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Overpressure in Oligocene formations in southern Qiongdongnan basin, offshore China, can be determined either by actual measurements in wells or by calculations using data derived from well logs and seismic surveys. The overpressure is mainly the result of undercompaction of Oligocene rocks during rapid loading by Pliocene and Quaternary sedimentation and of the subsequent thermal expansion of fluids in the Oligocene strata.
Every formation possesses its own normal compaction trend (plot of shale-interval acoustic transit times vs. depth). The actual fluid pressures and potential pressures can be computed by the equilibrium-depth method. This method must be corrected for the thermal expansion of fluid. The pressure corrections are based on shale-interval transit times from well logs, interval velocities interpreted from vertical seismic profile (VSP) surveys, and stacking velocity from sonic log data of nearby wells.
Gas generated from source rocks is assumed to have moved vertically from strata of higher hydraulic pressure potential to those of lower potentials and to have moved laterally and accumulated within areas where the contour closures of a gas equipotential hydraulic-pressure surface (U curves) have lower values. In the study area, the vicinity of the Yacheng gas field, the potential maps (U, gas, and V, water, maps) and hydraulic head profiles can be plotted from values derived either from actual pressure measurements or from calculations. These maps and profiles show prospective areas of gas accumulation.
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