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Lei Lan, Youchuan Li, Shuchun Yang, Yang Ouyang, Wenjing Ding, Qing Lin, Shanshan Zhou. Application of C30 tetracyclic polyprenoids as effective biomarker in oil-to source rock correlation in the Zhu III depression, Zhujiangkou Basin, Northern South China[J]. Acta Oceanologica Sinica.
Citation: Lei Lan, Youchuan Li, Shuchun Yang, Yang Ouyang, Wenjing Ding, Qing Lin, Shanshan Zhou. Application of C30 tetracyclic polyprenoids as effective biomarker in oil-to source rock correlation in the Zhu III depression, Zhujiangkou Basin, Northern South China[J]. Acta Oceanologica Sinica.

Application of C30 tetracyclic polyprenoids as effective biomarker in oil-to source rock correlation in the Zhu III depression, Zhujiangkou Basin, Northern South China

  • Available Online: 2024-06-07
  • The northern South China Sea, including the Zhujiangkou Basin and the Beibuwan Basin, developed high-quality lacustrine source rocks during the Eocene rifting period. These source rocks are vital for hydrocarbon generation in the northern South China Sea. The Zhu I depression in the Zhujiangkou Basin and the Beibuwan Basin typically exhibit high abundance of C30 4-methyl steranes. However, shales in the Eocene Wenchang Formation in the Zhu III depression of the Zhujiangkou Basin contains lower quantities of high-quality lacustrine source rocks with 4-methyl steranes, which often co-elute with some pentacyclic triterpanes in gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Therefore, the single 4-methylsterane parameter based on GC-MS cannot accurately distinguish organic source in the deep to semi-deep water lacustrine source rocks of the Wenchang Formation from other source rocks, thus impeding the recognition of their contributions to petroleum reservoirs. In this study, GC-MS of aliphatic hydrocarbons, palynofacies and algal identification, as well as stable carbon isotope data of organic matter were used to identify the algal species and construct the paleoclimate during deposition of the Wenchang Formation source rocks in the Zhu III depression of the Zhujiangkou Basin. It is suggested that during the Wenchang Formation period, freshwater green algae prevailed in the lake, which is likely account for the relatively low content of 4-methyl steranes in the high-quality lacustrine source rocks. Controlled by the algal species, it is proposed that the content of C30 tetracyclic polyprenoids (TPP) can better indicate the quality of the Wenchang source rocks than C30 4-methyl steranes. Consequently, a relationship between the TPP index and the quality of the lacustrine source rocks in the Wenchang Formation of the Zhu III depression was established. A higher TPP index indicates higher organic matter abundance and hydrogen index of the lacustrine source rocks. When applied to the origin analysis of oils in the Zhu III depression, it is believed that the organic-rich deep lacustrine source rocks in the Wenchang Formation made great contribution to the transitional zone crude oils in the Wenchang A and Wenchang B depressions.
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