DCO Project Summary

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Project Title
The Deep Drilling Project in Songliao Basin, China
Start DateEnd Date
2014-06-01 2015-05-31
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This sub-project will leverage major investments by the International Continental Deep Drilling Project (ICDP) and China, who have initiated studies of scientific drilling, pilot CO2 sequestration and oil displacement, geothermal resource development, and seismic and volcanic monitoring in the Songliao Basin, one of the largest hydrocarbon-rich basins in the world. ICDP has funded a project in this basin to drill a 7000-meter borehole into the Cretaceous/Jurassic boundary, to commence in 2014. Chinese scientists have also proposed building a deep underground laboratory in the Songliao Basin, so-called deep multi-well (1000 to 6000 m) underground laboratory (MW-DUL) using a large number of existing boreholes in the Songliao Basin.  These are unique opportunities to investigate deep life and deep energy. Specifically, we propose 3 complementary approaches to the study of the deep biosphere. (1) We will employ CORK in-situ observation systems and a multi-level U-tube fluid sampling system uniquely suited to monitor and recover samples at these depths. (2) We will investigate microbial abundance, diversity, activity, and metabolic pathways in fluids and rocks and correlate these with temperature, pressure, lithological properties (porosity, hydraulic conductivity, and fracture distribution), deep fluid/gas compositions, and radioactivity to determine key environmental conditions that control microbial distribution and activity. (3) We use molecular microbiology approaches to compare microbial community structure and functions before and after CO2 injection to assess the impact of this oil recovery technology on subsurface deep biosphere.  We also propose studies related to deep energy. The sources of hydrocarbons found in the lower parts of the basin stratigraphy have been a controversial topic. We will secure samples for isotopologue and noble gas isotope measurements, lipid biogeochemistry, and organic geochemistry studies. These comprehensive efforts will further constrain the origin of hydrocarbons in the Songliao Basin and their relations with serpentinization.
Project UpdatesClick to add Project Update

Reporting Year 2015 Click to expand

  • Update 2015: The Deep Drilling Project in Songliao Basin, China - submitted on Oct 20, 2015

    Update Details:

    Submitted by Hailiang Dong, October 2015

    Since March 3, 2014, we have participated in the drilling site of the Songliao Basin in NE China. The current drilling depth is 3199 meters (http://www.icdp-online.org/projects/world/asia/songliao-basin/details/). We have visited the site and have collected cores for microbial and geochemical analyses. We also made a field trip to the surrounding area of the basin, i.e., western Liaoning Province and northern Hebei Province, and collected mudstone samples from shallow boreholes. We have performed TOC, 13C of TOC, trace elements and mineralogical analysis. In addition, we characterized TOC with nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy at Baylor University, and determined that the TOC in the Songliao Basin is largely of lacustrine origin. Lipid and stable isotope compositions are consistent with modern freshwater algae, Correlation between trace elements (such as V and Mo) and nitrogen compounds are indicative of nitrogen fixing bacteria. Current work includes microbial community analysis, lipid analysis (GDGT and others), and compound specific isotopes of carbon and nitrogen to further delineate ancient and modern microbial life in the basin and their relation with carbon cycling.

Reporting Year 2016 Click to expand

  • Update 2016(1): The Deep Drilling Project in Songliao Basin, China - submitted on ,

    Update Details:

    A ICDP-DCO-MLR-IUGS-CGS sponsored workshop is planned to develop a full proposal to be submitted to ICDP to implement a deep multi-well (1000 - 6000 m) underground laboratory (MW-DUL) using the large number of existing boreholes in the Songliao Basin, NE China. The objectives of MW-DUL are 1) detection and exploration of the deep biosphere; 2) geological CO2 sequestration; 3) seismic and volcanic activity monitoring; 4) sharing well-characterized samples containing possible abiotic methane or other hydrocarbons that can be analyzed in multiple laboratories; 5) sharing data on samples containing abiotic hydrocarbons; and 6) developing new international scientific collaborations. Because an extensive infrastructure exists within and around the Songliao Basin, this basin is an ideal site in which to create such a laboratory.

    Workshop information (.pdf)
    ICDP Online

    Date: Sunday, 3 July, 2016 - 12:00 - Friday, 8 July, 2016 - 00:00Location: Changchun, PR China
    View this update on the DCO Community Portal
  • Update 2016(2): The Deep Drilling Project in Songliao Basin, China - submitted on ,

    Update Details:

    In the last year, Hailiang Dong collected rock cores from the Songliao Basin drilling project (0-1000 meters) and geochemical and microbial analyses are currently underway. 
    Dong co-organized the ICDP workshop (July 2016, Changchun) on deep underground laboratory and a follow-up field trip to the Sognliao Basin (https://deepcarbon.net/feature/international-workshop-multi-well-deep-underground-laboratory-eastern-china#.V8t1HE1wWM9). At the workshop, Dong and Tullis Onstott co-organized a breakout session on deep life and discussed opportunities for international collaboration. During the field trip, he collected three drilling mud samples from ~5000 meters depth and initial enrichment shows some sign of microbial growth in a methanogenic medium. 
    Lead PI Dong currently serves as co-PI for the development of a full proposal to ICDP on multi-well deep underground laboratory in eastern China. The proposal is expected to be submitted to ICDP in January 2017. Dong also serves as co-PI for the ICDP workshop proposal: Deep Life Drilling Near Death Valley. This project is being led by Dr. Duane Moser of Desert research Institute. There are no publications from this part of the DCO grant, and no additional grant funding has yet been obtained as a result of this grant.
  • Update 2016: International Workshop on Multi-Well Deep Underground Laboratory in Eastern China - submitted on ,

    Update Details:

    by Hailiang Dong and Craig Schiffries

    An international workshop on a Multi-Well Deep Underground Laboratory (MW-DUL) in Eastern China was convened in Changchun, China from 3-8 July 2016. The MW-DUL is designed to utilize existing wells, including scientific drilling borehole SK-2, Lincan-1, Chinese Continental Scientific Drilling (CCSD), Hong-25, and some oil wells in the Songliao Basin to observe geophysical, chemical, and biological processes at great depth. The principal goal of the workshop is to develop a full drilling proposal to the International Continental Scientific Drilling Program (ICDP).

    Approximately 70 engineers, geologists, and biologists from the United States, Germany, Australia, South Korea, Japan, Austria, and China participated in the workshop. The ICDP and Deep Carbon Observatory (DCO) were sponsors of the workshop. DCO colleagues on the Scientific Committee included Tullis C. Onstott (Princeton University, USA), Hailiang Dong (Miami University, USA), and Craig Schiffries (Geophysical Laboratory, Carnegie Institution for Science, USA).

    Over the course of the first two days, attendees exchanged engineering experience in building the deep underground laboratory and shared scientific advancements in deep underground science, including geothermal resource and technology, the deep biosphere, CO2 sequestration, carbon cycling, and geological hazards. On the third day, breakout sessions in the morning focused on specific themes including deep underground fluids and biology, geological hazards, deep energy, strain and seismic observation network, and well logging. In the afternoon, all the breakout sessions reported to the entire meeting.

    After the workshop, the organizers led two field trips. One group of participants visited the well site SK-2 and the Wudalianchi volcano cluster. SK-2 is an ICDP-funded deep drilling project and is currently drilling to ~5200 m recovering the Cretaceous and part of the Jurassic rock strata (target depth ~ 6400 m). The Wudalianchi volcano cluster represents the youngest volcanoes in China, which erupted from 1719 to 1721. Another group of participants observed core from well site Lincan1 and visited Mt. Changbai Volcano. Lincan 1 is located in the Changbai depression (well depth 4500 m) and is a proposed site for monitoring volcanic and seismic activities in the area. The Mt. Changbai Volcano is one of the largest and most dangerous volcanoes on the globe.

    The workshop was organized by Jilin University of China, Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences, China University of Geosciences at Beijing, and Sino-Probe.

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