ISSN 0024-4902, Lithology and Mineral Resources, 2008, Vol. 43, No. 5, pp. 488–498. © Pleiades Publishing, Inc., 2008.

Original Russian Text © O.K. Bazhenova, T.K. Bazhenova, 2008, published in Litologiya i Poleznye Iskopaemye, 2008, No. 5, pp. 541–552.

Genesis of Oil: A Fundamental Problem of Geology
(The Current State of the Problem)
O. K. Bazhenova† a and T. K. Bazhenovab
a Faculty of Geology, Moscow State University (MGU), Leninskie gory, MGU, Moscow, 119991 Russia
b All-Russia Research Institute for Oil Exploration (VNIGRI), Liteinyi pr. 39, St. Petersburg, 191114 Russia
Received July 11, 2007

Abstract—The current state of the problem of oil genesis is discussed. The biogenic (sedimentary-migration
theory) of oil genesis is shown to be valid based on the analysis of present-day data on the composition and
properties of oil, the composition and distribution of organic matter (OM) in sedimentary rocks, and numerous
calculations of the balance of oil-and-gas generation at different stages of catagenetic evolution. The confine-
ment of oil and gas fields to sedimentary basins, as well as the relation of oil and/or gas reserves to volumes of
oil-and-gas source rocks, which occur (or occurred) in the generation center, and/or to extremely high potential
of oil source formations also indicate of the relationship between oil-and-gas fields and the “life” of former geo-
logical epochs.
DOI: 10.1134/S0024490208050052

Genesis of oil is the basic problem of geological sci- biogenic OM. An oil field—object of exploration—is
ence, because it is of great practical significance, on the formed only during the migration of OM liquid compo-
one hand, and it lies at the junction of three natural sci- nents. Therefore, the second part of the term (migra-
ences—geology, chemistry, and biology. The problem tion) is a necessary component. According to Vasso-
corresponds to a certain extent to the problem of origin evich, the term “sedimentary-migration” reflects the
of life on the Earth and thus turns out to be the basic relation to both sedimentary process and constraints of
problem of natural science in general. This problem has oil pools.
occupied naturalists for several centuries. Since the According to the modern version of the sedimen-
nascence of knowledge of oil, two hypotheses have tary-migration theory of genesis of oil and gas, the
been proposed to explain its genesis: the organic (bio- majority of hydrocarbons (HC), both liquid and gas-
genic) hypothesis suggests that living matter is oil pro- eous, is generated in the catagenesis zone from the OM
totype, whereas the inorganic (abiogenic) hypothesis of sedimentary rocks during their subsidence under the
suggests that the genesis of oil is related to abiogenic influence of temperature. This is confirmed by both
synthesis in the mantle and subsequent degassing. geochemical and geological data: numerical and exper-
The purpose of this work is not to analyze postulates imental modeling, and geological–geographical (verti-
of the inorganic hypothesis and elucidate discussions cal and lateral) distribution of oil-and-gas fields, their
between supporters of two hypotheses. Moreover, we phase zonation included.
believe that the inorganic hypothesis remained specula-
tive in its modern version as well. The purpose is to
consider the nascence and current state of the organic CASE HISTORY
hypothesis, which has turned into a well-composed the- M.V. Lomonosov is considered the founder of the
ory at present. organic concept of oil genesis. He predicted in 1763 the
N.B. Vassoevich, a prominent geologist of the sec- origin of “brown and black oily matter” from plant
ond half of the 20th century suggested that the concept remains under the influence of the Earth’s heat. In the
of oil generation should be referred to as the sedimen- first half of the 20th century, development of this con-
tary-migration (not organic or biogenic) oil. According cept was related to the names of many Russian and for-
to this theory, oil is generated from biogenic organic eign scientists, such as N.I. Andrusov, A.P. Arkhan-
matter (OM) or kerogen buried in the course of sedi- gel’skii, V.I. Vernadsky, I.M. Gubkin, G.P. Mikhai-
mentation due to thermocatalysis. Since nearly all sed- lovskii, G. Hefer, A. Levorsen, G. Potoniér,
imentary rocks contain buried OM, the first part of the P.D. Trasque, A. Treibs, and S. Englair; since the mid-
term (sedimentary) reflects the genetic relation of oil to 20th century, with the works by I.O. Brod, A.A. Petrov,
V.A. Sokolov, O.A. Radchenko, K.F. Rodionova, and
especially N.B. Vassoevich, V.A. Uspenskii, and their


g.e. Phi. Russian tary basins and precisely these formations ensure the lithologists. Siberian and-gas source (OGS) and/or oil source formation is a Platform. GENESIS OF OIL: A FUNDAMENTAL PROBLEM OF GEOLOGY 489 followers S. Gubkin and N. absence of oil-and-gas potential in the corresponding ral bodies. In general. the Sayan–Yenisei Syneclise.5%. D. brown. on the one Oil-and-gas generation is a complicated network of hand. scale. Tissot. Degens. tika…. This property is Large OM accumulation is accounted for an outburst of determined in almost cases by the contents OM and Fe phytoplankton productivity as the basis for the trophic varieties and their ratio. VNIGNI. Types 1–4 of rocks (and formations) with I.D. region (e. Strakhov and V. An oil. Kholodov. the famous Atabaska River bitumen Gubkin. Vassoevich empha. Louis. IGiRGI. we should identify the con. (3) domanikoids with Corg 0. Hunt.. G. bution pattern of organic-rich stratigraphic levels sug- kites with Corg 5–25% (the upper part of domanikites gests that extraterrestrial (cosmic) factors may also be with Corg > 10% and monolithic sapropelites represent involved in this case. methods of organic geochem. first of all. i.T. and (5) other sedimentary rocks with a prominent foreign scientists.T. Among 0. The global distri- centrated rather than dispersed form of OM)..e. sediment. and the Vendian–Paleozoic sequence of the are generating now under corresponding conditions). claystone. contributed much to the study of genesis of accumulation of oil and gas in the basins. by corresponding lithological–environ- because color is the main external geochemical charac. mental conditions and reduced medium in diagenesis. E. though very small. G.2 to 0. Enrichment of rocks and their formations in OM brownish gray. mentation cycles of different orders. in which oil and gas were generated (and basin. 1998). Their basic indicators were represented by the color of rocks (dark gray.. 43 No. G. and clayey lime. the second case suggests These notions were introduced 70 years ago by clas. N.” One rocks. e. by the pelitic size of geochemical information.. Erdmann. In contrast. The first case indicates the can only observe fixed results imprinted in some natu. (for carbonates) or 0. (inundation) and regression maximum (emersion) are Vassoevich introduced the notion “microoil” (1959) usually depleted in OM. Welte. 5 2008 . Timan–Pechora natural body. At that time. Exceptions to the vertical distribution of OGS forma- OIL SOURCE FORMATION—THE BIRTHPLACE tions mentioned above are represented by some OGS- OF MICROOIL free sedimentary basins (or their large parts). significant ones among them.g. Hedberg. the ubiquitous concentration of OM in the major part of cesses cannot be observed “with the naked eye. a high oil-and-gas potential in a favorable geological sicists in geology. these pro.e. i.M. spond to transgression and regression stages in sedi- ing substance in the history of oil. OGS formations) corre- Developing Vernadsky’s ideas about the role of liv.. whereas forma- sized that the first. B. by purely geological methods. Neruchev. rocks of clay-size particles. portion of oil HC tions corresponding to the transgression maximum is generated as early as in the living substance. marl. Most stratigraphic levels with implying the most reduced part of bituminoids (and organic-rich rocks are developed in a global or regional OM in general). sedimentogenesis and favorable conditions for its stone. Priority among them is shared by Rus. research institutes in Siberia. mentation basin and adjacent areas. Vassoevich. Based the concentration of Corg of alimentation due to both continental (surface runoff) sapropelic or sapropel-rich OM.N. oil and gas. first of all.. which embraced both geological and condition is determined.B. on the other hand.1% (Sistema- G. and by basins (or individual zones therein) with processes of the geological time scale. in which the processes took place. Organic-rich rocks (i. we subdivide the rocks and intrabasin (due to deep influx of elements through into the following types: (1) monolithic sapropelites faults) supply.E. LITHOLOGY AND MINERAL RESOURCES Vol. Bioproductivity outbursts are conditioned by the found in nearly all types of sedimentary rocks (and rock influence of several factors: intensification of mineral formations). 5%.V. the Brykalan depression. and others. i. Such an burial in sediments in the course of diagenesis. Arkhangel’skii and situation. and black) and their lithological requires the high concentration of this material during composition: clay. Chillingar. The last approach. organic-rich horizons are registered from the Archean to Quaternary. teristics of any sedimentary rock.M. appeared to be correct.5– other researchers from VNIGRI. M.e. (2) domani. These rock formations Since the transformation of OM and HC proceeds in with a variable OM concentration usually occupy host rocks and is intimately linked with lithogenesis in approximately 20–30 vol % of the section of sedimen- general.1 or MGU. A. Mezen syneclise).2% (for clay varieties) belong to sian scientists I. OGS rocks (and formations). as well as volcanic activity in the sedi- with Corg > 25% (in this case. Kontorovich and many combustible shales). (4) subdomanikoids with Corg varying from 0. The Early Devonian–initial Carboniferous and carbons and characterized by the maximal capacity for Late Jurassic–initial Cretaceous intervals are the most migrating. which is mainly composed of hydro. we should also mention superdispersed OM form and Corg < 0. deposit (West Canadian basin) and the Upper Devo- istry were barely conceived and objects corresponding nian–Jurassic organic-rich clay–carbonate formations to the notion of oil source formation were distinguished (Rocky Mountains). and others. Dispersed fossilized OM is chain.1% lippi. the Corg concentration exceeding the barrier of 0.G.

macrophyte remains are also registered as nated by aliphatic structures is mainly produced from admixtures in the marine OM.5–53 – – Lignin 62–69 4. kerogen of the second type sapropelites. remains are identified as alginite and pseudovitrinite. Since the sification of kerogen types often used at present is Paleozoic. algoplankton and algobenthos teristic of some types of combustible shales: torbanites. which predominates in some places diagram (Fig. The first type (kerogen with a high hydrogen content pean Platform and Silurian graptolite shales). yellow pyri. densed polyaromatic nuclei and oxygen-bearing groups The Pos value of OM completely depends on the (ester groups are absent).1–2 0. but late Paleozoic. than other types. sapropelites exhibit the greatest oil generation poten.3 19. In general. Different macrophyte remains represent shales. 1977).5 0. phytoplankton) is the basis for the initial Hence. het- plants is referred to as humite–sapropelite and eroatomic groups of ketones. concentration of hydrogen unre- OM of subaquatic sediments.3)—comprises mainly con- composition (Table 1). This assumption was lated to oxygen (with respect to valence) serves as a cri- confirmed later by numerous investigations of coal terion of the HC generation capacity of OM. algogenic taic sequences. T. They are charac- panied by organic-walled zooplankton (graptolites and terized by corresponding curves in the Van Krevelen tentaculites).2–2. and ester bonds are characteristic of the second type. also the highest productivity (compared to other wide. its oxidized varieties are called oxysor. algozoo-. BAZHENOVA Table 1. in general. The ini. Polyaromatic nuclei. Kerogen 3 characterized by content of lipids in initial components.K. oxygen-depleted components of living substance.5–6. based on the ratio of these elements. tered at least since the Early Riphean. the algal and microbial lipids. The OM potential. initial catagenesis. algoplankton in the initial OM was accom. and bacteria) with the participation of higher plant 30%). It should be noted that the genetic characteristics of tial.5 ~30 – – Lipids 72–79 11–13 10–12 – – Oil 82–86 12–14 0. the main OM supplier in them.490 O. zooplank- dinic diatoms) comprises a great amount of lipids (up to ton.K. This kerogen variety is less common the group of humites. (first of all. tial atomic H/C ratio (>1. Algoplankton (blue-green. is these types corresponds only to the Mesocenozoic or characterized not only by the highest lipid content. in turn. Kerogen 2 is formed due to the deposition and accumu- guished. spread bioproducers. 43 No. varies within a narrow range (11–18%) for OM of the leum geology had suggested long ago that plankton. plants was formed mainly from subaerial plant remains. green. The clas- petrographers and micropaleontologists. The third type—kerogens with a low hydrogen con- ids are the closest analogues of oil in terms of elemental tent (H/C < 1. Elemental composition of components in living substance and oil. BAZHENOVA. and low oxygen content) is characterized by a high ini- tial OM also includes algobenthos (brown algae) regis. Lip. and zoosapropelites are also distin.5) and low O/C ratio (<0. In terms of the elemental composition. 5 2008 . but also by their chain molecular structure. (Upper Devonian Domanik Formation in the East Euro. which represent the most hydrogen-enriched and remains delivered to some parts of the basin. “Green River” combustible respectively. such as phytobenthos and terres- sented by their OGS potential that depends on the con.01–5 Note: (–) Absent. resulting in This type is common for continental margins and del- the generation of aliphatic HC. Classicists of petro. tasmanites. This parameter long aliphatic chains inherited from the wax of higher is determined not only by the high hydrogen content.2–0.1). lation of marine organisms (phytoplankton.6 49. organic matter of the Paleozoic and pre-Paleozoic OGS LITHOLOGY AND MINERAL RESOURCES Vol.1–6. 1). Any type of fossil OM can possess gas tent of OM and its quality defined as oil source poten. This substance is charac- In coal petrography.4 Carbohydrates 40–45 6.05–1. carboxyl groups of acids. coorongites. depends on the amount of HC gases generated by different OMs its initial biocoenotic composition. Algo-. The basic property of OGS formations is repre. Hence. Phytoplankton.5–7. OM of subaquatic sed. O/C 0. is characterized by a slightly lower hydrogen content bosapropelites. Kerogen mostly composed of the lipid material domi- nian. Numerical modeling shows that tial of OM (Pos). Since the Devo. and material mixed with OM of higher but higher oxygen content. and others. % Σ(O + N + S) Substance C H O N S Proteins 50–55 6. trial plants). iments represented by algal varieties is called Relative to the first type.5–24 15–19 0. sapropelite–humite (Parparova and Neruchev. generation potential.

(2) boundaries of kerogen fields. % 1 2 3 Fig. 1. Moreover.25 0. (1) Isolines of approximate values of vitrinite reflectance.0 4.0 2. i. formations mostly corresponds to kerogen 2. (3) evolution curves of the main kerogen types (after B.0 R°.5 – CO 2 O –H2 sis ene –C tag H2 Me 0 0.5 1.30 O/C atomic ratio Vitrinite reflectance 0 0.e.20 0.10 0. ated in the catagenesis zone during the burial of sedi- LITHOLOGY AND MINERAL RESOURCES Vol. Tissot and D. 5 2008 .0 III is es en tag Ca 0.05 0. Welte). GENESIS OF OIL: A FUNDAMENTAL PROBLEM OF GEOLOGY 491 2. 43 No.. substage of thermal OM transformation.5 II sis ene iag H/C atomic ratio D 1. most part of the HC is gener- field in the Van Krevelen diagram corresponds to proto. but catagenesis in the Russian interpretation.15 0.0 – H 2O –C – CO 2 H2 I 1. it should be remembered that the diagenesis As indicated earlier. General scheme of kerogen evolution from diagenesis to metagenesis on the Van Krevelen diagram (diagenesis corresponds to protocatagenesis in the Russian scale of catagenesis). the first admixture of higher plant remains is absent in the OM.

% Corg content at the given catagenesis stage). BAZHENOVA Diagenesis zone Generation intensity Diagenetic gas tagenesis Protoca- generation zone CH4 Upper B/D 0. 1969). (R) Vitrinite reflectance in oil. Riley. As geochemical studies devel. (Pos) oil generation potential (HC yield. 1973). a product was that gas generation preceded. It was regional and lithological objects under study widened. Glebovskaya. analytical methods advanced.. (G/Zh) high volatile B/high volatile C.8 Oil Major oil Mesocatagenesis generation zone G/Zh 1. Vassoevich was the first Real HC generation by OM was repeatedly con- scientist to pose the problem of stage-by-stage genera.K. Note: Russian diagenetic zones correspond to the following bituminous zones in the American literature: (B/D) Subbituminous A/high volatile C. Saxby and K. mentary rocks in high-temperature zones. Debitumi- ation phase MGP (Neruchev et al. He also the natural conditions was carried out by Australian determined its temperature and catagenetic parameters. curve” acquired a more and more irregular shape.0 ne éë/í tha Me Lower catagenesis catagenetic or major gas generation zone Apo- Low Pos 0. perature varying from 100 to 400°C over more than ized in the first upper half of the mesocatagenesis (MC) 6 yr. Four years later. Schematic diagram of the vertical zonation of hydrocarbon generation (Vassoevich. insoluble OM) were heated in a steel bomb at the tem- eration phases (Vassoevich. for example. Neruchev distinguished the main gas gener. firmed in experiments carried out. accompanied. BAZHENOVA.7 0. the MGP. 2. % % of OM 2 4 6 8 High Pos Fig.0 R°. indistinguishable from crude paraffin oil. Figure 2 nized and demineralized samples of these rocks (i. 43 No. 1974).F. and com. 1974). demonstrates a generalized scheme of oil-and-gas gen.5 1. V. Shimanskii. whereas the oped.3 Condensate gas generation zone strong 2. V. by tion of oil and gas in the 1960s. 5 2008 ..G.5 2.0 1. (OS/T) low volatile. S.492 O. They used torbanite Later. in its lower half section partlly occupy. researchers I. The MOP is real. Simonenko.5 catagenetic gas generation zone weak 0. and the range of product generated by coal represented a mixture of fat LITHOLOGY AND MINERAL RESOURCES Vol.K. Vassoevich emphasized geothermal gradient. T.. generated from torbanite at 300°C. Experiment most approximating western literature) (Vassoevich et al.e. (Zh/K) high volatile A/medium volatile. This material was pleted oil generation. inite stages of OM catagenesis. and brown coal as oil-and-gas source rocks.A. He distinguished the E. The authors believed that increase in temperature zone. revealed in the course of detailed geochemical studies this concept got complicated and the “oil generation in the 1960–1980s that oil and gas are generated at def.0 as moderate tg Fa OS/T 1. at a rate of 1°C per week corresponded to a constant ing the apocatagenesis zone.K. main oil-generation phase—MOP (“oil window” in the and others in Russia.

right.e. These different coenoses as sources of oil substance. This property is TO UNDERSTANDING ITS GENERATION unique to biological systems. course of catagenesis. oil. for Data presented above indicate that a considerable instance. Moreover.. coals. They are represented by been revealed in oil. Hundreds of biomarkers (chemofossils) have molecular mass of 350–450. hydrocarbons C27–C35 (steranes and triterpanes). conditions of sedimentation and diagenesis. formed the basis for countries for designating chemical compounds encoun. Numerous such graphs have been plotted and pub- tane is also known. Oil comprising up to 3. the degree of kerogen oxidation (it is not observed in alkanes. steranes and (at any studied levels of catagenesis).. the sum of volatile products. rotate the plane of a polarized light beam is determined by the presence of asymmetric carbon atom (chiral cen- ter) in a molecule. the tracing of biomarker evolution in catagenesis. and N).e. sis. Being biological indicators. which is pre- names were suggested by geochemists from different served by molecules-biomarkers. Moreover. pristane. HC and CO2 . i. lished over the past 30 years for many oil-and-gas bons is likely represented by the unsaturated alcohol basins and it is worth noting that regularities are always phytol C20H39OH. but also in OM of rocks. Their struc. Changes tered in oil (and in OM of rocks and coals). first of all. i.. tetracyclic nitrogen-bearing BALANCE OF ORGANIC MATTER organic compounds. Chemofossils rep. becomes more acid in synbitumenoids of the domani- phytane C20H42 (2. which is present in the “chlorophyll similar except for slight variations. tion of bituminoid. sources of oil opticity. i.1-Ga-old Fig Tree Formation (South Africa) degree of bituminization and composition of bitumi- is regarded as a proxy of the oldest rocks. is nat- with a regular bonds of “bricks” of the following struc.5% pris. They degree of bituminization and the “nobler” the composi- are found no only in oil. catagenesis in OGS rocks and Isoprenoid HCs or isoprenoids represent isoalkanes formations. The greatest opticity of oil is established for the lar composition of oil is the key to understanding its fraction formed at 420–550°C. Change in the tail. noids in superdispersed OM varieties correlates with genic OM was identified based on the biomarkers (n. and coalifica- structures with one to five cycles have been established tion.. generation of volatile products. The opticity or capability to 1984). 10. 14-tetramethyl-hexadecan). Treibs as early as 1934. In such atom. 6. the higher the triterpanes are the most significant chemofossils. for HC with the genesis. Moreover. were the first biomarkers identi. The majority of oil vari- The “organic” or sedimentary–migration concept is eties are characterized by a positive rotation sign. The graphs show how oil source kerogen (insoluble OM) is transformed with the loss of hetero- Isoprenoid hydrocarbons of the aliphatic and cyclic elements. as well as ual loss of hydrogen and heteroelements (O. chemical fos. the number of iso.e. lipoid components of initial organisms of paleobio- sils. Pigments widespread AND OIL GENERATION in nature and exhibiting the porphyrin structure. which is accompanied by the significant alteration The group of chemofossils (hydrocarbons or relict of the composition and structure of OM due to a grad- HC) includes normal and isoprenoid alkanes. urally accompanied by their migration. decessors. and products of kerogen ther. in the structure of biomarker molecules (for instance. Steranes and gopanes are basic tion in the superdispersed OM is usually two to four LITHOLOGY AND MINERAL RESOURCES Vol. Porphyrins. The most widespread aliphatic isoprenoids are values and the composition of residual bituminoids pristane C19H40 (2. share of OM is transformed into HC during catagene- cessors of oil porphyrins. developing through a more comprehensive study of the they rotate the plane of a polarized light beam to the oil composition and OM of rocks.” The 3. molysis over the past three decades.3% phytane and up to 2. in which bio.e. because the molecu. TRANSFORMATION IN CATAGENESIS fied by A. molecular fossils. Genetic information about the composition of lipid– resent biological signs. and phytane). are regarded as biological prede. relict substances. i.. The predecessor of these hydrocar. and biomarkers. OM. S. cyclic isoprenoids. kite–domanikoid and subdomanikoid varieties in the isoalkanes with a regular alternation of methyl groups. i. 14-tetramethyl-pentadecan). Figure 3 dem- ture: onstrates catagenetic variations in parameters of sapropelic algogenic OM of different concentration CH3 types for the Paleozoic–pre-Paleozoic of the Siberian – – CH 2 –CH–CH 2 –CH 2 – Platform. 10. biochemical reconstructions of oil generation. all valences are satu- OIL COMPOSITION: THE KEY rated with different atoms or radicals. the degree of bituminiza- and combustible shales. chemofossils allowed us to reconstruct the course of HC generation bear information about the initial source substance of and the “life history” of oil in a hydrocarbon field. 5 2008 . tures are similar to those of biological molecules and transition of biosteranes into geosteranes and so on).e. The degree of bituminization falls to negligible in oil. GENESIS OF OIL: A FUNDAMENTAL PROBLEM OF GEOLOGY 493 gas of carbon dioxide and water (Saxby and Riley. they preserve relicts of the structure of biological pre. other types): the lower the oxygen content in kerogen Polycyclic naphthenes and. 43 No. chlorophyll. 6. and the degree of catagenetic maturity of OM and oil. which carry away a certain part of carbon in the form of prenoid-type bonds found in oil is growing every year.

No. 5 2008 .0 3.2 åC12 2.8 åC4 4.4 1. (2) subdomanikoids. (3) super-dispersed OM varieties.2 åC5 4.4 åC3 3.8 LITHOLOGY AND MINERAL RESOURCES 1 2 3 Vol. T. PS 1.6 åC22 3.6 ÄC1 5. % (volatil CBA Content of product yield) βOM . 3.4 O. BAZHENOVA ÄC2 5. 43 Fig.0 5.8 åC1 2. % gradatio 76 80 84 88 2 4 6 10 14 18 6 10 14 2 6 10 14 4 8 12 Catagenesi Paleodepth. wt % V°.K.K. 494 Elemental composition of insoluble OM. BAZHENOVA.% km C H O ΣO + N + S in CBA. (1) Domanikoids. Catagenetic variations in parameters of the Paleozoic–Mesozoic OM of the Siberian Platform.

24 for mations.85 15.51 64. Slightly more gests the following regularity: although HCs can be than 30% is retained in the algozoogenic sapropelites generated everywhere in sedimentary rocks.94 3. Bituminoids of the superdispersed basins of Russia. % HCG ox. objects of a higher hierarchy of matter algosapropelites and 2.90 6. products. and explain the disappearance of huge masses of vola. color: light brown and yel.16 0. OM.. The amount of be accumulated in the rocks only after a certain level of material spent for the generation of HC is.05 27.34 0.42 2. by the end of the MOP peak. % of volatile res. Balance of catagenetic transformation of different types of OM in the stratisphere and generation of volatile products (% of OM at the beginning of catagenesis in the cumulative form) OM types.92 4.84 9.91 35.42 3. more than 50% of the mass remains as graphite and Processes of generation and emigration of volatile about 20% is transformed into HC (the oil/gas ratio is products are accompanied by appreciable changes in 0.55 of catagenesis) Humite–sapropelites Humites PC3/MC1 2.25 16.18 29. OM concentration and the rocks can be united into for.3 5.74 6. in the case of high OM terms of the initial OM) is very diverse and depends on concentration).55 for algozoosapropelites). in which lipids play an important role. shales also undeniably confirms the sedimentary– One can see that productivity of sapropelites falls in migration concept. the following sequence: algosapropelites–algozo- Table 2 illustrates the results of numerical modeling osapropelites–humites. However.00 98.49 76. The modeling is based grates in all OM types (except humites) by the end of on a great body of analytical material obtained from the MC2 .18 27. In the case of a high share of the leiptinite viscous rocks become brittle.14 21. Figure 4 illustrates well the relationship between tile products generated during these processes. gen- These alterations are accompanied by a great loss of the eration of liquid HC during catagenesis should be con- initial OM mass. the humites. with the cyanophyte base) undergoes a full cycle which they decompose into gaseous and solid products of catagenesis.84 18. respectively (the oil/gas ratio is 2. No abiogenic hypotheses try to siderably higher.40 12.35 30.95 1. Bazhenova and the case of complete transformation of humites.57 93. ox.82 4.84 61.75 52.53 EC (End 18.42 20. 2003). with the tentaculite base). The table suggests the following con- OM are initial rather than residual formations.45 35.51 MC5/AC 18. i.12 53.09 18.25 1. It is also evident that more than of HC generation by several most widespread facies– half of all generated products (liquid HC included) emi- genetic (biocoenotic) OM types.10).16 15.32 16.15 46. after case. they can (in this case.. 3).68 9. i.15 62.84 1.82 26.95 47.38 4.00 2 MC 2 /MC3 29.79 5.73 22. OM. The residual OM masses and emigrated volatile products well-known generation of liquid HC from combustible (oil and HC gases together with acid components).47 69. LITHOLOGY AND MINERAL RESOURCES Vol. component.74 23.06 52.58 19. GENESIS OF OIL: A FUNDAMENTAL PROBLEM OF GEOLOGY 495 Table 2.43 23. % of volatile res. products.54 8.58 96. generation products Algosapropelites Algozoosapropelites Main phases of generation of volatile generation of volatile transformation emigration emigration products. weight is retained as a carbon residue. and jointing is developed.85 47. slightly Bazhenova.82 34.85 23.52 23.83 3. % HCG oil HCG % oil oil HCG % oil prod. 50 and 40%. 43 No.89 25.82 37.85 47.35 65.49 MC5/AC 35. It should be noted that the class of humites (in properties of rocks (especially. detailed studies of all OM components from different centration (Fig.43 2 MC 2 /MC3 15.e.54 0.e.46 94.82 64.42 17. In organization (Bazhenova.20 11. PC3/MC1 5.744 52. the types of components of higher plants contained in low colors gradually give way to dark brown and black. prod.94 1. products.83 4. They are clusions: if OM from algogenic sapropelites (in this preserved in situ right up to deep apocatagenesis. 5 2008 .05 EC (End 35.26 of catagenesis) times higher as compared with other types of OM con. first of all. This fact sug. slightly more than 25% of its initial under the Influence of high temperatures. 1992.94 6. quantitative aspects of this explain such OM transformation in sedimentary rocks problem are poorly studied.05 38.93 73.71 1.

(1) Residual OM. BAZHENOVA Algosa. 43 No. In the Timan–Pechora OGB (East European Plat- its are mainly represented by gas and condensate gas form). (2) emigrated volatile products. The results of numerical modeling correlate well OM. BAZHENOVA. This is related to a high degree of catagenetic Parameters of the dynamics of HC generation and transformation of OM of oil source formations in the emigration. first of all. 2000).K. Ven- Rock-Eval pyrolysis method (Bazhenova and Gem. 5 2008 . Balance of emigrated volatile products and residual OM during the catagenesis of OM of different types. in its Vilyui part with the humus-rich represented by the Upper Devonian Domanik Forma- LITHOLOGY AND MINERAL RESOURCES Vol.496 O. 2002) model calculations correlate with the distribution of oil- and-gas pools and their phase composition. T. Algozoo.K. OM serve as oil source rocks for the already discovered pools. oil/gas ratio. The depos. dian. hydrocarbon pools are mainly composed of oil pools in the Siberian Platform in the late Paleozoic– in the platform part. all pools are based on oil and they are with the pyrolytic (thermal) determinations of the total almost always characterized by multiphase composi- residual HC potential widely used at present by the tion in the Lena–Tunguska OGB. and Cambrian formations with the algosapropelic bitskaya. In contrast. Humites- propelites sapropelites sapropelites Humites 100 95 90 85 80 75 70 65 60 55 50 45 40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 PC3/MC1 MC22/MC3 MC/AC EC PC3/MC1 MC22/MC3 MC/AC EC PC3/MC1 MC22/MC3 MC/AC EC PC3/MC1 MC22/MC3 MC/AC EC 1 2 Fig. except for the northern part of the Mesozoic Khatanga–Vilyui marginal oil-and-gas basin Pechora–Kolva aulacogen. 4. where Riphean. The main source of HC is (OGB). and others obtained in the feeder troughs (Geologiya….

and preser. we should resource category. which reserves (Vysotskii. such as i. and does not form gas caps. and occurrence resources. In Russia. only more widely. nearly 65% of the formed under the influence of the Earth’s heat. exploration. Assessment of the US Geological The world oil production varies little in the past 10– Survey is substantially lower (132 Gt). and oth- nated by gas and condensate gas pools due to the high ers represent the largest concentrations of oil-and-gas degree of OM catagenesis in Silurian and Devonian oil resources in the World. and others). current oil reserves this valuable energy resource. and West generation in the adjacent basin. 5 2008 . In order to save this and geological indications. Genetic share falling on oil. Since population of the planet is growing. mode govern the generation. 25 yr. GENESIS OF OIL: A FUNDAMENTAL PROBLEM OF GEOLOGY 497 tion (with the algozoogenic OM). To date. oil pools.. but World. incor- gas generation). the share of oil and gas relation of oil to living substance is undoubtedly evi- is higher (80%). The largest Ghavar oil field with proven Initiation of intense HC generation in OGS rocks needs reserves exceeding 10 Gt is located in Saudi Arabia. that the rocks should occur in the oil generation center. Bova- stable and prolonged subsidence of the Earth’s crust.2–3. Presence 40 yr.5 Gt. they should submerge to a depth of no less than the Great Burgan. LITHOLOGY AND MINERAL RESOURCES Vol. as distribution in the World is likely to hold in the first well as opticity characteristic only of biogenic systems. the largest OGB in Russia. accumulation. the of oil in them is substantiated by several geophysical demand for oil will also grow. Commercial oil and abyssal parts of basins. A significant part of oil and gas is recovered from vation of commercial oil-and-gas reserves in them. 486 Gt (412 Gt. the share of oil and gas makes up 61–63% sequences of former geological epochs and trans- in the World fuel and energy balance. reserves in the fields make up 142–160 Gt (as of 2003). averaging 3. Yamburg. Inherited nature of the evolution source formations. The total number of sedimentary basins known on Oil-and-gas reserves have already been established in continents and in oceans is 511. Iraq. of this basin promoted the accumulation of very thick sediments. Therefore.e. 43 No. Unique oil fields (with reserves exceeding 300 Mt) account for 38% of the initial explored Oil is a biosphere transformation product. which yields little three decades of the 21st century. a series of new fields can be discovered proven reserves will be sufficient for slightly more than both in already known OGBs and in new ones. The OGB is understood as an area of porates several giant fields (Urengoi. Rumeila. on the other hand. The Persian Gulf and adjacent territo- fields are formed here. gas-rich Canadian basins. and recovery of oil and gas in abyssal parts According to the assessments made by the VNI. They make up nonrenewable energy resources. 43 000 oil fields have been discovered in CONCLUSIONS the World. make up 178. nenkovo. initial explored oil depth of 2200 m. Since not more than 50% of oil can handle it with care and use alternative energy sources be recovered at the current technological level. duction wells in the Gulf of Mexico are installed at a According to different data. The basin is characterized by the abundance All known oil fields are confined to sedimentary of salt-bearing deposits that favor the preservation of basins that represent major lenses of sedimentary rocks. Moreover. according to the US Geological Sur- vey). At such a production rate. West Siberian. importance gas. The 1. Such a mode of energy source of biomarkers in both oil and HC extracts of rocks. SEDIMENTARY BASINS: Large hydrocarbon accumulations are related to Meso- HOMELAND OF OIL zoic rocks. and gas occupied the first place at the denced by its composition and properties: the presence terminal 20th century. Devonian and Silurian OGS sedimentary cover. The fields occur everywhere in the formations (with the sapropelic OM) disappear. and ice conditions will provoke a further price hike of IZarubezhgeologiya Association. The Urals Foredeep is domi. In future. The largest reserves are and mixed OM of catagenetic stage provided the HC located in the Mexican Bay. Pro- pools (Vysotskii. basins confined to the World Ocean. In Russia. the share of these mineral resources is constantly growing. In the northwestern part of Oil fields are irregularly located within the Earth’s the Timan–Pechora OGB. For instance. According to different formed and accumulated in seas and sedimentary assessments. 2003). There is no doubt that prospecting. Most field was discovered on the continental slope of Brazil basins (285 or 56%) are promising for hydrocarbon at a depth of 430–2500 m in the Atlantic Ocean. structure. on the one hand. Rock sequences with a very high oil and gas potential are known at different stratigraphic levels. Iran. Agajari. Kuwait. the giant Marlin (or) gas pools are known in 226 basins (44%). and others. This oil belongs to the unique raw material for the new generation. and they are selectively con- Permian formations appear and they contain the humic centrated. Qatar.5–2 km (even greater depths are necessary for intense West Siberian basin. The region also includes other supergiant fields. Its composition. The basin ranks first which fosters the formation of a thick sedimentary in the World with respect to natural gas reserves and sequence. 1995).3 Gt. We should not forget that oil and gas are recoverable resources are of interest. ries of Saudi Arabia. Medvezhye. Gas generated here completely dissolves in its oil of natural gas will increase further.

pp.. Parparova. Theory of Sedimentary-Migration Oil burg: Nedra. Nauchno-Issled. V. (Based on Digital Modeling). Akad. the vol. Ser. Mal- tions in sedimentary basins and numerous calculations ich.K.D. Rocks of Petroliferous Basins in Russia and the CIS). Evolution of Petroleum Generation and in a Subsiding Basin. Petersburg: gov (Systematization and Classification of Sedimentary Vses. and Bazhenova. in Geokhimicheskoe modeliro.Vassoevicha) (Geology and Geochemistry of esis of Oil. Petersburg: Vseross. Mosk.I. Geologiya i poleznye iskopaemye Rossii (Geology and Min- logical epochs.... T...W. 43 No.N.A. 2. Vasso. 45–52. 44–52. evich). which were Neruchev. Lopatin. and solid bitu. and Kapchenko. Brod and N.. Korchagina. LITHOLOGY AND MINERAL RESOURCES Vol. St. Ob”yasni- Bazhenova. Ed.K. Moscow: GEOS. pp. in Issledovaniya VNIGRI v during Catagenesis and Petroleum Generation. 1969. Main Phase of Oil Formation.M. Geofiz. How Much Oil is There in the World?. G. Petersburg: Vses. Geol. N. Karta neftegazonosnosti mira.. indicates its relation to the life activity of former geo.. gas. and their oil potential also 2000. Zarubezhgeologiya. and Riley.. Nauka. Ser. N. 1977. N. L. T.. BAZHENOVA Confinement of oil and/or gas to sedimentary basins. and Geochemistry at Different Levels of Material Organization Chernyshev. Geol.. Theoretical Generalization and Methodic Decisions in Petroleum Geology). pp. N. goryuchikh iskopaemykh (k 100-letiyu so dnya rozhdeniya Vassoevich. 48–58. 1959. pp. Balance of Organic Matter Transformation Vassoevich. Peters- burg: Nedra. pp. vol. S.I. Yu.. N. 2004. neftyanoi geologii (New Ideas. Evolution of Dispersed Sapropelic Vegetable Organic Mat- tary cover can ensure reserves of oil. K.) Dissertation.V. 2002.K.. Geol.K. no. Rocks and Their Analogs). Geofiz.. T. 43–46. 5 2008 . Bazhenova. Razved. 10. and Gembitskaya.. Vest. 2003..K.. oblasti neftyanoi geologii (Studies of Oil Geology in VNI- teoreticheskie obobshcheniya i metodicheskie resheniya v GRI).B.. Geol. 1967. pp. 177–179.O.S. Ed. BAZHENOVA. Petroleum Generation by Labo- ratory-Scale Pyrolysis over Six Years Simulating Conditions Bazhenova. Geol.498 O. 1984. pp. O.I. vanie i materinskie porody neftegazonosnykh basseinov Vysotskii. Moscow: Vses... Geol.. V. Izv. Vysotskii. 1995.. Nauchno-Issled. ume of OGS formations. allow us to affirm Phase of Petroleum Generation as a Stage of Catagenetic that the scale of HC generation in the Earth’s sedimen. Fundamentals of the Genetic Classification of Dispersed Organic Matter in Rocks. 1973.V. Bazhenova. Inst. Nature.. 11.O. 4.-Miner. Rossii i stran SNG (Geochemical Modeling and Source Energ. 1986. Vol. Leningrad: Gostoptekhizdat. and Neruchev. Geochemistry of Organic Matter and Gen- I. Inst. T. St. 6. T. in Izbrannye trudy (Selected Works). no. L. Moscow: Fossil Fuels (To the Centenary of I. relationship between oil and/or gas reserves. pp. Razved. 3: Eastern Siberia. General Trends of tel’naya zapiska (Map of Petroleum Potential of the World: Hydrocarbon Generation by Various Types of Organic Matter Explanatory Note).. 23–28. Genesis (Historical Review and Current State). Inst. Inst. Univ. ter. 308. DSc (Geol.B. pp. 14–17. Mir. Politika. Petroleum Accumulation during Paleozoic and Pre-Paleo- zoic Times in the Siberian Craton and Forecast of Petroleum Sistematika i klassifikatsiya osadochnykh porod i ikh analo- Potential. V..A. Geol. no. Main carried out for different OM types.. St.. V. Rogozina. in Geologiya i geokhimiya Gos. J. and in Knowledge System.. 1992. 135–156.G. in Novye idei. E. Studies of the scale of OM accumula. St. 3–27. no. 1998. N.K.Broda i N. 131–162. 5. Nauk SSSR.K. Ontological and Gnoseological Aspects of Organic Geochemistry (Organic Vassoevich. REFERENCES Saxby.B. men for a long period. St. eral Resources of Russia).B.G.B. pp. Shvanov.N. Nauchno-Issled. Microoil.B. S. Vassoevich. of the budget of oil-and-gas generation. 2003. no.. Peters.