Role of water in hydrocarbon generation from Type-I kerogen in Mahogany oil shale of the Green River Formation

Organic Geochemistry
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Abstract

Hydrous and anhydrous closed-system pyrolysis experiments were conducted on a sample of Mahogany oil shale (Eocene Green River Formation) containing Type-I kerogen to determine whether the role of water had the same effect on petroleum generation as reported for Type-II kerogen in the Woodford Shale. The experiments were conducted at 330 and 350??C for 72h to determine the effects of water during kerogen decomposition to polar-rich bitumen and subsequent bitumen decomposition to hydrocarbon-rich oil. The results showed that the role of water was more significant in bitumen decomposition to oil at 350??C than in kerogen decomposition to bitumen at 330??C. At 350??C, the hydrous experiment generated 29% more total hydrocarbon product and 33% more C15+ hydrocarbons than the anhydrous experiment. This is attributed to water dissolved in the bitumen serving as a source of hydrogen to enhance thermal cracking and facilitate the expulsion of immiscible oil. In the absence of water, cross linking is enhanced in the confines of the rock, resulting in formation of pyrobitumen and molecular hydrogen. These differences are also reflected in the color and texture of the recovered rock. Despite confining liquid-water pressure being 7-9 times greater in the hydrous experiments than the confining vapor pressure in the anhydrous experiments, recovered rock from the former had a lighter color and expansion fractures parallel to the bedding fabric of the rock. The absence of these open tensile fractures in the recovered rock from the anhydrous experiments indicates that water promotes net-volume increase reactions like thermal cracking over net-volume decrease reactions like cross linking, which results in pyrobitumen. The results indicate the role of water in hydrocarbon and petroleum formation from Type-I kerogen is significant, as reported for Type-II kerogen. ?? 2010.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Role of water in hydrocarbon generation from Type-I kerogen in Mahogany oil shale of the Green River Formation
Series title Organic Geochemistry
DOI 10.1016/j.orggeochem.2010.10.004
Volume 42
Issue 1
Year Published 2011
Language English
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Organic Geochemistry
First page 31
Last page 41
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