Seventy-four crude oil samples from the Barrow arch on the North Slope of Alaska were studied to assess the relative volumetric contributions from different source rocks to the giant Prudhoe Bay Field. We applied alternating least squares to concentration data (ALS-C) for 46 biomarkers in the range C19-C35 to de-convolute mixtures of oil generated from carbonate rich Triassic Shublik Formation and clay rich Jurassic Kingak Shale and Cretaceous Hue Shale-gamma ray zone (Hue-GRZ) source rocks. ALS-C results for 23 oil samples from the prolific Ivishak Formation reservoir of the Prudhoe Bay Field indicate approximately equal contributions from Shublik Formation and Hue-GRZ source rocks (37% each), less from the Kingak Shale (26%), and little or no contribution from other source rocks. These results differ from published interpretations that most oil in the Prudhoe Bay Field originated from the Shublik Formation source rock. With few exceptions, the relative contribution of oil from the Shublik Formation decreases, while that from the Hue-GRZ increases in reservoirs along the Barrow arch from Point Barrow in the northwest to Point Thomson in the southeast (???250 miles or 400 km). The Shublik contribution also decreases to a lesser degree between fault blocks within the Ivishak pool from west to east across the Prudhoe Bay Field. ALS-C provides a robust means to calculate the relative amounts of two or more oil types in a mixture. Furthermore, ALS-C does not require that pure end member oils be identified prior to analysis or that laboratory mixtures of these oils be prepared to evaluate mixing. ALS-C of biomarkers reliably de-convolutes mixtures because the concentrations of compounds in mixtures vary as linear functions of the amount of each oil type. ALS of biomarker ratios (ALS-R) cannot be used to de-convolute mixtures because compound ratios vary as nonlinear functions of the amount of each oil type.
Additional publication details
De-convoluting mixed crude oil in Prudhoe Bay Field, North Slope, Alaska