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AAPG Bulletin


AAPG Bulletin, V. 86, No. 9 (September 2002), P. 1639-1658.

Copyright ©2002. The American Association of Petroleum Geologists. All rights reserved.

Karst-controlled diagenesis and reservoir development: Example from the Ordovician main-reservoir carbonate rocks on the eastern margin of the Ordos basin, China

Baoqing Wang,1 Ihsan S. Al-Aasm2

1Department of Petroleum Geology, Xi'an Petroleum Institute, Xi'an, 710065, People's Republic of China; email: [email protected]
2Department of Earth Sciences, School of Physical Sciences, University of Windsor, Windsor, Ontario, Canada, N9B 3P4; email: [email protected]


Baoqing Wang received B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees from Chengdu College of Geology, China. He is now a professor in the Department of Petroleum Geology at Xi'an Petroleum Institute. His research interests include sedimentology and petroleum geology. His present research focuses on carbonate and sandstone reservoirs and diagenesis.

Ihsan Al-Aasm earned his B.Sc. (1974) and M.Sc. (1977) degrees in geology from the University of Baghdad, Iraq, and his Ph.D. (1985) in geology from the University of Ottawa, Canada. From 1985 to 1986, he was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Ottawa, then assistant professor from 1986 to 1988. In 1988, he joined the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Windsor as assistant professor, and he is now a full professor at that university. He is also an adjunct professor at the University of Western Ontario. His principal area of research is the petrologic and chemical attributes of carbonate and siliciclastic diagenesis, dolomitization, and environmental geochemistry. He is a past associate editor for the Journal of Sedimentary Research. His professional activities include memberships in AAPG, SEPM, the International Association of Sedimentologists, and the Geological Association of Canada.


Financial support for this research was provided by a grant from China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) to Baoqing Wang and by the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) to Ihsan Al-Aasm. J. Lonnee, M. Cioppa, and S. Morad provided useful suggestions to improve the article. Baoqing Wang expresses his gratitude to Dunshi Yan, the former chief geologist of CNPC, who played a key role in obtaining the grant and providing advice. We wish to thank AAPG reviewers Geoffrey B. Newton, Mark W. Longman, and Wayne Aher for critical comments that greatly improved the clarity of the article. AAPG editor John Lorenz provided very useful comments on the last version of this article.


The Ordovician Majiagou Formation contains the main reservoir of the Ordos Central gas field in the Ordos basin. The producing zone at the top of member 5 consists of carbonate rocks modified during a long period of subaerial exposure and karstification from the Late Ordovician to the middle Carboniferous. On the eastern margin of the Ordos basin, the porosity of the exposed carbonate rocks of this unit ranges from 0.5 to 15.1%, and permeability ranges from <0.01 to 1224 md. In the subsurface of the basin, the porosity of the reservoir rocks ranges from 0.5 to >8%, and permeability ranges from <0.1 to 5 md. The main reservoir porosity is a dissolution-enhanced vuggy porosity, associated with dolomite. The carbonate rocks show great heterogeneity, reflecting the varying effects of karstification in creating and modifying porosity.

Petrographic and geochemical analyses of various components in these carbonates provided evidence for depositional and diagenetic processes. The reservoir carbonates were deposited in shallow and restricted hypersaline environments and were later modified by karstification and burial diagenesis. Dolomitization appears to have resulted from mixing of marine and meteoric waters and probably occurred in both shallow and deep burial settings. Cementation by calcite also occurred in both shallow and deep environments, under different hydrodynamic conditions. Both depositional settings and diagenetic processes, such as leaching by meteoric water, paleokarstification, dolomitization, and cementation, controlled reservoir development. The outcrop and subsurface samples show similar petrographic features, porosity types, and geochemical characteristics, but the exposed section of the formation shows evidence of more alteration by meteoric water.

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