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Effects of Maturity on Organic Matters

• The major changes to organic matter that occur with increasing


maturity include three stages of evolution : diagenesis,
catagenesis, metagenesis.
• Diagenesis : convert organic debris derived from living organisms
into kerogen, temperature < 100 C, mediated mostly by
bacteria
• Catagenesis : Thermally degrade kerogen into petroleum,
• temperature 100-150 C breakdown of kerogen to oil
• temperature 150-230 C breakdown of kerogen to gas
• Metagenesis : generation from kerogen is complete, internal
change of the residual kerogen to graphite, temperature > 230
C

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Brooks et al. (1987)
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Selley (1985)

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Hunt (1996)
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Petroleum Generation and Expulsion

• The generation of petroleum from kerogen proceeds via a


complex series of reactions during which many types of bonds
are broken as a result of thermal stress.
• The depth interval in which a petroleum source rock generates
and expels most of its oil is called the oil window. Most oil
windows are in the temperature range from 60 to 160ºC (140-
320 ºF). Gas windows are in the 100 to 200 ºC (212-392 ºF)
temperature range. From one-half to two thirds of
thermogenic gas comes from the thermal cracking of
previously formed oil.

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Selley (1985)

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MIGRATION
Mechanics of Expulsion
• Expulsion is also known as primary migration.
• The most likely mechanism of expulsion appears to be as a
discrete phase through microfractures caused by the release of
overpressure.
• The cause of overpressure in the source rock may be a
combination of oil or gas generation, fluid expansion on
temperature increase, compaction of sealed source rock units, or
release of water on clay mineral dehydration.
• The conversion of kerogen to petroleum results in a significant
volume increase. This causes a pore pressure build up which is
sometimes large enough to result in microfracturing. This release
pressure, and allows the migration of petroleum out of source
rock into adjoining carrier beds, from which point secondary
migration processes take over.
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Migration - Saturation Threshold Theory
Expulsion from the Source Rock

The mechanism of expulsion is still the subject of debate.


One method is Porosity Saturation:
As Maturation progresses, organic matter is transformed to
oil. The generated oil fills pore spaces created by the
destruction of kerogen.
1. Oil fills the pore spaces, overcomes capillary resistance
and begins to expel.
2. Overpressure caused by the conversion of kerogen to oil
and gas microfractures the rock and expels the fluid
phase.
3. In a lean source rock, not enough oil may be generated to
fill the pore spaces. With continued burial, this trapped oil
may crack to gas
Expulsion from the Source Rock

Certain kerogens undergo generation at earlier maturity due


to lower activation energies.
These same kerogens can be expected to undergo earlier
expulsion.
Richer source rocks will accumulate greater volumes earlier
that lean source rocks and, hence, begin to expel earlier.
Expulsion from the Source Rock

Another controlling factor is the sedimentary geometry of the


source rocks.
The expulsion efficiency is highest when the source rocks are
thin and hydrocarbons have a short distance to migrate to
more permeable carrier beds (meters, rather than tens of
meters).
Intercalated sandstones and shales would provide much
greater expulsion efficiency than thicker bedded shales and
sands.
Rocks that are brittle and overpressured are likely to fracture
→ which dramatically enhances expulsion efficiency.
Expulsion from the Source Rock

• Cycles of petroleum generation, pressure build up, micro-


fracturing, pressure release, petroleum migration continue
until the source rock is exhausted.
• The implication of this theory is that mature source rock will
always expel petroleum as long as they are rich enough. A
lean oil-prone source rock may not generate sufficient
hydrocarbon to cause micro-fracturing. As a result, no
expulsion will occur. If raised to higher maturity, however,
the oil that has remained in the source rock will be cracked
to gas.
Expulsion Efficiency
Expulsion efficiency
Temperature 120-150oC → strongly dependent of original
richness
Minimum petroleum saturation in the source rock (about
40%) is required before efficient expulsion take place.
Rich source rocks > 5kg/ton, TOC > 1.5 → very efficient 60-
90% of total petroleum generated being expelled.
Lean source rocks < 5kg/ton, TOC < 1.5% → expulsion
efficiency is much lower → most of the generated oil remain
in the source rocks.
Raising Temperature → cracked to gas and → expulsion can be
very efficient
(Cooles et al.,1986)
EXPULSION EFFICIENCY
EXPULSION EFFICIENCY
EXPULSION EFFICIENCY
Carrier Bed, Sealing & Migration
• Migration of petroleum from a pod of active source rock to
the trap requires a conduit that may involve vertical
migration, such as along fractures or faults, or lateral
migration within a reservoir quality carrier bed.
• Rates of migration in sandstone carriers are in the range of
1-1000 km/m.y., two orders of magnitude greater than for
limestones.
• Lateral migration requires both a continuous carrier bed and
seal (Demaison and Huizinga, 1991).
• Favorable areas for long distance migration of up to several
hundred kilometers occur in foreland basins and
intracratonic sags where blanket sands of transgressive,
eolian, or fluvial origins are sealed by evaporites or shales.
Morse (1994)
Secondary Migration
PORES OF CARRIER BED

Idealized sandstone porosity system showing four basic pore


types: intergranular, microporosity, dissolution, and fracture.
SECONDARY MIGRATION
TROUGH CARRIER BED TO TRAP
Other factors:
Sealing fault; may deflect petroleum flow laterally.
Non sealing faults; allows petroleum to flow across the fault
into juxtapose permeable bed at different stratigraphic level.
 Needs a different structure map for secondary migration
modelling.
 Communication between carrier beds caused by lateral
stratigraphic changes by sanding out of shale seal.
 The orthocontour map should be constructed only as far
as aseal persist
MIGRATION THROUGH FRACTURES
Primary and Secondary Migration as a
function of rock permeability

Primary Migration Secondary Migration


Csato (2002)
Rate of Secondary Migration
Roles of Topseal

• It determines efficiency of subsurface trapping


system.
• It influences migration routes taken by petroleum
fluids as leaving petroleum source rock (laterally or
vertically - focused migration system).
• Geographic extent of seal rocks defines the
effective limits of the petroleum system.
Definition and Class of Seal Rock

• Seal Rock = rock that has pore throats too small and
poorly connected to allow the passage of
hydrocarbons (Downey, 1994).
• Sealing = restriction to secondary migration (Allen
and Allen, 1990).
• Two important classes of seals occur in a petroleum
system : (1) regional seals that roof migrating
hydrocarbons and (2) local seals that confine
accumulations (Ulmishek, 1988).
Mechanics of Sealing

• The main restricting force to the movement of


petroleum fluid through a porous rock is its
capillary or displacement pressure. This depends
primarily on the radius of the pore throats.
• A rock will seal an underlying petroleum
accumulation if the capillary pressure of its largest
pore throats ≥ the upwardly directed buoyancy
pressure of petroleum column.
modified from Downey (1984) in Allen and Allen (1990)
Hydrocarbon Migration
• Hydrocarbon migration (secondary migration) concentrates
subsurface petroleum into specific sites (traps) where it may be
commercially produced.
• If a trap is disrupted at some time in its history, its accumulated
petroleum may re-migrate either into other traps, or leak to the
surface.
• The main driving forces for secondary migration :
• buoyancy : caused by the difference between oil (or gas) and the pore
waters of carrier beds
• pore pressure gradients : which attempt to move all pore fluids (both
water and petroleum) to areas of lower pressure.
• The main resisting forces for secondary migration :
• capillary pressure, which increases as pore size become smaller when
capillary pressure exceeds the driving forces, entrapment occurs.

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Tissot and Welte (1984)
Clayton and Fleet (1991)
Petroleum Migration
• The factors which control the shape of the migration
pathways are not yet completely clear, although migration
may be viewed as a type of percolation of petroleum
through a water-wet carrier bed.
• The natural buoyancy of migrating petroleum provides a
force that drives oil and gas, on average, up-dip. Capillary
forces, however, will encourage petroleum to utilise the
coarser regions of the carrier bed with the lowest pore-
entry pressures.
• In practice, considerable heterogeneities are present in the
poro-perm properties of carrier beds. One expects that
capillary forces will dominate migration directions on the
local scale. However, on the larger scale (>100 m) buoyancy
forces will play their role in guiding petroleum, on average
up-dip.
Clayton and Fleet (1991)
Katz and Schunk (1985)
Migration Pathways
• Petroleum will tend to move perpendicular to structural contours.
• Petroleum flow may be split when encountering a low, and
concentrated along regional highs.
• The geometry of the kitchen also affects petroleum charge
volumes; prospects located close to the ends of strongly elongate
source kitchens will receive relatively little charge.
• Sealing faults may deflect petroleum flow laterally.
• Non-sealing faults allow petroleum to flow across the fault plane
into juxtaposed permeable units at a different stratigraphic level.

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Fleet and Clayton (1991)
SECONDARY MIGRATION
TROUGH CARRIER BED TO TRAP
SECONDARY MIGRATION
TROUGH CARRIER BED TO TRAP
SECONDARY MIGRATION
TROUGH CARRIER BED TO TRAP

Migration pathways
• Orthocontours are constructed for the actual time of
secondary migration.
• Present day structure maps may be used to model
present day migration.
• Isopaching (3-D decompaction) can be used to produce
paleostructure map and used to model paleo migration
Pratsch (1983)
Pratsch (1983)
Distribution of Hydrocarbons in
Basins : Gussow Principles

Selley (1985)
Distribution of Petroleum within Basins

• Petroleum tend to occur in sedimentary basins in a regular


pattern.
• Heavy oils tend to be shallow and with increasing depth,
pass down into light oils, condensate, and finally gas.
• Oils tend to become lighter not only downward but also
laterally toward a basin center. Typically, heavy oils occur
around basin margins, and condensate and gas in the center.
• The zonation of gas, light oil, and heavy oil from basin
center to margin may be due to a combination of thermal
maturation and degradation by meteoric water and
biodegradation.
Faults and Hydrocarbon Migration
• Fault zones can act as both conduits and barriers to secondary migrtion.
The material crushed by the frictional movement of the fault, the fault
gouge, is frequently impermeable and does not allow the passage of
petroleum. Clay smeared along fault planes also blocks petroeum
migration.
• Fractures formed in either the footwall or hangingwall, if they remain
open, may form effective vertical migration pathways. This may occur in
the uplifted hangingwalls of compressive faults on release of
compressive stresses. Tensional fractures in the crestal zones of
anticlinal structures may also allow migration of petroleum.
• Lateral migration will tend to be inhibited by the presence of faults,
since they interrupt the lateral continuity of the carrier bed.

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Hindle (1997)
Migration Pathways Across Fault

Pratsch (1983)
Hydrodynamic trap

Selley (1985)

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Charging of trap by migrated hydrocarbons

England (1994)

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