BEST WESTERN PREMIER Tuushin Hotel, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
BRIEF INTRODUCTION TO OIL SHALE BASINS IN MONGOLIA
Based on results of geological surveys during several decades, 13 different oil shale basins have been identified, differing from each other for their geographic locations and geological formations.
Oil shale deposits and basins are primarily located in large Mesozoic depressions along with oil, natural bitumen and coal beds. These depressions usually occupy several thousand square kilometers of territories. Some of the largest oil shale basins of Mongolia are Saikhan Ovoo, Gobi-Altai, Ugii Lake, Nyalga. Choir, Dornogobi, Choibalsan and Tamsag basins. These basins were originated from ancient deep continental lakes with abundant water where organic substances, sources of present day carbon-hydrate fossil fuel were accumulated in abundance.
GREAT LAKES DEPRESSION OIL SHALE BASIN
This basin is located in along the southern edge of Western Mongolian Great Lakes Depression. This is a 500 kms long, 30 kms wide bed stretching from the west to the east. The basin is composed of oil shale formed in sedimentary rock from Early Cretaceous age. There has not much exploration in this basin and oil shale quality and prospect is not very clear. Two separate oil shale occurrences in western half of the basin have been identified.
GOBI-ALTAI OIL SHALE BASIN
This basin is situated within Mesozoic period Gobi-Altai depression in along Mongol Altai and Gobi-Altai ranges, to the south of above Great Lakes Depression. The basin is composed of two sub basins; Gobi-Altai and Ikh Bogd. The greater Gobi-Altai basin is 250 kms long from the west to the east and reaches 60 kms in width. Within Gobi-Altai basin 4-5 separate deposits or occurrences have been identified.
ONGIIN RIVER OIL SHALE BASIN
Ongiin River basin is located along the Ongiin river and Saikhan Ovoo depression in Middle Gobi region to the east of Gobi Altai basin. The basin stretches from south west to east for 180 kms and 60 kms wide. In the north western part of Ongiin river basin oil shale formations have been identified.
TUGRUG OIL SHALE BASIN
Tugrug Oil Shale basin is located to the south of Ongiin River basin and general geological formations are similar stretching in the same direction, with 170 kms length and 50 kms width. In Tugrug basin andkhudag formation sedimentary rock is distributed. Several oil shale occur aces have been found but detailed exploration has not been carried out.
SOUTH GOBI OIL SHALE BASIN
South Gobi Oil Shale Basin occupies a large territory of western and northern part of vast South Gobi (Umnugovi) province, with its southern part stretching into the territory of China. The basin stretches from the west to the east for 300 kms and is considered one of the largest oil shale basins in the country. Early Cretaceous age sedimentary rock is distributed in abundance in this basin and oil shale contained in the sedimentary rock is considered to be of high quality. Detailed geological explorations are needed to identify mining prospects.
MIDDLE GOBI OIL SHALE BASIN
This basin almost occupies the whole territory of Middle Gobi (Dundgovi) province and is composed numerous depressions and sub basins with a territory of 260 kms x 150 kms. Early Cretaceous age sedimentary rock is distributed in abundance in Middle Gobi basin. A number of oil shale deposits and occurrence have been identified in its Western, Northern and Undur shil sub basins. Oil shale of this basin was explored during the socialist era and quality research was carried out more than any other basins. Oil content of some oil shale deposits here is regarded to be very high.
UGII NUUR LAKE OIL SHALE BASIN
This basin is located in Ugii Nuur Lake depression in the territories of Uvurkhangai and Arkhangai provinces. Total area of the basin is 100 kms x 15 kms. Zuunbayan group oil shale bearing sedimentary rock is found here and Mongolia’s first explored oil shale deposit Hugshin gol deposit is located in this basin.
UVRUJARGALANT OIL SHALE BASIN
This basin is located in Uvur jargalant depression in south part of Tuv province occupying 1,575 square km of area. Uvurjargalant is first ever found oil shale basin in Mongolia. American geologist D. Tenner first found bitumen bearing oil shale in 1931. Two separate Early Cretaceous age sedimentary rock occurrences have been identified.
NYALGA OIL SHALE BASIN
Nyalga oil shale basin is one of the largest and richest oil shale basins of Mongolia occupying several depressions in Northern Gobi, Nyalga and Choir in the territories of Middle Gobi (Dundgovi), Tuv and Dornogovi provinces. Nyalga basin lies 300 kms long from south west to north east and over 200 kms from north west to south east. Nyalga basin is divided into five sub basins: Ulaan khooloin gobi sub basin, Deren sub basin, Avdrant sub basin, Nyalga and Choir sub basins. This basin has been explored the best. Throughout greater Nyalga basin Early Cretaceous age sedimentary rock is distributed in abundance. Around 10 different deposits and occurrences have been found and oil shale beds are verified to be very thick. Oil content of shale is high in some deposits such as Bayan-Erkhet, Bayanjargalan and Tugrug.
CHOIBALSAN OIL SHALE BASIN
Choibalsan oil shale basin is located in Dornod province, occupying Choibalsan and Khar nuur lake depressions, stretching from south west to the east. The basin area is 350 kms x 70 kms. Zuunbayan group Early Cretaceous age sedimentary rock oil shale bed is found. Some exploration work has been carried out and several occurrences have been found.
TAMSAG OIL SHALE BASIN
The basin is 390 kms long and 100 kms wide and occupies Tamsag depression on the whole. Zuunbayan group Early Cretaceous age sedimentary rock is distributed in Tamsag basin and Suman undur oil shale occurrence was found in south western corner and oil content is considered to be high.
EAST GOBI (DORNOGOVI) OIL SHALE BASIN
This is the largest oil shale basin of Mongolia, stretching 370 kms from south west to north east and width in the center reaches 250 kms. Numerous depressions and sub basins have been identified including Zuunbayan, Unegt and Shalich. All across East Gobi basin Zuunbayan group Early Cretaceous age sedimentary rock is found. Oil exploration has been actively carried out in this basin and many thick oil shale beds were found during oil exploration drilling.
SUKHBAATAR OIL SHALE BASIN
Sukhbaatar oil shale basin stretches 320 kms long from south west to north east with 90 kms width in Sukhbaatar province in south eastern Mongolia. Several depressions including Ulziit, Bulgan and Gashuun nuur have been identified in this basin and Early Cretaceous age oil shale bearing sedimentary rock.
Except from these oil shale basins, following several independent oil shale occurrences have been identified in central and eastern Mongolia.
MONGOLIAN OIL SHALE RESERVE MAP