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North Slope, Alaska: Source rock distribution, richness, thermal maturity, and petroleum charge

American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin

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DOI: 10.1306/09210505095

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Abstract

Four key marine petroleum source rock units were identified, characterized, and mapped in the subsurface to better understand the origin and distribution of petroleum on the North Slope of Alaska. These marine source rocks, from oldest to youngest, include four intervals: (1) Middle-Upper Triassic Shublik Formation, (2) basal condensed section in the Jurassic-Lower Cretaceous Kingak Shale, (3) Cretaceous pebble shale unit, and (4) Cretaceous Hue Shale. Well logs for more than 60 wells and total organic carbon (TOC) and Rock-Eval pyrolysis analyses for 1183 samples in 125 well penetrations of the source rocks were used to map the present-day thickness of each source rock and the quantity (TOC), quality (hydrogen index), and thermal maturity (Tmax) of the organic matter. Based on assumptions related to carbon mass balance and regional distributions of TOC, the present-day source rock quantity and quality maps were used to determine the extent of fractional conversion of the kerogen to petroleum and to map the original TOC (TOCo) and the original hydrogen index (HIo) prior to thermal maturation. The quantity and quality of oil-prone organic matter in Shublik Formation source rock generally exceeded that of the other units prior to thermal maturation (commonly TOCo > 4 wt.% and HIo > 600 mg hydrocarbon/g TOC), although all are likely sources for at least some petroleum on the North Slope. We used Rock-Eval and hydrous pyrolysis methods to calculate expulsion factors and petroleum charge for each of the four source rocks in the study area. Without attempting to identify the correct methods, we conclude that calculations based on Rock-Eval pyrolysis overestimate expulsion factors and petroleum charge because low pressure and rapid removal of thermally cracked products by the carrier gas retards cross-linking and pyrobitumen formation that is otherwise favored by natural burial maturation. Expulsion factors and petroleum charge based on hydrous pyrolysis may also be high compared to nature for a similar reason. Copyright ?? 2006. The American Association of Petroleum Geologists. All rights reserved.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
North Slope, Alaska: Source rock distribution, richness, thermal maturity, and petroleum charge
Series title:
American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin
DOI:
10.1306/09210505095
Volume
90
Issue:
2
Year Published:
2006
Language:
English
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin
First page:
261
Last page:
292