A simple method for application in source potential mapping is used to assess the original oil and gas potentials in source rock horizons based upon Rock-Eval potential (S2) and total organic carbon (TOC) values. The method assumes that kerogens consist of mixtures of end-members with assigned hydrogen index values. Based on suggested algorithms, the average amounts of oil-prone, gas-prone and inert organic material over source rock intervals are determined in TOC units. The method uses regression lines from plots of remaining hydrocarbon potentials (S2) versus total organic carbon (TOC), and “quick-look” transparent overlays are used to read the appropriate kerogen mixture.
Mineral matrix effects during pyrolysis, when strong, can cause erroneous results. This effect which occurs for oil-prone kerogens and adsorptive minerals can cause problems particularly for lean samples (S2 = 0–3 mg HC/g rock) whilst the errors for richer samples are less.
The method is applied on three sections of Upper Jurassic organic-rich rocks from the Danish North Sea sector, which are at different maturity stages. One of these sections is dominated by gas-prone material, one is dominated by oil-prone material and the third section contains a mixture of oil- and gas-prone material.
The method has been compared with other methods that split kerogens in oil and gas generating potential and has given reasonable results.
Experience using the method and a presented example suggest that sedimentological, system tract information may be derived from S2 to TOC cross-plots. A constructed modelling example suggests that the end-member concept used in this approach may be used in forward type source rock prediction models when combined with sedimentological models. The resulting S2–TOC plots can be used in order to check the forward modelling results against observed values.
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