Geochemistry, origin, and accumulation of petroleum in the Eocene Wenchang Formation reservoirs in Pearl River Mouth Basin, South China Sea: A case study of HZ25-7 oil field
The Pearl River Mouth Basin in the South China Sea has accumulated >2 km of Eocene sediments in its deep basin, and has become the exploration focus due to the recent discoveries of the HZ25-7 oil field in the Eocene Wenchang (E 2 w) Formation. In this study, the geochemical characteristics of potential source rocks and petroleum in the HZ25-7 oil field are investigated and the possible origins and accumulation models developed. The analytical results reveal two sets of potential source rocks, E 2 w and Enping (E 2 e) formations developed in the study area. The semi-deep-to-deep lacustrine E 2 w source rocks are characterized by relatively low C 29 steranes, low C 19 /C 23 tricyclic terpane ( 24 tetracyclic terpane/C 30 hopane ( 30 hopane (most 30 4-methyl sterane/ΣC 29 sterane (>0.2) ratios. In contrast, the shallow lacustrine and deltaic swamp-plain E 2 e source rocks are characterized by relatively high C 29 steranes, high C 19 /C 23 tricyclic terpane (>0.6), high C 24 tetracyclic terpane/C 30 hopane (>0.1), variable yet overall high T/C 30 hopane, and low C 30 4-methyl sterane/ΣC 29 sterane ( 19 /C 23 tricyclic terpane ratios (mean value: 0.39), low C 24 tetracyclic terpane/C 30 hopane ratios (mean value: 0.07), high C 30 4-methyl sterane/ΣC 29 sterane ratios (mean value: 1.14), and relatively high C 27 regular sterane content of petroleum in the HZ25-7 oil field indicate that the petroleum most likely originated from the E 2 w Formation mudstone in the Huizhou Depression. One stage of continuous charging is identified in the HZ25-7 oil field; oil injection is from 16 Ma to present and peak filling occurs after 12 Ma. Thin sandstone beds with relatively good connectivity and physical properties (porosity and permeability) in the E 2 w Formation are favorable conduits for the lateral migration of petroleum. This petroleum accumulation pattern implies that the E 2 w Formation on the western and southern margins of the Huizhou Depression are favorable for petroleum accumulation because they are located in a migration pathway. Thus exploration should focus in these areas in the future.
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