Unconventional Petroleum Geology - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780123971623, 9780123977861

Unconventional Petroleum Geology

1st Edition

Authors: Caineng Zou
Hardcover ISBN: 9780123971623
eBook ISBN: 9780123977861
Imprint: Elsevier
Published Date: 12th December 2012
Page Count: 384
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Unconventional Petroleum Geology is the first book of its kind to collectively identify, catalog, and assess the exploration and recovery potential of the Earth's unconventional hydrocarbons. Advances in hydrocarbon technology and petroleum development systems have recently made the exploration of unconventional hydrocarbons—such as shale gas, tight sandstone oil and gas, heavy oil, tar sand, and coalbed methane—the hottest trend in the petroleum industry.

Detailed case studies act as real-world application templates, making the book's concepts immediately practical and useful by exploration geologists. The logical and intuitive three-part approach of systematically identifying an unconventional hydrocarbon, cataloguing its accumulation features, and assessing its exploration and recovery potential can be immediately implemented in the field—anywhere in the world.

Key Features

  • Provides a detailed assessment of the exploration and recovery potential of the full range of unconventional hydrocarbons
  • More than 300 illustrations—many in full color—capture the detailed intricacies and associated technological advances in unconventional hydrocarbon exploration
  • More than 20 case studies and examples from around the world conclude each chapter and aid in the application of key exploration and recovery techniques


Exploration Geologists, Geochemists, and Geophysicists globally with a focus on hydrocarbon exploration. Secondary market includes students and instructors at the graduate level in the Geosciences.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1. Introduction

Section 1. History of Petroleum Geology

1. Enlightenment Stage (Before the 1860s)

2. Formative Stage (1860s–1920s)

3. Development Stage (1920s–Present)

Section 2. Current Situation and Trend of Global Petroleum Exploration

1. Current Situation

2. Distribution of Giant to Supergiant Oil and Gas Fields

3. Distribution of Remaining Global Hydrocarbon Resources

4. Recent Trend of Global Conventional Oil and Gas Discoveries

Section 3. Differences Between Conventional and Unconventional Petroleum Accumulations

1. Conventional Petroleum Geology

2. Unconventional Petroleum Geology

Section 4. Position and Significance of Unconventional Petroleum Geology

1. Study History of Unconventional Petroleum Geology

2. Strategy Position of Unconventional Petroleum Resources

3. Strategic Breakthroughs and Significance of Unconventional Petroleum


Chapter 2. Unconventional Continuous Petroleum Accumulation

Section 1. Concept and Types of Unconventional Continuous Petroleum Accumulations

1. Background

2. Concept of Continuous Petroleum Accumulation and Its Specific Characteristics in China

3. Types of Continuous Petroleum Accumulation

Section 2. Genesis and Characteristics of Unconventional Continuous Petroleum Accumulations

1. Critical Characteristics

2. Origin, Distribution, and Evolution of Continuous Petroleum Accumulations

3. Type and Geological Characteristics of Continuous Petroleum Accumulations

4. Differences among Typical Continuous Petroleum Accumulations

Section 3. Nanometer-Scaled Pore-Throat System

1. Storage Space of Unconventional Reservoirs

2. Pore Classification Categories

3. Definition and Characteristics of Nano-Hydrocarbon

Section 4. Resource Assessment Methods of Unconventional Petroleum Deposits

1. Analogy Method

2. Stochastic Simulation Method

3. Estimation from Single-Well Production

4. Prediction Techniques for Spatial Distribution of Petroleum Resources

5. Prediction Procedures for Continuous Tight-Sandstone Gas Reservoirs

Section 5. Key Technologies of Unconventional Petroleum Exploration and Development

1. Reservoir Prediction Based on Prestack Seismic Data Technology

2. Horizontal Well Technology

3. Large-Scale Fracturing Technology

4. Microseismic Monitoring Technology

5. Quantitative Carving Technology of Fracturing Reservoir


Chapter 3. Tight-Sandstone Oil and Gas

Section 1. Definition of Tight-Sandstone Oil and Gas

1. Tight-Sandstone Gas

2. Tight-Sandstone Oil

Section 2. Origin of Tight-Sandstone reservoirs

1. Characteristics of Tight-Sandstone Reservoirs

2. Petrographic Characteristics of Tight-Sandstone Reservoirs

3. Tight-Sandstone Reservoir Pore Space and Performance

4. Pore-Throat Texture Characterization of Tight-Sandstone Reservoirs

5. Origin of Sandstone Reservoir Consolidation

Section 3. Generation and Distribution of Tight-Sandstone Oil and Gas

1. Properties of Tight-Sandstone Oil and Gas

2. Oil–Gas–Water Distribution in Tight-Sandstones

3. Pressure Systems of Tight-Sandstone Oil and Gas

4. Geological Characteristics of Tight-Sandstone Oil and Gas

Section 4. Exploration Potential of Tight-Sandstone Oil and Gas

1. Exploration and Development History of Tight-sandstone Oil and Gas

2. Resource Potential of Tight-Sandstone Oil and Gas

Section 5. Typical Cases

1. Triassic Tight Oil in Ordos Basin

2. Jurassic Tight Oil across Sichuan Basin

3. Carboniferous-Permian Tight-Sandstone Gas in the Sulige in Ordos Basin


Chapter 4. Coalbed Methane

Section 1. Generation of Coalbed Methane

1. The Concept of Coal-Formed Hydrocarbon

2. Substantial Composition of Coal and Coal-Formed Hydrocarbon

3. Coalification Process

4. Kinetics of Hydrocarbon Generation in Coal-Bearing Rocks

Section 2. Geologic Features of the Coal Reservoir

1. Porous System in Coal Reservoirs

2. Microfissure Systems and Permeabilities of Coal Reservoirs

Section 3. Occurrence State of Coalbed Methane and Production Mechanisms

1. Occurrence State of Coalbed Methane

2. Mechanism of Coalbed Methane Production

Section 4. Forming and Distributing Coalbed Methane

1. Implication of Coalbed Methane and Its Boundaries

2. Geochemical Characteristics of Coalbed Methane

3. Evolutionary Process of Coalbed Methane Generation

4. Distribution Rule of Coalbed Methane

Section 5. Evaluation and Selection of Coalbed Methane Resources

1. Evaluation of Coalbed Methane Resources

2. Distribution of Coalbed Methane Resources

3. Candidates for Coalbed Methane Exploration

Section 6. Case Study

1. High-Ranking Coalbed Methane in the Southern Qinshui Basin

2. Medium-Ranking Coalbed Methane in San Juan Basin

3. Low-Ranking Coalbed Methane in Powder River Basin


Chapter 5. Shale Gas

Section 1. Connotation of Shale Gas

1. Types and Genesis of Shale Gas

2. Connotation and Characteristics of Shale Gas

Section 2. Characteristics of Shale Reservoir

1. Rock Mineral Composition

2. Characteristics of Porosity, Permeability, and Microfractures in Shale Reservoirs

3. Gas-Bearing Properties of Shale Reservoirs

4. Evaluation Standards for Shale Reservoirs

Section 3. Generation and Distribution of Shale Gas

1. Organic Matter Abundance

2. Organic Matter Types

3. Organic Matter Maturity

4. Effective Shale Thickness

5. Gas-Bearing Property

6. Mineral Composition

7. Porosity, Permeability Characteristics, and Microfractures

Section 4. Key Techniques for Shale Gas Development

1. Comprehensive Geological Evaluation Technique

2. Reservoir Evaluation Technique

3. Experimental Analysis Technique

4. Logging Evaluation Techniques

5. Resource Assessment Techniques

6. Evaluation Technique of Core Area

7. Horizontal Well-Drilling Technique

8. Shale Reservoir Fracturing Technique

9. Microseismic Monitoring Technique

10. Economic Evaluation Techniques

Section 5. Shale Gas Exploration Potential

1. Current Status of Shale Gas Exploration and Development

2. Shale Gas Resource Potential in the World

3. Shale Gas Resource Potential in China

Section 6. Typical Cases

1. Appalachia Basin

2. Fort Worth Basin


Chapter 6. Carbonate Fracture-Cavity Reservoir

Section 1. Origins and Identification of Carbonate Fracture-Cavity Reservoir

1. General Characteristics of Fracture-Cavity Reservoirs

2. Main Controlling Factors for Fracture-Cavity Reservoir Development

3. Identification of a Fracture-Cavity Reservoir

4. Characteristics and Distribution of Karsted Carbonate Facture-Cavity Reservoirs in China

Section 2. The Fracture-Cavity System and Units of Carbonate Reservoir

1. Concept of Fracture-Cavity System and Unit

2. Principles and Methods for Classification of Fracture-Cavity Unit

3. Types of Fracture-Cavity Units

4. Significance of Fracture-Cavity Unit Classification

Section 3. Migration Mechanism and Enrichment Factors of Hydrocarbon Accumulations in Carbonate Fracture-Cavity Reservoirs

1. Oil/Gas Production Characteristics in Different Types of Fracture-Cavity Reservoirs

2. Oil/Gas Conduction System

3. Hydrocarbon Migration and Accumulation Mechanism

4. Factors That Control Oil/Gas Enrichment in Fracture-Cavity Reservoirs

Section 4. Exploration and Development Technologies for Carbonate Fracture-Cavity Oil and Gas Accumulations

1. Lithologic and Paleo-Geomorphologic Analysis

2. Seismic Prediction Technology

3. Physical Modeling

4. Reservoir Sculpturing Technique

5. Direct Hydrocarbon Detection

6. Reservoir Acid-Fracturing Technique

7. Development Technology of Horizontal Wells

8. Stimulation Technology in Horizontal Wells

9. Water Injection and Oil Displacement Technology

Section 5. Exploration Potential and Direction of Carbonate Fracture-Cavity Hydrocarbon Resources

1. Paleo-Uplifts and Surrounding Slope Areas

2. Large Stratigraphic Unconformity Reservoirs

3. Deep–Ultra-Deep Reservoirs

Section 6. Case Study

1. Tectonic Evolution of Lunnan Low Uplift

2. Sedimentary Facies and Reservoir-Caprock Assemblage

3. Reservoir Characteristics of Lunnan Low Uplift

4. Hydrocarbons Distribution

5. Main Controlling Factors for High Hydrocarbon Productivity and Accumulation


Chapter 7. Volcanic Reservoirs and Hydrocarbon Accumulations

Section 1. Volcanic Rock Classification and Tectonic Environment

1. Types of Volcanic Rocks

2. Volcanic Lithofacies and Their Characteristics

3. Tectonic Environment for the Formation of Volcanic Rocks

Section 2. Genetic Mechanism of Volcanic Reservoirs

1. Pore Space Types of Volcanic Reservoir

2. Types and Features of Volcanic Reservoirs in Petroliferous Basins in China

3. Main Controlling Factors for the Formation of Volcanic Reservoirs

4. Textural Characteristics of Volcanic Reservoirs in Secondary Weathering Crust

Section 3. Oil and Gas Accumulation and Distribution in Volcanic Reservoirs

1. Sources and Origins of Oil and Gas in Volcanic Reservoirs

2. Oil and Gas Accumulation Models in Volcanic Rocks

3. Distribution and Enrichment of Oil and Gas Accumulations in Volcanic Rocks

4. Distribution of Volcanic Oil and Gas Pools in China

Section 4. Evaluation and Prediction of Volcanic Oil and Gas Accumulations

1. The Evaluation and Prediction Process for Volcanic Accumulations

2. Regional Prediction of Volcanic Rocks

3. Identification of Targets in Volcanic Rocks

4. Evaluation and Prediction of Favorable Volcanic Reservoirs

5. Prediction of Hydrocarbons in Volcanic Rocks

Section 5. Oil and Gas Resource Potential and Future Exploration in Volcanic Rocks

1. Basins in Eastern China

2. Basins in Western China

3. Basins in Central China

Section 6. Case Studies

1. Volcanic Oil and Gas Pools in Northern Xinjiang

2. Volcanic Gas Pools in Songliao Basin


Chapter 8. Oil and Gas in Metamorphic Reservoirs

Section 1. Metamorphic Rock Type and Tectonic Setting

1. Metamorphic Rock Type

2. Tectonic Background of Metamorphic Rock

Section 2. Origin of Metamorphic Reservoir Rocks

1. Origin Type and Characteristics of Metamorphic Reservoir Fracture

2. Control Factors of Metamorphic Reservoir Fracture

Section 3. Hydrocarbon Accumulation and Enrichment Rules of Metamorphic Reservoir

1. Metamorphic Reservoir Type

2. Metamorphic Reservoir Characteristics

3. Main Control Factors of Hydrocarbon Accumulation in a Metamorphic Reservoir

4. Accumulation Mode of Metamorphic Rock

5. Factors of High Production in Metamorphic Rock

6. Hydrocarbon Resource Potential of Metamorphic Reservoir

Section 4. Prediction Methods of Metamorphic Fractured Reservoirs

1. Logging Identification and Prediction of Metamorphic Fractured Reservoirs

2. Seismic Imaging Prediction Technology of Metamorphic Rock Fracture

Section 5. Case Study

1. Reservoir Petrologic and Physical Property

2. Reservoir Characteristics

3. Control Factors of Internal Buried Hill Accumulation

4. Accumulation Mode


Chapter 9. Heavy Oil and Bitumen

Section 1. Physical and Chemical Properties and Characteristics of Heavy Oil and Bitumen

1. Physical Properties

2. Chemical Properties

Section 2. Types and Distributions of Heavy Oil and Bitumen

1. Trap Types

2. Distribution Characteristics

Section 3. Generation and Evolution of Heavy Oil and Bitumen

1. Primary and Secondary Genesis of Heavy Oil and Bitumen

2. Thickening Mechanism and Sequence

3. Thickening Factors and Phases

Section 4. Mechanisms of Heavy Oil and Bitumen Accumulation and Pool Formation

1. Mechanism of Heavy Oil Accumulation

2. Conditions for Heavy Oil Accumulation

Section 5. Production Technologies of Heavy Oil and Bitumen

1. Open Mine Production

2. In-situ Production

Section 6. Potential and Distribution of Heavy Oil and Bitumen Resources

1. Heavy Oil and Bitumen among World Hydrocarbon Resources

2. Distribution of Heavy Oil and Bitumen around the World

3. Scale and Distribution of Heavy Oil and Bitumen Resources in the World

Section 7. Case Study

1. Geologic Characteristics of Tar Sands in West Canada

2. Generation of Bitumen and Heavy Oil in the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin


Chapter 10. Natural Gas Hydrate

Section 1. Concepts and Characteristics of Natural Gas Hydrate

1. Concepts and Structures of Natural Gas Hydrate

2. Properties and Characteristics of Natural Gas Hydrate

Section 2. Natural Gas Hydrate Thermodynamic and Kinetic Models

1. Natural Gas Hydrate Thermodynamic Models

2. Kinetics Models for Gas Hydrate

Section 3. Formation and Occurrence of Natural Gas Hydrate

1. Pressure-Temperature Stability Conditions

2. Hydrocarbon Source

3. Reservoir Rocks

4. Gas Migration

Section 4. Evaluation and Prediction for Natural Gas Hydrate and Its Energy Potential

1. Evaluation and Prediction Techniques for Gas Hydrate

2. Development Techniques for Gas Hydrate

3. Energy Resource Potential of Natural Gas Hydrate


Chapter 11. Outlook on Unconventional Petroleum Resources

Section 1. Future Development of Unconventional Petroleum Resources

1. Role of Unconventional Petroleum

2. Outlook on Unconventional Gas

3. Outlook on Unconventional Petroleum

Section 2. Outlook on Techniques for Unconventional Petroleum Exploration and Exploitation

1. Techniques for Coalbed Methane and Shale Gas Exploration and Exploitation

2. Techniques for Tight-Sandstone Oil and Gas Exploration and Exploitation

3. Techniques for Heavy Oil, Oil-Sandstone, and Oil-Shale Exploration and Exploitation

4. Techniques for Natural Gas Hydrate Exploration and Exploitation




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About the Author

Caineng Zou

President of the research institute of petroleum exploration and development(RIPED)

Professor, the research institute of petroleum exploration and development,CNPC

An expert petroleum geology, Caineng Zou received a doctorate on Mineral Resource Prospecting and Exploration and is now vice-president and chief geologist of the Research Institute of Petroleum Exploration and Development (RIPED) of PetroChina; vice-chairman of China Mineralogy, Petrology and Geochemistry Society and Beijing Petroleum society; deputy-director of the natural gas committee of China Petroleum Society (CPS); group leader of the reservoir division in the petroleum geology committee of CPS and unconventional gas division in the natural gas committee of CPS; a member of the editorial board for Petroleum Exploration and Development, Acta Petrolei Sinica, and Natural Gas Geoscience; a part-time professor in Beijing University. He is also the leader of the national project “Accumulation Law, Key Technologies and Targets’ Evaluation of Litho-stratigraphic Petroleum” and has been approved to receive the State Council special allowance in China. Dr. Zou has been awarded a National Top Prize for Progress in Science and Technology and ten Provincial or Ministerial Prizes in China. He has published over 90 papers and 5 monographs.

Affiliations and Expertise

Research Institute of Petroleum Exploration and Development, Beijing, China


"The body of the book devotes each chapter to a specific type of petroleum deposit and the extraction techniques: tight-sandstone oil and gas, coalbed methane, shale gas, carbonate-fracture-cavity reservoir, volcanic deposits, deposits in metamorphic rocks, heavy oil and bitumen, and natural gas hydrate. The book includes about twenty real-life case studies."--Reference and Research Book News, August 2013