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Authors: Zheng, Guodong* 
Xu, Wang* 
Etiope, Giuseppe* 
Ma, Xiangxian* 
Liang, Shouyun* 
Fan, Qiaohui* 
Sajjad, Wasim* 
Li, Yang* 
Title: Hydrocarbon seeps in petroliferous basins in China: A first inventory
Issue Date: 2018
Series/Report no.: /151 (2018)
DOI: 10.1016/j.jseaes.2017.10.037
Abstract: Natural hydrocarbon seepage is a widespread phenomenon in sedimentary basins, with important implications in petroleum exploration and emission of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. China has vast petroleum (oil and gas) bearing sedimentary basins, but hydrocarbon seepage has rarely been the object of systematic studies and measurements. Based on the available Chinese literature, we report a first inventory of 932 hydrocarbon seeps or seepage zones (710 onshore seeps and 222 offshore seeps), including 81 mud volcanoes, 449 oil seeps, 215 gas seeps, and 187 solid seeps (bitumen outcrops). The seeps are located within the main 20 Mesozoic-Cenozoic petroliferous sedimentary basins, especially along the marginal, regional and local faults. The type of manifestations (oil, gas or mud volcano) reflects the type and maturity of the subsurface petroleum system and the sedimentary conditions of the basin. Oil seeps are particularly abundant in the Junggar Basin. Gas seeps mostly developed in the Lunpola Basin, in smaller basins of the eastern Guizhou and Yunnan provinces, onshore Taiwan and in the offshore Yinggehai Basin. Mud volcanoes developed in basins (Junggar, Qaidam, Qiangtang, onshore and offshore Taiwan) that experienced rapid sedimentation, which induced gravitative instability of shales and diapirism. In comparison to available global onshore seep data-bases, China results to be the country with the highest number of seeps in the world. The massive gas seepage in China could represent a considerable natural source of methane to the atmosphere, and a key process that may drive future hydrocarbon exploration.
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