Mapping the petroleum system - An investigative technique to explore the hydrocarbon fluid system

AAPG Memoir



  • The Publications Warehouse does not have links to digital versions of this publication at this time
  • Download citation as: RIS | Dublin Core


Creating a petroleum system map includes a series of logical steps that require specific information to explain the origin in time and space of discovered hydrocarbon occurrences. If used creatively, this map provides a basis on which to develop complementary plays and prospects. The logical steps include the characterization of a petroleum system (that is, to identify, map, and name the hydrocarbon fluid system) and the summary of these results on a folio sheet. A petroleum system map is based on the understanding that there are several levels of certainty from "guessing" to "knowing" that specific oil and gas accumulations emanated from a particular pod of active source rock. Levels of certainty start with the close geographic proximity of two or more accumulations, continues with the close stratigraphic proximity, followed by the similarities in bulk properties, and then detailed geochemical properties. The highest level of certainty includes the positive geochemical correlation of the hydrocarbon fluid in the accumulations to the extract of the active source rock. A petroleum system map is created when the following logic is implemented. Implementation starts when the oil and gas accumulations of a petroleum province are grouped stratigraphically and geographically. Bulk and geochemical properties are used to further refine the groups through the determination of genetically related oil and gas types. To this basic map, surface seeps and well shows are added. Similarly, the active source rock responsible for these hydrocarbon occurrences are mapped to further define the extent of the system. A folio sheet constructed for a hypothetical case study of the Deer-Boar(.) petroleum system illustrates this methodology.

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Mapping the petroleum system - An investigative technique to explore the hydrocarbon fluid system
Series title:
AAPG Memoir
Year Published:
Larger Work Type:
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
AAPG Memoir
First page:
Last page: