Main Mechanism for Generating Overpressure in the Paleogene Source Rock Series of the Chezhen Depression, Bohai Bay Basin, China

  • Junli Zhang
  • Sheng HeEmail author
  • Yuqin Wang
  • Yongshi Wang
  • Xuefeng Hao
  • Shengyuan Luo
  • Ping Li
  • Xuewei Dang
  • Ruizhi Yang


The Chezhen depression, located in the south of Bohai Bay Basin, is an oil-producing basin in China. The third and fourth members of the Shahejie Formation (Es3 and Es4) are the main source rock series in the Chezhen depression. Widespread overpressures occurred in the Es3 and Es4 from the depths of approximately 2 000 to 4 600 m, with the maximum pressure coefficient of 1.98 from drillstem tests (DST). Among the sonic, resistivity and density logs, sonic-log is the only reliable pressure indicator and can be used to predict the pore pressure with Eaton’s method. All the overpressured mudstones in the source rock series have higher acoustic traveltimes compared with normally pressured mudstones at a given depth. The overpressured mudstones in the Es3 and Es4 units are characterized by a normal geothermal gradient, high average density values up to 2.5 g/cm3, strong present-day hydrocarbon generation capability, abundant mature organic matter and high contents of residual hydrocarbons estimated by the Rock-Eval S1 values and chloroform-soluble bitumen “A” values. All suggest that the dominant mechanism for overpressure in the mudstones of source rock series in the Chezhen depression is hydrocarbon generation. A comparison between the matrix porosity of the normally pressured sandstones and overpressured sandstones, the quantitative evaluation of porosity loss caused by compaction and the conventional thin section inspection demonstrate that the sandstones in the Chezhen depression were normally compacted. The high contents of hydrocarbons in the overpressured reservoirs prove that the overpressure in the sandstones of the source rock series was caused by pressure transmission from the source rocks.

Key Words

overpressure-generating mechanism source rock series Es3 and Es4 formations Chezhen depression 


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This study was sponsored by the China National Science and Technology Major Project (No. 2016ZX05006003-001), the Programme of Introducing Talents of Discipline to Universities (No. B14031) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 41572114, 41302110). The SINOPEC Shengli Oilfield is thanked for providing background geological data and support. We are grateful to the editors and two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments and suggestions. The final publication is available at Springer via


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Copyright information

© China University of Geosciences and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Tectonics and Petroleum Resources, Ministry of EducationChina University of GeosciencesWuhanChina
  2. 2.Research Institute of Exploration and Development, Shengli Oilfield CompanySINOPECDongyingChina
  3. 3.Wuhan Center of China Geological SurveyWuhanChina
  4. 4.Wuhan Zondy Cyber-Tech Co. Ltd.WuhanChina

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