RECENT APPLICATIONS OF THE MODERN THEORY OF ABIOGENIC HYDROCARBON ORIGINS: DRILLING & DEVELOPMENT OF OIL & GAS FIELDS IN THE DNIEPER

-DONETS BASIN
V. A. Krayushkin, T. I. Tchebanenko, V. P. Klochko, Ye. S. Dvoryanin (all at: Institute of Geological Sciences, Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Kiev); J. F. Kenney (Institute of Earth Physics, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, C.I.S. & Gas Resources Corporation, Houston, TX 77098, U.S.A) Abstract: Here are reported certain specific observations of properties of the Earth's crust which were conducted by drilling and which are not only of profound scientific significance but also of direct economic value to the nation which supported the project. The scientific results reported here fall into two categories: (1), the discoveries of large deposits of commercially producible petroleum in geological environments which would be considered extraordinary (at least in the U.S.A.); and (2), the analyses of the chemical, bacteriology and paleontology investigations of that oil for determination of its origin. Of greater scientific importance than the content of the specific observations or laboratory tests is the context of the body of scientific knowledge through the perspective of which this extensive project was initiated and carried out. This project has been carried out from its inception in explicit recognition of the modern Russian theory of abyssal, abiotic hydrocarbon origins. Although the modern Russian theory of abiogenic hydrocarbon origins is mostly unknown in the U.S.A., there is not space in this short article to describe it. Thus it must suffice to state simply that the modern

theory of hydrocarbon origins recognizes that petroleum is a primordial material erupted from great depth. Here is described a recent exploration project on the flanks of the Dnieper-Donets Basin which has been conducted in explicit recognition of the modern theory. This specific project has been chosen from many others because it is a "pure" modern project: the geological area explored is one which had been extensively studied in the past and had been previously condemned (according to the perspective of an hypothesis of a biological origin for petroleum) as possessing no potential for petroleum production; the exploration techniques applied, from the initial work-up, through the well planning, to the production tests have been carried out in ways peculiar to such for abiogenic hydrocarbons in crystalline environments; and the scientific tests upon the petroleum produced were specifically designed to test the assumption that the oil and gas originated at great depth in the Earth. The Dnieper-Donets Basin runs in a NW-SE direction between 30.6°E-40.5°E; its northern and southern borders are traced from 50.0°N-51.8°N and 47.8°N-50.0°N, respectively. For the first 45 year period of the geological study of the Northern Monoclinal Flank of the DnieperDonets Basin, its sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous rock had been condemned as possessing no potential for petroleum production for reasons of the complete absence of any "source rock" (so-called) and the presence of active, strongly-circulating artesian waters. Recently the area was reexamined according to the perspective of the modern theory of abyssal, abiotic hydrocarbon origins. Because the modern theory of hydrocarbon origins recognizes hydrocarbons as primordial material erupted from great depth, the exploration process began with a detailed analysis of the tectonic history and geological structure of the crystalline basement of the Northern Monoclinal Flank of the Dnieper-Donets Basin. The

exploration and drilling project which followed resulted in the discovery and development of 12 fields with oil reserves equal to 219 million metric tons of oil equivalent, the major part of which is produced from the Precambrian crystalline basement. These petroleum fields have been discovered in a narrow strip approximately 30-35 km wide and 400 km long near the Northern Marginal Deep Fault where the oil and gas bearing rocks are Middle and Lower Carboniferous period sandstones and Precambrian granites, amphibolites, and schists of the crystalline basement complex. This exploration project generated also the discovery of a new gas producing area within a region 30 km wide and 100 km long near Khark for which the producible gas in place has been calculated to be 100 billion cubic meters. Of a total number of 61 wells drilled, 37 produce commercial quantities of oil or gas, an exploration success rate of 55%. The initial flows from the productive wells varied between 40-350 metric tons per day of oil and 100,000-1,600,000 cubic meters of gas per day. The specific gravity of the oil from the upper sedimentary levels ranges between 25°-48°API, that from the Precambrian crystalline basement rock between 28°-48°API. The sulfur content of the oil is uniformly less than 0.3%. The gas from the Precambrian crystalline basement contains also condensates. The specific formations and depths from which petroleum has been discovered and is now being produced are as follow: 1.) Production from the upper sedimentary levels: The oil and gas bearing reservoir rocks in the upper sedimentary levels are Middle and Lower Carboniferous period sandstones. The oil wells which produce from the Carboniferous period sandstones have reservoir depths at the following levels: 3133-3172 m; 3200-3212 m; 35303543 m; and 3666-3688 m. The gas wells which produce from the Carboniferous period sandstones have reservoir depths: 1738-1754 m; 1802-1835 m; 2034-2063 m; 2813-2854 m; 2905-2994 m; 2910-2943 m; 29873526 m; 2990-3176 m; 3080-3339 m; 3089-3135 m; 3425-3603 m; 3439-3442 m; 3450-3469 m; 3472-3500 m; 3506-3528 m; 3530-3543 m; 3638-3724 m; 3824-3845 m;

3874-3933 m; 3962-4002 m; 4463 m; and 4500-4505 m.

4007-4100 m;

4423-

2.) Production from the Precambrian crystalline basement: In addition to these reservoirs in the sedimentary rock, above, the exploration drilling has discovered five reservoirs in the Precambrian crystalline basement rock complex at depths ranging from several meters to 200 meters below the top of the crystalline basement. From such traditionally unusual reservoir rock, oil and gas wells produce from the following levels: 31353151 m; 3164-3172 m; 3167-3173 m; 3192-3196 m; 3200-3280 m; 3213-3235 m; 3240-3260 m; 3244-3272 m, 3432-3498 m; 3468-3480 m; 3501-3520 m; 35163529 m; 3521-3531 m; 3547-3550 m; 3552-3570 m; 3590-3612 m; 3610-3625 m; 3618-3687 m; 36363735 m; 3685-3695 m; 3735-3800 m; and 4020-4041 m. The trapping strata for the reservoirs in the Carboniferous period sandstones are shallower shale formations, as is typical for sedimentary reservoirs. The trapping strata for the reservoirs in the Precambrian crystalline basement are impervious, non-fractured, essentially horizontal zones of crystalline rock which alternate with the fractured, uncompacted, bed-like zones of granite and amphibolite. Following the discovery of these petroleum reservoirs, a series of quite different scientific investigations have been carried out to test the initial assumptions that the oil and gas have entered the reservoir formations from great depth. Those laboratory analyses are described here briefly. 1.) Analysis and correlations of trace element abundances in oil: The oil produced from all reservoirs and depths have been analyzed for correlations of their trace metallic elements. For example the ratios of Ni/V and of either Methane or Nitrogen have been measured. The abundances of the trace metals show a clear correlation and have thereby established that the oil at all levels share a common, deep source, characterized by diffusive

separation, regardless of the age, type or circumstance of the particular reservoir rocks. 2.) Paleontology analyses of the oil, - and its significance: The Paleontology analyses of the oil in the shallower Permian and Upper and Lower Carboniferous sandstone formations have demonstrated the presence of spore-pollen and other microphytofossils of the Devonian and Proterozoic ages, establishing thereby upward migration from the deeper formations, which migration is not necessarily correlated to the age of either. The paleontology analyses of the oil from these wells has been performed by laboratories in Lvov, Minsk and Moscow. The proterozoic microphytofossils examined included the following: Protoleiospheridium conglutinatum Tim., Zonoleiospheridium larum Med., Leiominuscula rugosa Naum., Margominuscula rugosa Medw., Protoarchaeosacculina stava. Naum., Leiopsophosphaera giganteus Schep., Asperatopsophosphaera magna Schep., Strictosphaeridium implexum Tim., Gloecapsomorpha hebeja Tim., Turuchanica alara Rud., Pulvinomorpha angulata Tim. The observations from all laboratories have been that the proportion of proterozoic microphytofossils is usually equal to 70%-75% of the total spore pollen abundance in oil from every formation and reservoir, irrespective of the reservoir rock, its depth or its age. 3.) Bacteriological analysis of the oil and the examination for so-called “biological marker” molecules: The oil produced from the reservoirs in the crystalline basement rock of the Dnieper-Donets Basin has been examined particularly closely for the presence of either porphyrin molecules or “biological marker” molecules, the presence of which used to be misconstrued as "evidence" of a supposed biological origin for petroleum. None of the oil contains any such molecules, even at the ppm level. There is also research presently under progress which has established the presence of deep, anaerobic, hydrocarbon metabolizing microbes in the oil from the wells in the uppermost petroliferous zones of the crystalline basement rock in the Dnieper-Donets Basin.

4.) Measurement of elevated abundances of helium: The petroleum from all producing reservoirs manifest elevated abundance of helium. The natural gas and oil from, for example, the Yulyovskoye field contain not less than 180,000,000 m3 of helium. Helium is of abyssal origin and can be transported significant distances in the Earth's crust only by entrainment in another carrier fluid, typically hydrocarbons or hydrocarbons and carbon dioxide or nitrogen together, by which process it becomes concentrated in the carrier fluid. These results, taken either individually or together, confirm the scientific conclusions that the oil and natural gas found both in the Precambrian crystalline basement and the sedimentary cover of the Northern Monoclinal Flank of the Dnieper-Donets Basin are of deep, and abiotic, origin. For this work, the present authors responsible for the discovery of these 12 fields were awarded the State Prize of Ukraine in the field of Science and Technology in 1993. Furthermore, the exploration drilling is still in progress and continues to yield success. Today (15 February 1994), there are 20 commercial new oil and gas fields under development. One of these new fields is the Khukhrya field with reserves of 18 million metric tons of oil. Another is the Yulyovskoye oil and gas field for which the presently discovered petroleum reserves have been calculated to be 27 million tons of oil equivalent. published in: Krayushkin, V. A., T. I. Tchebanenko, V. P. Klochko, Ye. S. Dvoryanin, J. F. Kenney, (1994). Recent applications of the modern theory of abiogenic hydrocarbon origins: Drilling and development of oil & gas fields in the Dneiper-Donets Basin. VIIth International Symposium on the Observation of the Continental Crust through Drilling, Santa Fe, NM, DOSECC.