of M5 Member was partially oped, and the storage-seepage system with interconnected
absent. In the middle and eastern part of the basin, M5 cavities and fractures constitutes the most important natural
Member is further divided into 10 subunits from top down gas reservoir interval of Ma15.
(Ma15 to M10 1
5 ). In the gypsum-bearing dolomite flat of Ma5 to
M5, the pore-cavity microcrystal dolomite containing
gypsum nodules and mottles constitutes the main target zone (4) Karsted Sinian Reservoir in the
of exploration and the pay zone of Jingbian gasfield. Ma15 is
Weiyuan Gasfield of Sichuan Basin
the most important subunit, where the single-layer thickness
of dolomite is 3e5 m, and reservoirs are connected and in Based on statistics for 61 gas wells in the Weiyuan Gas-
stable distribution, with mean effective thickness of gas pay field, paleokarst reservoirs are mainly distributed in two
2.40 m and a distribution area of up to 4  104 km2. intervals in 12e23 m and in 43e80 m below the top
Chapter | 6 Carbonate Fracture-Cavity Reservoir 201

erosional surface of Sinian. The paleokarsted dolomite in interconnected fracture network, with the pore network and
the Sinian Dengying Formation belongs to the overlapped seepage path dominated by pores, cavities, and fractures
and modified product of multistage karstification. Paleo- and separated by a relatively compact or low-permeability
karst has apparent vertical zonation, and the weathered barrier (body). The same fracture-cavity unit with consis-
eluvium zone and seepage-underflow karst zone were well tent pressure (pressure connectivity) and similar fluid
developed. The eluvium zone is composed of weathered property can act as a relatively independent fluid flow unit
eluvial breccia, ferrite mudstone, and bauxitic mudstone, and basic oil-gas development unit.
with thickness of 3e3.5 m. The seepage karst zone mainly
developed the cavities and fractures consisting of fractures,
dissolved fractures, karst feeders, beaded karst pore-cavi- 2. PRINCIPLES AND METHODS FOR
ties, and sinkholes in vertical and high-angle distribution. CLASSIFICATION OF FRACTURE-CAVITY
Such cavities and fractures were mostly filled and partially- UNIT
filled by mud, seepage siltstone, grainy dolomite, and
breccia, which belong to cavity/fracture type or fracture-
(1) Principles for Classification
type reservoirs. The underflow karst zone is featured by of Fracture-Cavity Unit
multisets of near-horizontal dissolved pore and cavity Based on studies of fracture-cavity systems, we propose the
zones and cavity zones, which developed multiple reservoir following classification principles by referring to various
types such as fracture/cavity type, fracture/small cavity dynamic and static data:
type, cavity/fracture type, and fracture type.
1) Vertically, thick, dense barrier beds exist between
single-well production zones; if produced fluid prop-
SECTION 2. THE FRACTURE-CAVITY erties and production characteristics vary greatly
SYSTEM AND UNITS OF CARBONATE between different zones, they belong to different frac-
RESERVOIR ture-cavity units.
2) In the same karsted residual-hill structure, the areas
Greatly different from clastic reservoir, the carbonate with similar seismic amplitude or seismic wave char-
reservoir has a pore network and flow path dominated by acteristics and with the same hydrodynamic system
dissolved pores, cavities, and fractures of various origins, belong to the same fracture-cavity unit; among different
and is strongly heterogeneous, irregular, and multiscale fracture-cavity units, segmentation is apparent, and
in nature. Therefore, classification and evaluation for storage-seepage distribution is highly different.
carbonate fracture-cavity system and unit is very 3) Within a fracture-cavity unit, reservoir properties are
important. similar, with the same hydrodynamic condition, which
is unrelated to the reservoir bodies outside of the unit.
SYSTEM AND UNIT (2) Determination of Fracture-Cavity Unit
A fracture-cavity system refers to a karsted fracture-cavity Boundary
development zone or fracture-cavity assembly composed of
The fracture-cavity unit boundary is determined as follows:
interconnected pores, cavities, and fractures. The spatial
distribution of the fracture-cavity system is controlled by 1) Natural boundaries of current karsted landforms, such
fault, fracture, paleogeomorphology, and the paleodrainage as karst gully, fault scarp, and karst lowland.
system, which often present complex architectures such as 2) Drainage radius or impermeable boundary of fully
a branch-like conduit cavity and a networked fracture- sealed reservoir in well test interpretation.
cavity. The systems are separated by intact host rocks, and 3) Range of elliptic, beaded, and banded amplitude
the boundary of the fracture-cavity system represents the anomalies.
karstification and related fracture boundary. The fracture- 4) Boundary of waveform in a 3D visualization of the
cavity hydrocarbon accumulation is featured by a “unified reservoirs.
temperature-pressure system, large oil-bearing area, and
enriched fracture-cavity reservoir body,” and the fault
conduit system controls oil and gas distribution of the (3) Division of Fracture-Cavity Units
fracture-cavity system.
A fracture-cavity unit refers to a hydrodynamic unit A. Reservoir Pressure Drop Method
with unified pressure system and hydrodynamic system The well groups with consistent pressure drop or pressure
composed of one or more dissolved cavities with N trends can be classified into the same fracture-cavity unit.
202 Unconventional Petroleum Geology

For example, Well LN44 was shut downon April 4, 2008, method is mainly based on the assumption that formation
due to high water cut. Top of Ordovician in a sidetracked pressure and oil production decline rapidly, and water
wellbore (LN44C) is 43 m higher than in the original well, flooding could normally be used to improve the formation
with slightly lower crude oil gravity and a slightly higher energy of the constant-volume body at the late production
gas-oil ratio. On January 20, 2008, Well LN44C was put period.
into production, whose initial production index is consis- Based on the above methods, reservoirs in the Halaha-
tent with Well LN44, and the water cut suddenly grew to tang Block of Tarim Basin can be divided into four types of
40% from zero after 65 days of production. Later, the reservoir units, that is, water-free constant-volume, pure-
pressure coefficient of both wells was stablized at 1.0. Both water constant-volume, oil-water constant-volume, and
dynamic and static data indicated that the two wells communicating-water units. For each of these units, we
belonged to the same fracture-cavity unit. built an AVO oilewater identification model, and per-
formed quantitative seismic sculpturing, with good appli-
B. Well Interference Method cation results. Water-free constant-volume type is
dominant, which offers the best development results with
In the development process, a well group with interwell a small producible oil reserve.
interference can be divided into the same fracture-cavity
unit. A decision as to whether they belong to the same
fracture-cavity unit can be made based on the information 3. TYPES OF FRACTURE-CAVITY UNITS
of interference between adjacent wells related to acid
Fracture-cavity units can be classified and evaluated from
fracturing of new wells, water flooding of old wells, water
the aspects of fracture-cavity unit energy, reservoir geom-
shutoff, and change of choke sizes. For example, in the
etry and size. Energy determines the development charac-
LG100 well area of the Sangnan West region in Lungu
teristics of different fracture-cavity units. The same
oil field, based on the well interference behavior, we
fracture-cavity system should have the same hydrodynamic
grouped six wells (Well LG100-6, LG100-9, LG100-10,
system, and the discrepancy of different types of fracture-
LG100-11, LN54, and LN54-1) into the same fracture-
cavity units is mainly reflected in their reservoir size and
cavity unit.
natural drive energy, especially the strength of bottom
water energy.
C. Fluid Property Method Based on the geometry, size, and connectivity, the
In carbonate fracture-cavity reservoirs, fluid property fracture-cavity units can be divided into three types: iso-
change is complex. Both vertically and horizontally, lated unit, large fracture-cavity unit, and small fracture-
oilegasewater property shows strong heterogeneity. cavity unit. (Table 6-3; Figure 6-7). Production test results
Therefore, we can determine the connectivity of reservoirs indicate that a large fracture-cavity unit is featured by high
by the fluid heterogeneity inside the reservoirs. For productivity, gentle energy change, and rapidly declined
instance, Ordovician crude oil in Well Xinken-9 of Tabei oilegas production after occurrence of bottom water; and
Halahatang shows a density of 0.8302 g/cm3, while the the energy and fluid production of an isolated fracture-
crude oil in the Sidetracked Well Xinken-9C shows cavity unit shows gradual decline trend.
a density of 0.8091 g/cm3, with quite different crude oil
components. Therefore, we can determine that these two
wells belong to different fracture-cavity units. 4. SIGNIFICANCE OF FRACTURE-CAVITY
D. Tracer Identification Method The fracture-cavity unit is a further subdivision of the
The interwell tracer monitoring technique is to inject water- reservoir body in the fracture-cavity system, and is the
soluble tracers into the water-injection well, then take water minimum unit of carbonate fracture-cavity reservoir.
samples from surrounding monitor wells, and analyze the Detection and evaluation of the fracture-cavity units help us
tracer concentration in samples. By drafting a curve of the to:
adjacent-well tracer concentration versus time, we can
1) Understand the heterogeneity of the karsted reservoir
determine the connectivity between the reservoirs. If the
more objectively and to deepen recognition of the
wells are connected, they belong to the same fracture-
development geologic features for varied fracture-
cavity unit.
cavity reservoir bodies, facilitating oilegas develop-
ment with improved understanding of oilegasewater
E. Constant-Volume Body Method movement.
A constant-volume body indicates an independent fracture- 2) Depict the distribution of networked fracture-cavity
cavity unit with limited volume. The constant-volume body units and compartments, and guide the preparation of
Chapter | 6 Carbonate Fracture-Cavity Reservoir 203

TABLE 6-3 Fracture-Cavity Reservoir in Halahatang Area of Tarim Basin

Type of fracture-cavity Main

reservoir characteristics Pattern map Example

Isolated fracture-cavity unit (1) Isolated, strong Well Ha-7, Well Ha-12
seismic reflection
(2) Formation and
production test results
indicate high energy
and fluid production in
initial period and
gradual decline in
late period
Connected large (1) A series of strong Well Ha-13,
fracture-cavity seismic reflections Well Ha-11,
unit (2) Formation and Well Ha 11-2
production test
results indicate high
energy and fluid
production, and
change occurred
under natural
Well Ha 12-2
Connected small fracture-cavity (1) Indistinct strong
unit reflections
(2) Formation and
test results indicate
low energy. Acid
fracturing can achieve
good effects

development and adjustment plans, as well as the SECTION 3. MIGRATION MECHANISM

selection of oil-well production techniques. AND ENRICHMENT FACTORS OF
3) Establish a development plan for each type of fracture-
cavity units, and conduct well pattern deployment and
4) Provide new thoughts for studies of the water-flooding RESERVOIRS
technique and hydrocarbon displacement with other The research on the mechanism of oil/gas migration and
injection materials. If some unit or block in an oil field accumulation mainly includes oil/gas source identification,
has continuous oil pay zones, we can adopt the highly migration direction, timing, conduction system, and accu-
efficient water flooding development mode, to maintain mulation mechanism. Among these, oil/gas source identi-
high production with improved ultimate oil recovery. fication, migration, and accumulation are the core of study.
For areas with poor connectivity, we can adopt side- Two conduction systems, unconformity surface and frac-
tracked branch holes and additional new wells to ture, can effectively communicate with hydrocarbon sour-
improve oil recovery. ces, which is the precondition for large-area oil/gas
5) Understand the control of fracture-cavity units on the accumulation in the fracture-cavity carbonate system. In
distribution pattern of remaining oil and adopt different this section, the oil and gas conduction system, migration
production measures based on different types of flow mechanism, and trapping models of the fracture-cavity
units. carbonate reservoirs will be discussed.
204 Unconventional Petroleum Geology

Isolated fracture-cavity unit Connected multiple large fracture-cavity units

Well Ha 11−1 Well Ha 11 Well Ha 11−2
h (m)


Impedance body
Well Ha 11−1 Well Ha 11 Well Ha 11−2
h (m)

FIGURE 6-7 Geophysical response characteristics of various fracture-cavity bodies.

1. OIL/GAS PRODUCTION separated cavity units are formed. For example, Well Ha-7
CHARACTERISTICS IN DIFFERENT TYPES is located in the northwest of the Halahatang region in the
western slope belt of Lunnan Uplift. Based on the charac-
teristics of reservoir and fluid property as well as analysis of
Based on the connectivity of fractures and cavities, the the production test data, Well Ha-7 is a typical cavity unit
fracture-cavity oil/gas reservoir can be classified as an with constant volume. Results of the reservoir prediction
isolated cavity type and a connected fracture-cavity type. and fracture-cavity characterization suggested that Well
For the isolated cavity type, the isolated cavity is the Ha-7 is an isolated cavity system, far away from other
reservoir, with unified temperature and pressure system and fractures or cavities in the area with poor connectivity
fluid property. The oil/water contact is evident; the bottom (Figure 6-8). Oil/gas property varies greatly in different
water is developed; and oil/gas production is subject to the wells. For example, Well Ha-7 produces heavy oil, while
cavity size with obvious constant-volume characteristics. Well Ha-11 in the southwest produces normal oil, indi-
The connected fracture-cavity type features multiple cating that they are not connected. From the production
fracture-cavity systems with variable connectivity. The tests in many wells, we observed no water in Well Ha-7, but
same fracture-cavity system has the same fluid property and a big water flooding in Well Ha-9 and water-free, high, and
unified oil/gas/water contact. Different fracture-cavity stable production in Well Ha-11 located in the structural
systems may vary in those aspects. During the oil/gas low, which indicates that different wells have different
recovery, additional fracture-cavity bodies will supply oil conditions of edge and bottom water. Formation water in
and gas. The oil/gas production is unstable, with various different wells is not connected; the production test in Well
results of water flooding. Many complex phenomena, such Ha-7 shows rapid decline in oil pressure and obvious
as production volatility and unpredictable oil and water production depletion, which means it is an oil accumulation
production, may take place. unit with constant volume.

(1) Isolated-Cavity-Type Oil and Gas (2) Connected Fracture-Cavity Type Oil
Reservoir and Gas Reservoir
In the fracture-cavity type oil/gas reservoirs of Ordovician During the development of the karsted fracture-cavity
in the Lunnan, Halahatang, and Tazhong North Slope of the reservoir, due to the connected nature of some underground
Tarim Basin, large cavities provide major pore space. Due channels, fractures, and faults, many facture-cavity reser-
to long-term, deep burial and diagenesis, the majority of voir bodies are connected.
pathways between cavities have been collapsed, filled, and Although at a later stage they would be collapsed and
cemented. Thus, the connectivity is poor, and relatively filled, some facture-cavity bodies remain, forming
Chapter | 6 Carbonate Fracture-Cavity Reservoir 205

FIGURE 6-8 Carbonate fracture-cavity visualization and cavity-type accumulation unit profile.

interconnected multifracture-cavity systems. Sometimes, differential pressure, leading to more oil/gas supply and
under a certain differential pressure, the isolated fracture- increase of oil/gas production and rise of oil pressure. The
cavity bodies would interconnect for unknown reasons, nearby fracture-cavity bodies in the region could form an
forming unified multifracture-cavity oil/gas reservoirs. interconnected reservoir unit under some conditions,
Although it is difficult to identify the connectivity of becoming the connected fracture-cavity oil accumulation
fractures and cavities, some methods do exist, for example, unit (Figure 6-9).
production test, interference test, and tracing agent appli-
cation. Many wells such as the Wells Zhonggu-162, Lungu-
101, and Lungu-15 in the Tarim Basin developed connected
fracture-cavity type oil/gas reservoirs. For example, Well As the bridge and link connecting source rock and reservoir
Zhongu-162 is a weakly vaporized oil accumulation unit in during the oil/gas accumulation process, the conduction
a multifracture-cavity system. On the fracture-cavity system is not only a key control factor for oil/gas accu-
visualization map (Figure 6-9), we can see there are many mulation, but also a key condition for systematized and
sets of connected fracture-cavity bodies developed near dynamic oil/gas accumulation (Magoon and Dow, 1994).
Well Zhonggu-162; from the production test curve, such The oil/gas conduction system is subject to many factors
phenomena as rising oil pressure, declining gas/oil ratio, such as the basin structure, sedimentary and diagenetic
and increasing oil production occurred without any evolution, and fluid activity (fluid potential and pressure),
measures taken during the midterm production period. which are related to complex changes of conduction
After analysis, it was concluded that some other reservoir property and capability in time and space (Hao et al., 2000).
bodies were connected during production due to Generally, a conduction system refers to the all-path

FIGURE 6-9 Fracture-cavity visualization map and profile showing multifracture-cavity-type oil accumulation unit in Ordovician in Well Zhonggu-162.
206 Unconventional Petroleum Geology

network, by which oil/gas bypassed from source rock to heavy oil in Ordovician, implying the importance of
traps, including faults, fractures, unconformity surfaces, unconformity and karsted conduction system to the form-
connected sand bodies, and their combinations (Fu et al., ing of LungueTahe oil field (Gu et al., 2007).

(3) Connected Sand-Body Conduction

(1) Fault and Fracture Conduction System System
The fault and fracture conduction system is the oil/gas In the connected sand-body conduction system, connected
migration pathway formed by fault opening. At the same pores are the pathway of oil/gas migration. For example, in
time, large amounts of associated fractures can also Lunnangu-Tahe, Tabei region, such a conduction system
significantly improve the reservoir property of carbonate mainly developed in sandstones of the Carboniferous
reservoirs, forming a dissolved pore-dissolved cavity- Kalashayi Formation and Triassic (Cheng, 2004). Kalashayi
fracture system. The more the fractures develop, the larger Formation features multiple layers of sandstone that are thin
the percolation space is, and the more favorable for the and with great lateral variation; the sand body distribution
migration of oil/gas. in the Triassic is relatively stable with minor lateral
For example, the faults and fractures developed exten- changes, which, combined with faults and unconformities,
sively in the Ordovician, Lunnan area of Tabei Uplift, became important conduction system for oil/gas migration.
typically together with folding structures. Among them, the
faults extending to the source rock of mid-lower Cambrian
are the effective migration pathway of oil/gas. The oil and (4) Combined Conduction System
gas in Lunnan region were mainly from the marine source
rocks in the Paleozoic, and the karsted carbonate rocks Regional faults, unconformity surfaces, karsted fracture-
connected to the source rocks through the faults became the cavity systems, sand bodies, and fractures could create
targets for oil/gas accumulation. For example, areas combined pathways for oil/gas migration, which is an
surrounding Well Yingmai-2, Well S86eS67eS65eT401 important condition to form large-scale composite
and Well T402eS78 in Tahe region developed north- oil/gas accumulations. For example, oil/gas pools in
eastern-trending factures, forming the oil/gas migration and Triassic, Carboniferous, and Ordovician in Lunnan, Tabei
accumulation belt in the mid-lower Ordovician from Area- region, resulted from multiple periods of hydrocarbon
7eArea-6eArea-4 in Tahe (Gu et al., 2007). The faults also generation, filling and injection, and adjustment that
had some reforming and damaging impact on some oil/gas formed multilayer, composite oil/gas accumulations. The
reservoirs in Paleozoic. process shows the effect of the composite conduction
system. Before the gas invasion at the late Himalayan
movement, the faulted horst in Sangtamu and the fractures
(2) Unconformity Conduction System and faults in Lunnan Faulted Belt connected the sand
Tectonic movements in multiple periods formed multiple bodies in Triassic with the Paleo-pools in Ordovician,
unconformities. Large-scale dissolved pore, cavity, and which led to migration of oil/gas toward the overlying
fracture systems were formed within a certain depth range Carboniferous and Triassic. Further migration within
below unconformity surfaces, becoming the major pore Carboniferous and Triassic also took place. During the gas
network for fracture-cavity carbonate rock. At the same invasion at the late Himalayan movement, the cracked
time, the unconformity surfaces are important pathways for natural gas with high-dryness coefficient was charged into
lateral migration of oil/gas, provided that sealed caprock the fracture-cavity carbonate reservoirs in Ordovician
exists above the unconformities. along the strike-slip faults in Eastern Lungu. Due to the
For example, after long-term exposure, weathering and forming of a high-pressure unit in Carboniferous, the faults
erosion in the Caledonian-Early Hercynian, mid-lower closed in Carboniferous, and the natural gas cracked at the
Ordovician in LungueTahe oil field formed extensively later stage could only migrate along a conduction system
distributed weathering crust. In the surface eluvium with of the faults and unconformity surfaces. The migration
good storage-seepage conditions, weathered fractured pathway is the fracture-cavity carbonate rocks in Ordovi-
breccias, and semiweathered layers, the karsted network cian in the Tasangmu faulted belt.
system composed of dissolved pores, cavities, and factures
connected by fractures and satures is the most important 3. HYDROCARBON MIGRATION AND
conduction system in the LungueTahe oil field. In partic-
ular, the large-amount of oil supply in source rock area
during the late Hercynian, combined with leaky caprock A fracture-cavity carbonate oil pool is a continuous medium
conditions in Tahe region, led to the current distribution of composed of matrix, fracture, and cavity. Fractures and the
Chapter | 6 Carbonate Fracture-Cavity Reservoir 207

cavities connected by fractures communicated with source thus constitutes a fracture-cavity unit. The seepage capa-
rock; they are both pore network and flow channel; the pores bility in tight matrix is very low. Due to special accumu-
and cavities connected by fractures are characterized by lation conditions, the heterogeneity of fracture and cavity is
tube flow. In a fracture system, the oil/gas seepage follows significant, with complicated fluid flow. Due to the large
Darcy’s flow. The seepage capability of matrix system is size of fractures and cavities, the fluid flow can be seen as
very low, featuring non-Darcy’s flow. In fracture-cavity tube flow. However, if the fractures are tiny and the matrix
carbonate reservoirs, the pore network is mainly composed is tight, the pore size is very small, and the fluid flow will
of cavities and fractures that act mostly as flow channel. follow Darcy’s law or non-Darcy’s law. As “seepage flow”
Cavities and fractures are distributed randomly, with the in matrix and “tube flow” (cavity flow and turbulent flow)
feature of a crystal framework-like oil pool. The dynamic in fractures and cavities coexist in a fracture-cavity reser-
size of fractures and connected cavities is large; the fluid voir, the current reservoir fluid dynamics theory cannot
flow can be regarded as tube flow. Due to low permeability effectively describe the fluid flow.
of matrix, the fluid in the matrix follows non-Darcy’s law. The heterogeneity of fracture-cavity carbonate reser-
Large fractures and cavities coexist with small fractures voirs results in complicated oil/gas migration, accumula-
and small cavities in a fracture-cavity reservoir. And tion, and distribution (Figure 6-12). For example, Lungu
medium demonstrates strong discontinuity. The shape and Uplift experienced strong uplifting erosion in late Caledo-
size of the space for fluid flow vary greatly; the mode of nian and Hercynian as well as structural superimposition and
fluid flow can be either the linear flow in small fractures and reformation since the Indo-Chinese epoch. Lunnan Uplift
cavities or the nonlinear flow in large fractures and cavities. and surrounding areas were the target of oil/gas migration
In addition, mixed flow modes combining the above two for a long time, experiencing three oil/gas accumulation
flows exist. With regard to flow laws in carbonate reservoir, cycles of first-order fluctuation, which were characterized
the majority of discussions have been made on the basis of by damaging, alternating, and enrichment, respectively. The
continuous medium theory or by replacing a discontinuous cavity system in the Lunnan region experienced three
medium with a flow system of equivalent continuous development stages. The extent and connectivity of fracture-
medium. So the reservoir could be modeled as a pore-cavity cavity systems are important factors in oil/gas enrichment in
double-medium system, pore-fracture-cavity triple- weathering crust. The densely developed fractures and small
medium system, or multimedium system (Figure 6-10). In faults connected cavities, forming oil/gas enrichment area.
doing so, the flow inside the reservoir is considered as The isolated cavities do not have oil/gas sources; wells
seepage flow completely. drilled into such cavities produce only water. The leakage
Based on the features of fracture-cavity reservoir area at the top of the horst is water saturated. Due to the poor
systems, we suggest a fracture-cavity hydrocarbon accu- sealing condition of the caprock in the structural highs in
mulation mechanismdthat is, a physical flow model with adjacent slope, heavy oil is distributed in the strong leakage
large-scale flow in cavities connecting seepage flow in area. In the structural low areas of the slope and platform, the
fractures, or facture-cavity connection flow model oil/gas filling and charging at late stages formed the accu-
(Figure 6-11), or tubeeseepage connection flow model. mulations of light oil and condensate oil. The eroded
This coupling model combing seepage flow and tube flow remnants of mid- and upper Ordovician is the favorable area
not only reflects fluid flow in a large fracture and cavity to look for a primary carbonate oil/gas reservoir formed at
system, but also reflects fluid flow in matrix and isolated the early stage. The area toward sag along the slope around
pores and cavities. This model considers a fracture-cavity Lunnan Lower Uplift is the favorable carbonate oil/gas
reservoir system as a geological model with a unified and enrichment area.
continuous medium. For example, the cavities can be The carbonate reservoir in the Tahe oil field is mainly
assumed as columns, and they are connected by fractures cavities. The size of cavity and fracture that contributes to
featuring seepage flow. One fracture-cavity system can be the production is greater than 300 mm; the fracture width
taken as a web-like physical model. The fluid flow in the after acid fracturing is usually 1 to 8 mm. Judged by the
cavities can be approximated by irregular tube flowdthat flow patterns, the fluid flow in the fracture-cavity reservoir
is, the fluid flow in the column, which is a relatively simple in the Tahe oil field is mainly Darcy flow, which could be
flow in hydrodynamics. approximated as irregular tube flow. And the fluid flow in
A cavity is the major pore space and can be viewed as cavities and fractures with size less than 300 mm can be
a tube channel. The flow in the cavity can be taken as tube considered as seepage flow. For the fracture-cavity
flow, and fluid is deemed as incompressible viscous fluid. carbonate oil/gas reservoir, the accurate prediction of
Fracture is the major seepage flow channel, connecting carbonate fracture-cavity distribution is a precondition for
cavities. But fracture also has a certain ability to serve as the discovery of oil and gas, and precise identification of
a reservoir. The flow in the fracture can be seen as linear fractures and small faults is the key to improve the
flow. The combination of cavity units and fracture units successful ratio for drilling.
208 Unconventional Petroleum Geology

Lower member of Kalashayi Formation, Carboniferous

Bachu Formation, Carboniferous

Middle and Upper Ordovician


Hydrocarbon source rock Conduction system

Lower Ordovician

FIGURE 6-10 Profile of fracture-cavity carbonate reservoir in Ordovician, South Slope, Akekule Uplift (from Tarim Oilfield Company, 2007).

4. FACTORS THAT CONTROL OIL/GAS and unified oil/gas/water contacts. For example, the oil/gas
ENRICHMENT IN FRACTURE-CAVITY distribution area of weathering crust in buried hill in the
LunnaneTahe oil field and the large-scale condensate
oil/gas distribution in the Yingshan Formation, north slope
The marine sedimentary basins in China are characterized of Tazhong, and are both controlled by a series of super-
by old geologic ages, long thermal evolutionary history of imposed and connected cavities and fractures.
organic matter, high maturity, deeply buried reservoirs,
strong heterogeneity of reservoirs, complicated reservoir
distribution, strong adjustment, severe modification, and (1) Long-Term Exposed Paleo-Uplift
damage at the later stage. The fracture-cavity oil/gas refers Controlled the Development of Quality
to oil/gas stored in fractures and cavities under the effect of Reservoir
karstification. The heterogeneity of reservoirs is extremely
The distribution and development of karsted fracture-cavity
strong; the matrix porosity is usually less than 1.2%; the
reservoirs are controlled by paleogeomorphology. In
permeability is usually less than 0.5  103 mm2. The
different geomorphologic units, the karstification and
distribution of oil/gas is mainly controlled by a series of
reservoir development differ and the oil/gas enrichment
fractures and cavity bodies. In separate fracture/cavity
varies. The karst platforms are high in paleopaleotopo-
bodies, there are unified temperature and pressure systems
graphic maps with severe formation corrosion. The kar-
stification mainly led to the development of vertical
caverns, which were the major area for water supply. The
overlying caprock is relatively thin, preventing oil/gas from
accumulating. Karst basin and valleys are located in the
convergence and discharge area with severe filling of
reservoir pore space, leading to a poor preservation of pore
network. The karst terrace is located in the gentle transi-
tional belt between karst platform and karst basin, with
good hydrodynamic conditions. Strong water supply and
discharge resulted in intense karstification, developing
reservoirs with a good pore network.
The paleo-uplifts in Shaanganning, Sichuan, and Tarim
basins experienced weathering and corrosion in 140 Ma,
120 Ma, and 77e32 Ma, respectively, and the formed
weathering crusts constituted good reservoirs. Taking
paleo-uplift in Central Sichuan as an example, before
Permian, the geomorphology of the paleo-uplift was para-
FIGURE 6-11 Hydrocarbon accumulation mechanisms in a carbonate plain, and the percentage of weathering crust with
fracture-cavity reservoir. carbonate rock as the base rock was 90.32%e96.52%,
Chapter | 6 Carbonate Fracture-Cavity Reservoir 209

Lunnan Oilfield
T Common oil
T/J Common oil O1 Gas
Lunxi Oilfield

Lungudong condensate oil/gas belt

Lungu 32
Heavy oil belt

T1 Condensate gas pool O1 Gas Lunnan 30

Lungu 38
Lungu 391
Lungu 1
O1 High-wax oil Lungu 2 Lunnan 621 Lungu 39
Lundong 1
T Common oil Lungu 63
O1 Oil & Gas
Lunnan 631
O1 Condensate gas O1 Gas/High-wax oil
Sangtamu Oilfield eld
O ilfi Lungu 35
T Common oil ng
C Oil & Gas do T Common oil
g qu
fan Lungu 34
T Common oil
Oil rim
Tahe Oilfield
Common oil belt
Jilake Gasfield
Heavy oil Conventional black Condensate Oil/gas Gas pool Transitional
belt oil pool gas pool pool with oil rim belt with gas Fault

FIGURE 6-12 Distribution of oil/gas of different properties in the Lunnan region (from Zhang et al., 2001).

which belongs to the karstified weathering crust. The karstified fracture-cavity bodies. Many wells were drilled
percentage of weathering crust with mudstone and sand- into large-scale fracture-cavity systems. Bleed-off, kick,
stone as base rock was 25%, which belongs to residual and lost circulation occurred in the drilling of more than 20
weathering crust; the weathering crust of carbonate rock wells in the Lunnan region, with great changes among
features strong eluviation and leaching effect and weak wells. In plain view, karstified fracture-cavities distribute in
residual effect. Therefore, it tends to form karsted fracture- strips and blocks. Reservoir developed mostly in the slope
cavity zones. Shaanganning paleo-uplift has the similar area with many large-size caverns with little filling. A
phenomenon. The distribution of carbonate reservoir in series of fracture-cavity zones are superimposed and con-
CambrianeOrdovician in Tarim Platform and Basin was nected. Only wells drilled into large cavities can acquire
mainly subject to the late weathering corrosion and pale- high commercial flow, such as in Well Sha-48, Well Lungu-
okarstification. Due to long-term exposure of Ordovician 15, Well Lungu-42, Well Lungu-701, and Well Aiding-4.
paleo-uplifts in Lunnan, Tazhong, and Southeastern Bachu, Low or no production in wells like Well Lunnan-15 is
the reservoir conditions are good. On the contrary, in areas mainly related to underdevelopment of reservoir. The
situated in structural lows in paleo-slope, such as Well exploration practice in LunnaneTahe buried hill indicated
Yangwu-2 in Manjiaer Sag and Well He-3 in East Bachu, that only when wells were drilled into large cavities or
the reservoir conditions are poor. In addition, successive, fractures that connect to large cavities can high and stable
long-term paleo-uplift usually formed multiple sets of production be obtained. The extent of fractures and cavities
quality reservoirs. The existence of multiple sets of quality determines the productivity of the Ordovician reservoir,
reservoirs in Ordovician, Carboniferous, Triassic, and and the distribution of quality reservoir controls the oil/gas
Jurassic in the Lunnan region are closely related to the enrichment.
long-term uplifting settings. The fracture-cavity system led to uneven oil/gas accu-
mulation. The drilling of Ordovician in Lunnan indicated
that a favorable reservoir was distributed within the top 200
(2) Quality Reservoir Controlled the Oil/
m of weathering crust in buried hill. Oil/gas distribution is
Gas Enrichment in Fracture-Cavity Fields subject to the spatial extent of paleokarst system and
It is the fracture-cavity bodies, not local structure, that fracture system. Oil/gas shows a layer-like distribution in
controlled the enrichment of oil and gas in weathering large scale, yet due to the strong heterogeneity of karsted
crust. For example, the Ordovician in the South margin of reservoir, the fracture-cavity system is isolated in the tight
the Tabei Uplift is mainly platform-facies limestone, with limestone. The relatively independent one or more paleo-
very few preserved primary pores. The reservoir is mainly cave systems formed a relatively independent oil/gas pool
210 Unconventional Petroleum Geology

with relatively unified oil/gas/water contact and a unified Formation, Tazhong, is similar to that in the Lunnan area.
pressure and temperature system. Due to the lack of The multistory and blocky features are even more obvious.
a structural trap or stratigraphic barrier, the independence The weathering crust reservoir of the Yingshan Formation,
and connectivity of a fracture-cavity system have only lower Ordovician, is mainly developed in the vertical
a relative meaning. During different geologic times, under seepage zone and horizontal undercurrent area within 200
the different boundary conditions, a connected oil/gas m below the buried hill, with a total area of over 6000 km2
reservoir could be separated into multiple isolated oil/gas in the north slope of the Tazhong region.
reservoirs. On the other hand, relatively independent frac-
ture-cavity systems could be reconnected and the distri-
(4) Long-Term Successively Uplifted Slope
bution of oil and gas could be readjusted. As a result, during
the production of oil and gas, the connection status of Area, Overlapping and Pinchout Area, and
different cavity-fracture systems would lead to changes in Areas with Frequent Lithological Bariations
oil, water, and gas properties and periodic variations in Are Favorable Places for Oil and Gas
production. A relatively isolated fracture-cavity system Accumulation
formed a constant volume body. The initial oil and gas
production was high, but the water flooding came quickly, Fracture-cavity oil and gas reservoir are mainly related to
so the production was limited. However, the connected large unconformity surfaces and paleo-uplifts. Due to the
multiple fracture-cavity systems constitute a large-scale successive uplifting in tectonic movements, paleo-uplifts
reservoir, with stable or slowly declined oil and gas serve as the targets of long-term migration of oil and gas;
production and steadily rising water cut. In terms of therefore, there are often rich oil and gas accumulations.
multiple fracture-cavity systems with poor connectivity, Besides source rock, reservoir, and caprock conditions,
connections could be realized under a certain differential other factors also affect the forming of fracture-cavity
pressure, resulting in periodic changes in oil/gas produc- reservoir and oil/gas accumulation, including the timing of
tion. For example, after production from one fracture- uplifting, the stability of structure at the later stage, the
cavity system declines, another system may kick in, scale of paleo-uplift, and the coupling oil/gas charging and
providing oil and gas, leading to highly fluctuated accumulation. The earlier a paleo-uplift formed, the longer
productions as well as huge changes in water cut. it developed, the more stable the structure at the later stage,
the larger the scale of the paleo-uplift, and the more
favorable for the oil/gas accumulation, preservation, and
(3) Superimposition of Reservoirs with Typically, the structural highs of paleo-uplifts were
Multiple Origins Is the Basis for Large- severely altered in the later-stage tectonic movements. The
Scale Distribution of Oil/Gas old oil and gas pools were modified and damaged, forming
The carbonate reservoirs in China experienced multiple secondary oil/gas accumulations. If the tectonic move-
tectonic uplifts and exposures, as well as multiple kar- ments were too strong, there would be no oil and gas
stifications, leading to different paleokarst geomorphologies generated or preserved. In structural lows of the uplifts and
of weathering crust and differences in reservoir character- the slope of paleo-uplifts, tectonic activities at the later
istics. The secondary pores of multiple types led to the stages were relatively weak, promoting the generation and
heterogeneity of reservoirs. Because of the multiple disso- preservation of primary oil and gas, or coexistence of large-
lution and fracturing effects, the carbonate reservoir has scale accumulations of primary oil and gas and small- and
multiple rock fabrics, forming complicated secondary pores medium-scale accumulations of secondary oil and gas.
with multiple origins and complex spatial distribution, Karsted reservoirs were superimposed on the slope of the
leading to the strong heterogeneity of carbonate reservoir. paleo-uplifts. Oil and gas were distributed along the
Paleokarst carbonate reservoirs tend to be superimposed unconformity surfaces, forming large layer-like oil and gas
vertically with a layer-like horizontal distribution in a large fields (Figure 6-13).
area. For example, the vertical layering of a fracture-cavity
system in the Lunnan buried hill is clearly seen. Although SECTION 4. EXPLORATION AND
there are significant differences in the quantity and depth DEVELOPMENT TECHNOLOGIES FOR
range of caverns between wells, some multistory karsted CARBONATE FRACTURE-CAVITY OIL
caverns have been identified. Laterally, karsted fractures
and cavities appear in stripped and blocky patterns. A series
of fracture-cavity zones are superimposed and connected, Exploration and development of carbonate fracture-cavity
forming more than 5000 km2 paleokarst reservoir. The oil and gas involve seismic data acquisition, processing,
distribution of weathering crust reservoir in Yingshan interpretation, and indoor modeling. It requires
Chapter | 6 Carbonate Fracture-Cavity Reservoir 211

FIGURE 6-13 South-north reservoir profile of Tarim Basin (from Tarim Oilfield Company, 2010).

comprehensive analysis on seismic, wireline logs, drilling waveform), velocity model, and stack/migration. With such
data, core data, and structural evolution, and production processing, the quality of seismic data is improved. The
performance by applying such techniques as lithologic and surfaces of weathering crusts in major targets were finely
paleo-geomorphologic analysis, full 3D structural inter- characterized to identify the structures previously at the
pretation, fine-scale fault interpretation and 3D visualiza- interfaces of individual 3D seismic cubes. The resolution,
tion, physical modeling of fracture-cavity reservoir, seismic S/N ratio, and fidelity of data have been effectively
detection of carbonate fracture-cavity reservoir, direct improved, so as to provide reliable basic data for subse-
hydrocarbon detection, reservoir acid fracturing, horizontal quent seismic data interpretation, reservoir prediction,
well development, staged acid fracturing stimulation in seismic inversion, and overall evaluation.
horizontal well and water injection, and oil displacement.
1. LITHOLOGIC AND PALEO- In 1977, the Seismic Acoustic Lab at the University of
GEOMORPHOLOGIC ANALYSIS Houston in the United States created the water-tank phys-
Guided by sequence stratigraphy, reservoir geology, struc- ical models. In 1985, Nanjing Petroleum Prospect Research
tural geology, and sedimentary geology, computers can be Institute and Tongji University also built large-scale auto-
used as a tool to do sequence recognition, stratigraphic matic physical modeling and observation systems with
correlation, single-well facies analysis, sectional facies a water tank. However, the water-tank modeling has some
analysis, macro- (such as core observation) and micro- defects, as it cannot correctly simulate the onshore seismic
(such as thin section, geochemistry) analyses of reservoir survey process. It can only record P-wave, not S-wave and
characteristics, statistical analysis on reservoir physical transformed S-wave. In order to overcome these short-
properties, so as to establish the reservoir models of comings, Columbia University, Exxon, the University of
different origins based on their stratigraphic correlation, Houston, and China University of Petroleum developed
reservoir types and forming mechanism, sedimentary solid geophysical models in the 1980s. Research on the
facies, paleo-geomorphology, and paleo-drainage systems. physical simulation technology of carbonate fracture-
cavity reservoir has begun, although a systematic study is
still lacking. The numerical simulation technology, along
2. SEISMIC PREDICTION TECHNOLOGY with the improvement of algorism and development of
Based on the full 3D seismic data volume, we can analyze computer technology, has evolved from acoustic ray-
seismic attributes such as amplitude and frequency from tracing into wave equation simulation. As a result, simu-
points and lines to surfaces to realize a detailed 3D visu- lation accuracy and speed have been improved greatly.
alization. Adopted techniques include precise horizon
calibration, coherency and dip analysis, 3D interpretation 4. RESERVOIR SCULPTURING
and spatial visualization. New 3D seismic processing
workflow provides accurate basic data for reservoir
prediction with unified grid, static correction, seismic The identification of carbonate fracture-cavity reservoirs
record (polarity, time difference, amplitude, frequency, and could begin with analysis of seismic attributes, drilling,
212 Unconventional Petroleum Geology

mud logging, wireline logs, core. and thin sections. The frequency, and energy increase in low frequency; dry wells
pre-drilling identification of fracture-cavity reservoirs with mudstone filling have shown higher energy, high
mainly relies on seismic survey. The fine reservoir cali- frequency, and low absorption; fault zones have been
bration and forward modeling can be utilized to identify characterized by low energy, low frequency, and high
geophysical responses of the reservoir, to conduct sensi- absorption. Pre-stack AVO trace gather is to use the vari-
tivity analysis of seismic attributes, and to identify and ation of amplitude along with offset (incident angle) to
extract effective seismic attributes. Based on geological- identify the fluid type in cavity. In general, the amplitude in
origin analysis and the reservoir geological model, the oil wells will increase along with the offset, and the
identification of paleokarst caves, pores, and fractures can amplitude in water wells will decrease along with the
be conducted. offset.
Multi-attribute analysis seeks to extract different attri-
butes from the data in a time window along a horizon, so as
to get maps or 3D displays of the attributes and to conduct 6. RESERVOIR ACID-FRACTURING
comprehensive geological analysis. From multi-attribute TECHNIQUE
cross-plot analysis, it is concluded that coherency,
Carbonate fracture-cavity reservoir features strong hetero-
frequency-dependent amplitudes, and acoustic impedance
geneity and low permeability and no pore space in matrix.
are sensitive attributes that are appropriate for predicting
The seepage channel of oil and gas is mainly fractures.
carbonate fracture-cavity reservoirs. The attribute extrac-
Most of the oil wells do not have productivity after well
tion technique could be subdivided into RMS amplitude,
completion. Only after acid-fracturing stimulation can
amplitude variability, frequency decomposition, coherency
acidized fractures of a certain length and high-conductivity
along horizon, impedance and seismic facies at limestone
be formed to connect oil/gas seepage channels and oil pore
top, and so on. The key is to use a proper time window and
network, supporting the normal production and keeping
an accurate interpretation horizon. The extraction of
long-term high and stable productivity. History shows that
seismic attributes is a matured and commonly used tech-
the technology of acid-fracturing stimulation can help
nology. However, the quantitative description of cavity and
release formation energy, dramatically increase oil and gas
fluid prediction is still very difficult.
well productivity, and greatly promote the economic
In recent years, quantitative sculpturing technology of
benefits of oilfield development. It has become an indis-
the fracture-cavity reservoirs has made great progress. For
pensable key technology for the development of carbonate
example, utilizing the well-controlled high-fidelity pre-
fracture-cavity oil/gas reservoirs.
stack time migration processing, reservoir imaging has
improved in the Tarim oil field . The trace gather data, in
particular, have laid a solid basis for quantitative reservoir 7. DEVELOPMENT TECHNOLOGY OF
description and pre-stack oil/gas detection. Through high-
accuracy pre-stack depth migration processing, the
improper placement of “bead string” has been effectively At places where many carbonate cavities developed, in
solved so as to provide robust support for accurate identi- order to drill more fracture-cavity units to increase the
fication of fracture-cavity locations. On the basis of well- production of individual wells, horizontal wells are usually
seismic modeling, quantitative relationships between drilled. The track of horizontal wells is usually perpen-
seismic responses and fracture-cavity conditions are dicular to strike direction of fractures, Thus the probability
established for a quantitative calculation of pore space of that the drilling hole could go through the fracture-cavity
fracture-cavity units. The 3D sculpturing and quantitative zone will increase greatly, benefiting the development of
description of fracture-cavity have played an important role facture-cavity reservoirs.
in determining drilling locations. In the last two years, more Problems commonly encountered in the drilling and
than 98% of the wells have penetrated the reservoir development of horizontal wells include the following.
(Figure 6-14). (1) When drilling-bit fall and fluid loss take place while
penetrating a large-scale cavity reservoir, the mud
circulation cannot be established. It is therefore impos-
sible to drill into other cavities as planned. In most cases
Hydrocarbon detection in carbonate fracture-cavity reser- it could only be put into production directly. (2) When
voirs is a very difficult but hotspot in research. Currently drilling into several fracture-cavity units in the horizontal
available techniques include pre-stack AVO trace gather interval of a horizontal well, if one fracture-cavity unit
and frequency absorption. In terms of frequency absorption produces water, water flooding in the whole system
technology, high-production wells have demonstrated would occur and reserves in other fracture-cavity units
declined dominant frequency, rapid attenuation in high could not be effectively recovered. Therefore, if the
Chapter | 6 Carbonate Fracture-Cavity Reservoir 213

FIGURE 6-14 Fracture-cavity sculpture map for well

Zhonggu-11 in Tazhong area (from Tarim Oilfield
Company, 2000).

reservoir and fluid prediction and quantitative description to fully excavate the productivity of horizontal wells for
of fracture-cavity system cannot meet the design maximal increase of production in individual wells. Prac-
requirement for horizontal wells, it is not proper to tices show that after the staged stimulation of a horizontal
conduct large-scale horizontal well development. During interval, average productivity increased by 3.8 times
well deployment, the vertical well plus sidetracks shall compared with that in vertical wells in the same block, and
be adopted as priority (Lv et al., 2006). it nearly doubled compared with conventional acid frac-
turing in the horizontal well. After years of research,
adoption of horizontal well development gradually became
8. STIMULATION TECHNOLOGY IN an important measure for establishing high-production
wells, high-production well groups, and high-production
blocks in carbonate reservoirs in the Tazhong region.
Staged stimulation in horizontal wells is an important Furthermore, staged acid fracturing technology in the
technology to increase production in the worlddthat is, to horizontal well has played an important role in improving
adopt specialized tools to divide horizontal well interval development efficiency and extending the service life of
into relatively independent segments to selectively conduct individual wells.
acidizing stimulation. For example, acid-fracturing stimu-
lation in horizontal wells in the Tarim oil field began in
2005. The technology was used in Well Tazhong 62e7H in 9. WATER INJECTION AND OIL
2008, resulting in a high daily oil production of 220 m3 and
high daily gas production of 20  104 m3.
Compared with conventional acid fracturing, this tech- Natural energy declines greatly after the carbonate frac-
nology has many apparent advantages. It can form rela- ture-cavity reservoir is put into production, with a low
tively independent artificial fracture systems and better elastic recovery ratio. For example, for the individual
utilize reservoir intervals with different physical properties wells with constant-volume cavity as reservoir, annual
214 Unconventional Petroleum Geology

production declined by 30% to 90% in the Tahe oil field Depending on the intensity and evolution of Craton
(Tu, 2008). The water injection and oil displacement are tectonic activities, large uplifts played different roles in
an important approach to increase recovery. Oil wells in controlling hydrocarbons. Among several Paleozoic
carbonate fracture-cavity units make the best use of cratonic basins in China, Tarim Basin is the most active
natural energy for development before water injection one, Ordos and Huabei basins are the most stable, while
and oil displacement. At the later stage, only when the Shangyangzi Basin in Sichuan is somewhere in between. In
formation pressure cannot maintain normal production Tarim Basin, most of the marine oil/gas fields are located in
with a pumping unit could water injection and oil the three major uplifts and their slopes. In the Sichuan
displacement be adopted. The constant-volume oil cavi- Basin, marine gas enriches in Himalayantime structures
ties should be the favorable target. locally under the background of paleo-uplift. In Qingyang
By water injection, formation energy is supplied, Uplift, Ordos Basin, the paleo-uplift does not control the
formation pressure is restored. By use of principle of enrichment of natural gas directly.
gravitational differentiation, during the well shut-in, oil is In the periphery of Hetianhe Gasfield, three exploration
displaced by water and the oil/water contact is raised. The domainsdpaleo-weathering crust, platform-margin bank,
injected water enters into small fractures adjacent to oil and nappe structuredwere formed due to the migration of
wells to displace the remaining oil, which is difficult to a paleo-uplift. Early accumulations are inclined northward,
recover. The oil well undergoes the cycle of “water injec- while late accumulations are inclined southward. Accu-
tionewell shut-ineoil production,” so as to conduct mulation conditions were different in Madong, Mabei, and
injection and production circulation. After several cycles of Manan areas. In Manan, which is located in the northeast
water injection and oil displacement, the oil recovery ratio extension of Hetianhe Paleo-uplift, before Carboniferous
could gradually be enhanced (Rong et al., 2008). sedimentation, the structure was weathered and leached,
and the Sangtamu Formation of Ordovician was corroded.
Certain grain limestones in Lianglitage platform-margin
SECTION 5. EXPLORATION facies were preserved and later were overlain by lower
POTENTIAL AND DIRECTION OF mudstone Member of Carboniferous Formation. It is
predicted through seismic inversion that Ordovician
CARBONATE FRACTURE-CAVITY weathering crust reservoirs are developed in this area,
HYDROCARBON RESOURCES along with compression-torsion faults connecting to
Marine basins are widely distributed in China. Marine Cambrian formation, which are beneficial for hydrocarbon
sediments are important both aerially and volumetrically. accumulation.
The Lower Paleozoic is dominated by Carbonate paleokarst
reservoirs, with widespread interlayer and intralayer stra-
toid beds (Table 6-4) and multistage unconformity surfaces 2. LARGE STRATIGRAPHIC
developed, providing a critical geologic foundation for the UNCONFORMITY RESERVOIRS
formation of large and medium-sized stratigraphic uncon-
formity pools. Deep bedding karst is a key element Paleo-uplifts and paleo-slopes are favorable zones for
controlling the preservation of large-scale, deep, effective forming large- and medium-sized unconformity pools,
reservoirs, and large oil/gas fields can be discovered in deep including the truncated pools under the unconformity
formations. surfaces and the overlapping pools above the unconformity
surfaces. Forming the pools is controlled not only by
unconformity type, trap forming time, and the hydrocarbon
1. PALEO-UPLIFTS AND SURROUNDING migration period, accumulation. and preservation condi-
tions, but also by development of source-reservoir-caprock
assemblage, development of faults, and structural defor-
Paleo-uplifts in old marine basins formed earlier and mation. Quality of caprock is directly related to the forming
extended for a long time, and they are always the favor- of unconformity pools, while the property and heteroge-
able destinations for oil and gas migration. The uplifts are neity of the reservoir directly contribute to the reserves and
sizable, generally in the (1e4)  104 km2 range, serving productivity.
as major targets of exploration in marine formations. The Unconformity (surface) can be both constructive and
uplifts are characterized by good source-reservoir- destructive for hydrocarbon accumulation. It is constructive
caprock assemblage and multiphase accumulation. In late because: (1) it provides good channels for oil and gas
stages of uplifting, tectonic activities were very intense, migration; (2) it improves the capability of reservoir under
contributing to the accumulation and adjustment of the unconformity surface; and (3) there are numerous
hydrocarbons. unconformity traps above and under an unconformity
Chapter | 6 Carbonate Fracture-Cavity Reservoir 215

TABLE 6-4 Distribution Characteristics of Paleokarst Reservoirs in Marine Basins, China

Thickness Size Sedimentary Favorable Pore-making
Example Lithology (m) (104km2) facies microfacies process

Leikoupo Lei-4 Member Dolomite 3~8 5~8 Restricted e Dolomite flat, Dolomitization
Formation, evaporative marine grain bank and paleokarst
Sichuan platform facies
Carboniferous, East Sichuan Dolomite 3.5~29 3.5~4 Tidal flat Depression Dolomitization
margin bank and and paleokarst
sand flat facies
Majiagou Ma-5 Dolomite 1~4 3~4 Basin-marginal Anhydrite Weathering
Formation, Member gypsum-dolomite flat concretion crust-type karst
Jingbian dolomite flat
Ordovician, Lianglitage Limestone 5~50 4.15 Gentle-slope Bioclastic bank, Paleokarst
Tabei Formation platform margin, sand bank
intra-platform reef
Yijianfang Limestone 10~50 3.5 Gentle-slope Bio-clastic bank, Paleokarst
Formation platform margin, sand-clastic bank
intra-platform reef
Yingshan Limestone 50~100 0.8 Open platform Grain-calstic Paleokarst
Formation bank

Ordovician, Lianglitage Limestone 80~150 1.2 Rimmed platform- Reef bank Paleokarst
Tazhong Formation margin reef bank
Yingshan Limestone 150~250 0.6 Open platform Grain-calstic Paleokarst
Formation bank
Penglaiba Dolomite 50~200 0.3 Open platform Grain-calstic Dolomitization
Formation bank and paleokarst

surface. It is destructive because erosion of the caprock where Ordovician reef bank and paleokarst were devel-
leads to significant dispersion of hydrocarbons. Even in the oped, three sets of reservoirs in Lianglitage, Yingshan, and
situation of local destruction, the crude oil may be oxidized Penglai formations are 100e400 m thick, covering an area
and water flushed, leading to dispersion of light compo- of 1.2  104 km2. In the Ordovician paleokarst zone in
nents and preservation of heavy components, finally Maigaiti Slope, three phases of paleokarsts were developed
forming pools of heavy oil or asphalt that is difficult to flow. in an area 0.8  104 km2. In the periphery of Hetianhe,
Additionally, the unconformity surface, along with the weathering crust-type karsted reservoir is observed in the
faults connecting to the paleo-surface, may enable the Ordovician buried hill, with an area of 0.9  104 km2.
hydrocarbons to migrate along the unconformity surface In the Ordovician paleokarst zone along the periphery
and fault surfaces and to escape out of the ground, which of Jingbian Gasfield in Ordos Basin, Ma-5 member
destroys the reservoir to a certain extent. dolomite expands in a radiant manner, with a favorable
Large- and medium-sized stratigraphic unconformity area of 1.0  104 km2. Weathering crust-type paleokarst
reservoirs in three major basins in China are worthy of reservoirs were developed in the Leikoupo weathering
exploration. In Tarim Basin, for example, the unconformity crust zone in the Sichuan Basin, where discovery has been
reservoirs are diversified and widespread. Along the south made in exploration, with a favorable area of 1.2  104
margin of Tabei Uplift, where Ordovician paleokarsts were km2. In the broad SinianeLower Paleozoic paleokarst
developed, three sets of reservoirs in the Lianglitage, slope in Sichuan Basin, karsted dolomite reservoirs were
Yijianfang, and Yingshan formations are 70e250 m thick, developed, with a favorable area of 8.5  104 km2. In the
covering an area of 3.5  104 km2. In the Tazhong area, buried hills in Bohai Bay Basin, the hydrocarbon-rich sags
216 Unconventional Petroleum Geology

show good accumulation conditions, with a favorable area (456.5 m), which have cavity or fracture porosity of
of 0.5  104 km2. 0.63%e5% and are mainly developed in Upper Cambrian.
The above data in Well TS1 indicate that deep
Cambrian strata have the conditions for hydrocarbon
3. DEEPeULTRA-DEEP RESERVOIRS migration and accumulation.
As oil and gas exploration expands, it is imperative to work
on deeper targets. In the United States, Jaiy-Felder Gasfield SECTION 6. CASE STUDY
was discovered in Cambrian-Ordovician carbonates at
8088 m, where secondary pores, cavities, and fractures
were developed considerably, with a porosity of 25% and
a permeability of 1020  103 mm3 (Wu and Xian, 2006). 1. TECTONIC EVOLUTION OF LUNNAN
Moreover, in the Western Interior Basin, Mills-Lanch LOW UPLIFT
Gasfield in Anadarko Depression was found in the Lower
Ordovician carbonate at 7663e8083 m. Tabei Uplift is a paleo-uplift derived in the Paleozoic era
In Tarim Basin in China, Well TS1 encountered Upper for a long term. It experienced three development periods:
Sinian granodiorites at 7100 m, above which dolomite (1) initiating in Caledonian, (2) pattern setting in Hercy-
cavities/fractures were well developed and both oil and gas nian-Indosinian, and (3) subsiding in Yanshan-Himalaya.
were observed in geologic logging, coring, and gas logging. Many structures and nonstructural traps were formed on the
Well LD1 produced 28.61 m3 oil from the Ordovician uplift and the slope area. Lunnan Uplift is a remnant
reservoir at 6785e6805 m, and low-yield gas was observed Paleozoic paleo-uplift, which experienced multiphase
at 7141e7180 m. Commercial oil and gas flow was structural evolution and showed different shapes and
discovered in the Ordovician reservoir at nearly 7000 m in deformation features in different phases as the structural
several wells in the Halahatang area. stress field changed. Lunnan buried hill was reformed by
In the Tabei area, abundant hydrocarbons have been three major tectonic movements (early Hercynian, middle
found in Ordovician and younger reservoirs. The lower part and late Hercynian-Indosinian, and early Yanshan-Hima-
of the Tabei area showed a lithology much similar to laya) and was corroded seriously in the process, directly
Cambrian source rocks, marking them as the prospective impacting the formation and reformation of buried-hill
replacement targets in exploration. Well TS1 of Sinopec reservoirs. Consequently, three grade top windows and
revealed good oil and gas shows in Cambrian, with fulvous three pinchout lines were generated (Pan et al., 2001). The
liquid hydrocarbons in Upper Cambrian dolomite karst- early Hercynian movement in Late DevonianeEarly
cavity reservoirs at 8400 m under160  C and 80 MPa, Carboniferous raised and corroded the Ordovician greatly
which were proved as highly matured light oil or conden- for a long time, making the most intensive impacts on the
sate, since their crude oil maturity ranges in 1.08%e1.2% formation, evolution and distribution of MiddleeLower
as converted by methylphenanthrene. In a test of Lower Ordovician fractures, pores/cavities, and large caves (Xu
Ordovician-Upper Cambrian at 6800e7538 m, a small et al., 2005; Liu et al., 2008).
amount of gas was produced, which contained mainly
hydrocarbon gas (97%). The dryness coefficient is 0.97, 2. SEDIMENTARY FACIES AND
and the component of methane isotope is e37.9&, while
the corresponding gas source rock Ro is 1.65%e1.91%,
showing higher gas maturity than crude oil. Therefore, it is Local Ordovician buried hill formations consist of, from
a typical highly matured oil-type dry gas. top to bottom, Sangtamu Formation (Q3s), Lianglitage
The Cambrian reservoir of Well TS1 is located along Formation (Q3l), and Tumuxiuke Formation (Q3t) of Upper
the Lunnan platform margin, where intercrystalline pore, Ordovician, Yijianfang Formation (Q2y) of Middle Ordo-
intercrystalline dissolved pore, and broken (dissolved) vician, Yingshan Formation (Q1-2y) of MiddleeLower
fractures are major pore networks in dolomite reservoirs. Ordovician, and Penglaiba Formation (Q1p) of Lower
The core test for the well shows that the porosity is 0.6%e Ordovician. Yingshan Formation is subdivided into upper
9.1% and the permeability is (0.001e34.4)  103 mm3. member (sand-clastic limestone, Q1-2y1) and lower member
The wireline log interpretation involved 44 reservoirs of (dolomitic sand-clastic limestone, Q1-2y2); Penglaiba
641 m, including 7 Type-I reservoirs (66 m), which have Formation is subdivided into two members: (1) dolomitic
fracture/cavity porosity of 4.5%e10.4% and are mainly limestone (Q1p1) and (2) micritic limestone (Q1p2). In
revealed in Middle Cambrian; 9 Type-II reservoirs (127 m), Lianglitage Formation, Liang-1eLiang-4 Members are
which have cavity porosity of 3%e5.7% and are mainly absent, and only Liang-5 Member remains; the formation
developed in Lower Cambrian, Middle Cambrian, and thickness tends to reduce from north to south in both the
bottom of Upper Cambrian; and 28 Type-III reservoirs Tahe sub-salt area (Hou, 2006) and Lungu East area.
Chapter | 6 Carbonate Fracture-Cavity Reservoir 217

In general, Ordovician formations in the Lunnan area of Lianglitage Formation, with cavern, fracture/cavity, and
experienced the evolution process of semirestricted plat- small cavity as major pore network. They are mainly
form facieseopen platform facieseplatform margin distributed to the east of the pinchout line of the Sangtamu
facieseplatform-margin slope faciesehybrid shallow- Formation.
water continental shelf facies in a period from Penglaiba The second set of reservoirs is divided into two classes.
sedimentation in Early Ordovician to Sangtamu sedimen- To the east of the pinchout line of Sangtamu Formation,
tation in Late Ordovician. During the process, the seawater Hercynian paleokarsts are absent, and the reservoirs,
depth and hydrodynamic intensity changed, in the order of mainly affected by middle Caledonian and deeply buried
shallowedeepeshallow, and weakestrongeweak, respec- paleokarsts, are distributed in a 50 m interval in the lower
tively. Thus, an entire marine transgression and regression part of marlstones and upper part of Yijiangfang Formation,
cycle was completed. with fracture, fracture/cavity, and cavity as major pore
There are four reservoir-caprock assemblages in space. There are also cavity reservoirs locally in the Lungu
Lunnan buried hill: (1) Triassic Ehuobulake mudstone- East Gasfield. To the west of the pinchout line of the
Lower Ordovician assemblage, (2) Carboniferous Middle Sangtamu Formation, the reservoirs were affected by
mudstone-Lower Ordovician assemblage, (3) Carbonif- multiphase paleokarsts, including Caledonian and Hercy-
erous Bottom conglomerate-Lower Ordovician assem- nian, and locally Caledonian paleokarsts might be corroded
blage, and (4) Upper Ordovician Sangtamu-Middle-Lower due to late tectonic activities. Generally, the reservoirs are
Ordovician assemblage. distributed 150 m below the unconformity surface of
Ordovician and up to 400 m in some wells. These reservoirs
are mainly in Yijianfang and Yingshan formations,
3. RESERVOIR CHARACTERISTICS OF including mostly caverns, small cavities, fractures, and
LUNNAN LOW UPLIFT cavities/fractures, which are representative in the Lungu
and Tahe oil fields.
Based on static and dynamic data (core, wireline log, 3D
seismic, and well production) and the knowledge of
modern karsts, we summarize patterns and controlling 4. HYDROCARBONS DISTRIBUTION
factors for paleokarst, and discuss the relationships
between paleokarst and distribution of effective reservoirs, The hydrocarbon properties in the study area are as follows:
so as to guide oilfield exploration and development. 1) In the process of late accumulation, Ordovician
formations were intensively gas-invaded along the line
(1) Vertical Distribution of Reservoirs of southern Lungu East strike-slip faults, Sangtamu
fault horst, and Wells LG8 and LG2 area in Sangtamu
In surface karst zones and vertical seepage zones, the SW and Western Zhongpingtai. The crude oil demon-
paleokarst fracture-cavity system is relatively developed, strates a higher density, as medium oil or condensate
and fracture/cavity and dissolved cavity are major pore oil; the crude oil has high paraffin content, low gum
space; the paleokarst fracture-cavity system has good and asphaltene contents, high gas maturity, heavier
reservoir properties. Surface paleokarst reservoirs are the d13C1, high dryness coefficient, low iC4/nC4 and iC5/
most dominant, with horizontal connectivity. nC5, and high H2S and low N2. In contrast, in northern
Paleokarst is less developed in phreatic zones, and only Lungu East, Lunnan fault horst zone and the central
small-sized dissolved cavities or karst channels are and east parts of Zhongpingtai, the gas invasion acted
observed locally; the karsted reservoirs are mainly of slightly; in Well LG7 area, most zones, except for
fracture /cavity or cavity types. For example, in the Sang- Wells LG4 and LN1, were not affected or slightly
tamu SW block, the 10e35 ms RMS amplitude attribute on affected by gas invasion.
top of Ordovician shows (Figure 6-15) that the dissolved 2) Vertically, Carboniferous, Triassic, and Ordovician
reservoirs in the lower interval are distributed in star-like hydrocarbons differ significantly in properties.
and ribbon-like manner, suggesting a reservoir develop- Carboniferous gas features a high dryness coefficient,
ment poorer than in the upper interval. low N2, and heavier d13C1; Triassic gas features low
dryness coefficient, high N2, and lighter d13C1. In the
central and eastern sections of Sangtamu fault thrust,
(2) Horizontal Distribution of Reservoirs
Ordovician oil has much lower density than Triassic oil;
Ordovician carbonates in the Lunnan region contain three in the west of Zhongpingtai, where Wells LG8 and
classes of reservoirs in two sets (Figure 6-16). LG801 are located, Carboniferous oil has lower density
The first set of reservoirs, mainly affected by middle than both Ordovician and Triassic. Gas invasion in the
Caledonian paleokarsts, was developed about upper 30 m late period tampered upon Triassic invisibly, indicating
218 Unconventional Petroleum Geology

High-production well

FIGURE 6-15 Superimposed map of weak amplitude on top of the buried hills and strong amplitude within the buried hills in Lungu central slope. (Red/
yellow represents weak amplitude attribute at surface of the buried hills, and pink represents strong amplitude attribute inside the buried hills.)

that the properties of Triassic and Ordovician are 5. MAIN CONTROLLING FACTORS FOR
controlled by different accumulation phases and HIGH HYDROCARBON PRODUCTIVITY
3) Vertically, natural gas is generally dry in the upper
section and wet in the lower section, which reveals that Several reservoirs have been discovered in Lunnan Low
natural gas invasion occurred from bottom to top, that Uplift (Figure 6-16). They are mainly distributed from
is, first to Ordovician, and then to Carboniferous and Paleozoic to Mesozoic and are represented by the over-
Triassic. Horizontally, natural gas represents as dry in laying of multiphase structural movements and multiphase
the east section and wet in the west section, indicating accumulation. Therefore, they feature as composite reser-
that natural gas invasion occurred from the east to the voirs consisting of alternating and overlaying reservoirs
west. During the gas invasion, original crude oil in the with different properties and types. The reservoirs are
reservoir showed high paraffin content due to gas generally distributed along the fault belts, and the hydro-
flushing. carbon properties are distinct depending on zones.

0 10 20 30 40km
hill pa
s tone b
Xinhe Lime
Lungu 30 Lungu 32
Lunnan 1
okarst Lungu 15 Lungu 2 Lunnan 621
ried hill pale Caohu
Yingmai 32 Dolomite bu Sangtam F
u Lungu 16 Lundong 1
boundary of Lunnan 63

Yingmaili o ut
ch Aiding 4 t i o Lunnan 15

Yingmai 10 Pin n
Ha 6 Lunnan 46 Lungu 34
Xiang 3
Yingmai 4 Dissolution boundary

Yingmai 1
Tahe 2

Yingmai 2 Hade 17
Yangwu 2

FIGURE 6-16 The distribution map of Ordovician weathered crust paleokarst reservoirs at the South Margin of Tabei Uplift.
Chapter | 6 Carbonate Fracture-Cavity Reservoir 219

Vertically, the reservoirs are diversified in different hori-

zons; the reservoirs with varying properties are superposed; TABLE 6-5 Analysis of Failure Wells in Lungu East
and the reservoirs are deeply buried, the hydrocarbons
reserves are concentrated, the reservoirs feature complex
well Target formation Cause of failure
phases, and oil and gas coexist in multiphase reservoirs.
LG32 Yijianfang Formation þ Dissolution not observed
Ying-1 Member

(1) Sufficient Hydrocarbon Sources LG351 Yijianfang Formation þ Horizontal fractures

Ying-1 Member developed, poor physical
Two sets of source rocks contributed to the Lungu-Tahe oil/ properties
gas fields: (1) Middle-Upper Ordovician and (2) Middle- LG36 Yijianfang Formation þ Horizontal fractures
Lower Cambrian. Neighboring the hydrocarbon-generating Yingshan Formation þ developed, poor physical
sags is the basis for high hydrocarbons productivity and Penglaiba Formation properties
accumulation in carbonate fracture/cavity reservoirs. LG37 Yijianfang Formation þ Fractures filled; no
Ordovician-Cambrian, as the major source rocks, generated Ying-1 Member reservoir
hydrocarbons for a prolonged period and drained hydro- LG392 Yijianfang Formation þ Deviated from “beads”,
carbons in multiple phases, providing reliable hydrocarbon Ying-1 Member polluted in acidizing;
sources for considerable and multiphase accumulation in Ying-1 reservoirs under-
different stratigraphic intervals in the Lunnan Low Uplift. developed

LG632 Yijianfang Formation þ No Ying-1 reservoirs;

Ying-1 Member Yijianfang reservoirs
(2) Development of Layer-Like
LN62 Yijianfang Formation þ Pore/fractures filled; no
Fracture-Cavity System Ying-1 Member favorable reservoirs
In general, Ordovician reservoirs in the Lungu oil field may LN635 Lianglitage Formation þ Reef bank bodies and
be divided into two parts: (1) the area to the west of Yijianfang Formation þ dissolutions not developed
pinchout line of Sangtamu Formation, and (2) Lungu East Ying-1 Member
area to the east of pinchout line of Sangtamu Formation. In LD1 Yijianfang Formation þ Water produced in
the latter part, the reservoir properties are poor, and the Ying-1 Member production testing
hydrocarbon reserves are less abundant. The reservoirs are
relatively developed in successful wells with good forma-
tion testing results, but are less developed in dry wells in
general (Table 6-5).
(4) Caprocks Overlain Paleokarsts
Well LG7 area is located high on Lunnan buried hill, with
(3) Enrichment at Structural Highs highly eroded and underdeveloped caprocks. For example,
Reservoirs are developed in both large karst monadnocks in Wells LG7-11, LG7-10, and LG7-15, Ehuobulake
and karst lowlands. For example, in Well LG102, which is
located in a karst lowland, the wireline log interpretation
revealed 17.2 m dissolved cavity reservoirs, and bleed-off
occurred in four intervals during drilling, with accumulated
bleed-off thickness of 15.64 m, which indicates that the
well contains the most abundant cavity reservoirs in the
area. Reservoir thickness is positively correlated to accu-
mulative production (Figure 6-17), and the development of
reservoirs is the most essential condition for production.
However, given that the reservoirs are available, the exis-
tence of low-relief structures is a major controlling factor.
In the Sangtamu SW area, the wells in high positions of
large karst monadnock, such as Wells LN54, LG100-6,
LG100-10, LG100-11, LG101, and LG101-2 , show high FIGURE 6-17 Ordovician reservoir thickness versus accumulative
oil columns (Figure 6-18) and high accumulative produc- production in the Sangtamu SW area. The thicknesses were interpreted
tion, which is typical in a hydrocarbon-rich area. from wireline logs.
220 Unconventional Petroleum Geology

h (m) h (m)
LN54−3 LN54−2 LN54−1 LN54 LG100−6 LG100−10 LG100−11 LG101 LG101−2 LG16−1
−4450 −4450
A 119m
35m 37m 35m
−4500 8m −4500
24m 8m
−4550 −4550

−4600 −4600
Large karst monadock
Oil zone Water zone Dry layer
−4650 −4650
FIGURE 6-18 Profile of oil column across a large karst monadnock, Ordovician, Sangtamu SW area.

h (m) LN11−3 LN11−4 LG7−7 LG7−4 LG7−5 LG7−1 LG7−8 LG701 LN1 LG7−12 LG7−10 LG7−15 h (m)
−4000 −4000
Karst lowland Karst slope Karst highland
68m 11m 0m
−4100 163m −4100
33m 67m 122m
−4200 104m −4200
−4300 −4300
−4400 −4400

−4500 Oil zone Water zone Dry layer −4500

FIGURE 6-19 Oil/gas/water distribution in an area with underdeveloped caprocks (Well LG7 area).

mudstone caprocks of Carboniferous and Triassic are In summary, there are four main controlling factors for
absent; in Wells LN1 and LG21, Carboniferous caprock is high productivity and accumulation in carbonate fracture-
missing, and only Ehuobulake mudstone of Triassic is cavity reservoirs in the Lunnan Low Uplift: (1) the abun-
preserved locally, allowing Ordovician hydrocarbons dance of the source rocks sets the foundation; (2) the
escaping to overlying Triassic reservoirs. Wells LN11-3, development of reservoirs is the precondition for hydro-
LN11-4, and LG7-7 are located in karst lowlands, with high carbon accumulation; (3) the structural highs and large
water energy. Oil and gas migrated toward karst slope karst monadnocks are the most favorable for hydrocarbon
under the buoyancy, leading to a high water column and accumulation; and (4) the existence of good-quality
water production in general. On karst slope, the vertical and caprocks safeguards the enrichment of oil and gas.
lateral seal resulted from overlying Carboniferous and
strong heterogeneity of reservoirs and promoted preserva-
tion of the hydrocarbons, forming high oil columns, as
shown in Wells LG7-5, LG7-1, LG7-8, and LG701 REFERENCES
(Figure 6-19). Bathurst, R.G.C., 1975. Carbonate sediments and their diagenesis, second
In the Lundongu East area, there are multiple, thick ed. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp. 1e658.
caprocks, such as the Sangtamu Formation of Ordovician Chen, Qianglu, Huang, Jiwen, 2004. Hydrocarbon conduction system and
and Triassic. The oil/gas/water distribution is mainly Migration. Accumulation Mode in Tahe Oilfield 25 (2), 143e146.
controlled by the intensity of gas invasion in the late period. Chen, Xueshi, Yi, Wanxia, Lu, Wenzhong, 2004. Paleokarst and hydro-
Since the Lungu East strike-slip faults acted as channels for carbon reservoirs in the oil/gas fields in China. Acta Sedimentologica
hydrocarbon migration in the late period, which connected Sinica 22 (2), 244e253.
Dai, Jinxing, Wang, Tingbin, Yan, Song, et al., 1997. Formation condi-
to the source rocks in Manjiaer Sag in the southern part of
tions and distribution rules of large and medium gasfields in China.
Lungu East, the natural gas is abundant in the southern
Geology Press, Beijing, pp. 81e100.
segment of Lungu East faults. Where the connectivity to the Esteban, M., Klappa, C.F., 1983. Subaerial exposure environments.
gas sources lessened, oil, gas, and water coexist. In Wells AAPG Memoir 33, 1e54.
QM1 and QM2 in the northern part of Lungu East, the Flugel, E., 2004. Microfacies of carbonate rocks: analysis, interpretation
formations produce water in general due to the poor and application. Springer-Verlag, Berlin and Heidelbert GmbH & Co.
connectivity to the gas sources. K, pp. 1e996.
Chapter | 6 Carbonate Fracture-Cavity Reservoir 221

Ford, D.C., Williams, P.W., 1989. Karst geomorphology and hydrology. reservoirs in Lunnane2001. Tarim Oilfield Exploration and Devel-
Unwin Hyman, London, pp. 1e601. opment Research Institute.
Fu, Guang, Xue, Yongchao, Fu, Xiaofei, 2001. Hydrocarbons migration Rong, Yuanshuai, Huang, Yongmei, Liu, Xueli, 2008. Study of oil replace-
and conduction system and its controls over accumulation. Xinjiang ment by single-well water injection for fracture-cavity oil reservoirs
Petroleum Geology 22 (1), 24e26. in Tarim Oilfield. Petroleum Drilling Techniques 36 (4), 57e60.
Gu, Jiayu, Zhou, Xingxi, 2001. Lunnan buried-hill karst and hydrocar- Tu, Xingwan, 2008. Successful cases of oil replacement by single-well
bons distribution rules in Tarim Basin. Petroleum Industry Press, water injection for carbonate fracture-cavity reservoirs. Xinjiang
Beijing, pp. 1e268. Petroleum Geology 29 (6), 376e735.
Gu, Yi, Zhibing, Shao, Chen, Qianglu, et al., 2007. Hydrocarbons Tucker, M.E., Wright, V.P., 1990. Carbonate Sedimentology. Blackwell,
migration and accumulation rules in Tahe Oilfield. Petroleum Oxford, pp. 1e482.
Geology and Experiment 29 (3), 224e237. Wang, Zhenyu, Li, Ling, Tan, Xiucheng, et al., 2008. Identification of
Hao, Fang, Zou, Huayao, Jiang, Jianqun, 2000. Hydrocarbons accumu- types of Ordovician carbonate paleokarst in Tarim Basin. Journal of
lation kinetics and progress of study 7 (3), 11e21. Southwest Petroleum University. 30 (5), 11e16.
James, N.P., Choquette, P.W., 1988. Paleokarst. Springer-Verlag, New Wright, V.P., 1982. The recognition and interpretation of paleokarsts: Two
York, pp. 1e416. examples from the Lower Carboniferous of South Wales. Journal of
Liu, Cunge, Zhang, Yu, Lv, Haitao, 2008. Genesis and evolution of Sedimentary Research 52 (1), 83e94.
macrocrystalline calcite in MiddleeLower Ordovician paleokarst Wu, Fuqiang, Xian, Xuefu, 2006. Status and countermeasures for
caves of Tahe Oilfield. Geological Science and Technology Infor- exploration and researches of deep reservoirs. Sedimentary Geology
mation 27 (4), 33e38. and Tethyan Geology 26 (2), 68e71.
Longman, M.W., 1980. Carbonate diagenetic textures from near surface Xu, Guoqiang, Li, Guorong, Liu, Shugen, et al., 2005. Early Hercynian
diagenetic environments. AAPG 63, 401e487. multi-phase weathering crust-type karst cavity formations in Tarim
Lv, Yuan’e, Aikber, Sadik, Yang, Suju, 2006. Practices of hori- Basin. Journal of Geology 79 (4), 557e568.
zontal well development in carbonate karst-fracture-pore Yuan, Daoxian, Zhu, Dehao, Weng, Jintao, et al., 1987. Karst science in
reservoirs in Tahe Oilfield. West China Petroleum Geosciences China. Science Press, Beijing.
2 (1), 95e100. Zhang, Baomin, Liu, Jingjiang, 2009. Classification and characteristics of
Magoon, L.B., Dow, W.G., 1994. The petroleum system: From source to karst reservoirs in China and relevant theoretical issues. Petroleum
trap. AAPG Memoir 64, 1e664. Exploration and Development 1, 12e29.
Palmer, A.N., 1991. Origin and morphology of limestone caves. Zhang, Yongchang, Zhang, Baomin, Li, Benliang, et al., 2011. History of
Geological Society of America Bulletin 103 (1), 1e21. structural period-crossing reservoirs forming in marine basins in
Pan, Wenqing, Guan, Wensheng, Zhao, Leyuan, et al., 2001. Selection Chinadcase study of Tarim Basin. Petroleum Exploration and
and appraisal of exploration targets in Carboniferous and Ordovician Development 38 (1), 1e15.