Programed oil generation of the Zubair Formation, Southern Iraq oil fields: Results from Petromod software modeling and geochemical analysis

Arabian Journal of Geosciences
By: , and 



1D petroleum system modeling was performed on wells in each of four oil fields in South Iraq, Zubair (well Zb-47), Nahr Umr (well NR-9), West Qurna (well WQ-15 and 23), and Majnoon (well Mj-8). In each of these fields, deposition of the Zubair Formation was followed by continuous burial, reaching maximum temperatures of 100°C (equivalent to 0.70%Ro) at depths of 3,344–3,750 m of well Zb-47 and 3,081.5–3,420 m of well WQ-15, 120°C (equivalent to 0.78%Ro) at depths of 3,353–3,645 m of well NR-9, and 3,391–3,691.5 m of well Mj-8. Generation of petroleum in the Zubair Formation began in the late Tertiary, 10 million years ago. At present day, modeled transformation ratios (TR) indicate that 65% TR of its generation potential has been reached in well Zb-47, 75% TR in well NR-9 and 55-85% TR in West Qurna oil field (wells WQ-15 and WQ-23) and up to 95% TR in well Mj-8, In contrast, younger source rocks are immature to early mature (<20% TR), whereas older source rocks are mature to overmature (100% TR). Comparison of these basin modeling results, in Basrah region, are performed with Kifle oil field in Hilla region of western Euphrates River whereas the Zubair Formation is immature within temperature range of 65–70°C (0.50%Ro equivalent) with up to 12% (TR = 12%) hydrocarbon generation efficiency and hence poor generation could be assessed in this last location. The Zubair Formation was deposited in a deltaic environment and consists of interbedded shales and porous and permeable sandstones. In Basrah region, the shales have total organic carbon of 0.5–7.0 wt%, Tmax 430–470°C and hydrogen indices of up to 466 with S2 = 0.4–9.4 of kerogen type II & III and petroleum potential of 0.4–9.98 of good hydrocarbon generation, which is consistent with 55–95% hydrocarbon efficiency. These generated hydrocarbons had charged (in part) the Cretaceous and Tertiary reservoirs, especially the Zubair Formation itself, in the traps formed by Alpine collision that closed the Tethys Ocean between Arabian and Euracian Plates and developed folds in Mesopotamian Basin 15–10 million years ago. These traps are mainly stratigraphic facies of sandstones with the shale that formed during the deposition of the Zubair Formation in transgression and regression phases within the main structural folds of the Zubair, Nahr Umr, West Qurna and Majnoon Oil fields. Oil biomarkers of the Zubair Formation Reservoirs are showing source affinity with mixed oil from the Upper Jurassic and Lower Cretaceous strata, including Zubair Formation organic matters, based on presentation of GC and GC-MS results on diagrams of global petroleum systems.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Programed oil generation of the Zubair Formation, Southern Iraq oil fields: Results from Petromod software modeling and geochemical analysis
Series title Arabian Journal of Geosciences
DOI 10.1007/s12517-010-0160-z
Volume 4
Issue 7-8
Year Published 2011
Language English; Arabic
Publisher Springer
Description 21 p.
First page 1239
Last page 1259
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