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Day 2: The Petroleum

Play
. and why the Petroleum System
concept is so important.

Special Acknowledgement & Reference


Special thanks to John Armentrout of the American
Association of Petroleum Geologists for helping
provide some of the Petroleum Systems material
used in this introduction. John did this work on behalf
of the AAPGs Visiting Geologist program.

AAPG Memoir 60, The Petroleum System - from Source to


Trap, edited by Leslie Magoon & Wallace Dow and AAPG
Methods in Exploration #7, edited by Wagoner, Mitchum,
Campion & Rahmanian are recommended for further reading.
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Petroleum System Definition


The essential elements and processes and all
genetically-related hydrocarbons that occur in
petroleum shows, and accumulations whose
provenance is a single pod of active source rock.
Elements
Source Rock
Migration Route
Reservoir Rock
Seal Rock
Trap

Processes
Generation
Migration
Accumulation
Preservation
Timing Critical!
3

Petroleum System Elements

Anticlinal Trap

Top Seal Rock


(Impermeable)

Reservoir Rock
(Porous/Permeable)
Potential
Migration Route

Source Rock

(Organic Rich)

24803

Petroleum System Elements


Source Rock: a rock with abundant hydrocarbon-prone
organic matter
Reservoir Rock: a rock in which oil and gas accumulates:
- Porosity; space between rock grains in which oil & gas
accumulates
-Permeability; ease with which oil & gas can move
through the pore space between the grains
Seal Rock: a rock through which oil and gas cannot move
effectively (such as mudstone or evaporite), over time!
Migration Route: avenues through which oil and gas move
from source rock to trap
Trap: the structural and stratigraphic configuration that
focuses oil and gas into an accumulation
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The Origin of Petroleum

Organic-rich
Source Rock

Thermally Matured
Organic Matter

Oil
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Kerogen Types

TOC 2.12 WT.%


* Or plankton (lacustrine or marine)

**

TOC .38 WT.%


** Or marshy, swampy, peat bogs

Types of Petroleum
Oil and gas are formed by the thermal
cracking of organic compounds buried
in fine-grained rocks.
Algae* = Hydrogen rich = Oil-prone
Wood = Hydrogen poor = Gas-prone

* Also plankton, or waxy cuticles/spores of tropical land plants


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Reservoir Sandstone
Good Porosity = Lots of Space for Petroleum

Pores
(blue)

Reservoir Sandstone
Pore-Filling Cement Reduces Quality

Cement
(pink)

= Less Space for


Petroleum

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Pore Types - Sandstones


The Good

The Bad

The UGLY
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Traps
Anticlinal - Rock layers folded into a dome
Fault - Offset of rocks such that oil and gas

accumulates in reservoir rock


Stratigraphic - Rock layers changing from a

good reservoir to a non-reservoir seal, due to


change in rock type (pinch-out), reservoir
quality (diagenesis), or removal (erosional
unconformity)
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Hydrocarbon Trap Types- which are the best prospects?

Anticline
Fault

Salt Dome

Pinchout

Unconformity

American Petroleum Institute, 1986


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Petroleum System Processes

Gas
Cap
Oil

Entrapment
Accumulation

Water

Seal Rock
Reservoir
Rock

Migration
120 F
Source Rock

Generation

(500C)

350 F
(1750C)
24803

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Petroleum System Processes


Generation - Burial of source rock to temperature and
pressure regime sufficiently long to convert organic
matter into hydrocarbon {early/late}
Migration - Movement of hydrocarbon out of the source
rock toward and into a trap {primary /secondary}
Accumulation - A volume of hydrocarbon migrating into a
trap faster than the trap leaks resulting in an
accumulation
Preservation - Hydrocarbon remains in reservoir; is not
biodegraded/contaminated nor the trap breached
and do not forget Timing - Trap forms before and during
hydrocarbon migration
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Oil & Gas Generation


Vitrinite
reflectance

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Petroleum System
A Dynamic Entity
1) Early Generation

Spill Point

Migration from
Kitchen

2) Late Generation

Spill Point

Reservoir Rock
(Sandstone)

Seal Rock
(Mudstone)

Gas beginning to
displace oil

Displaced oil
accumulates
Gas displaces all
oil
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Deer-Boar Petroleum System


at Critical Moment
250 Ma
Raven

Owens

Big Oil
Just

Re
s

Pod of Active
Source Rock

erv
o

ir R
oc
k

Teapot

Marginal

Hardy

Lucky

David

Immature Source Rock

Zero Edge of
Reservoir Rock
Magoon and Dow, 1994 18

Petroleum System at Critical Moment


Critical Moment = Time of Expulsion/Migration
GEOGRAPHIC EXTENT OF PETROLEUM SYSTEM

250 Ma

Trap

STRATIGRAPHIC
EXTENT OF
PETROLEUM SYSTEM

em
s
a

Trap

t
en

Essential
elements of
POD OF ACTIVE petroleum
system
SOURCE ROCK
Petroleum accumulation
Top of oil window

Trap

Overburden
Seal
Reservoir
Source
Underburden

Sedimentary
basin-fill

Bottom of oil window


Location for burial history chart

Magoon and Dow, 1994

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Present-Day Petroleum System


GEOGRAPHIC EXTENT OF PETROLEUM SYSTEM

Present-Day

Trap

Trap

Trap

STRATIGRAPHIC
EXTENT OF
PETROLEUM SYSTEM

nt
e
em
s
Ba

Petroleum accumulation
Top of oil window
Bottom of oil window

Overburden
Seal
Reservoir
Source
Underburden

Magoon and Dow, 1994

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Paleozoic
D

100

Mesozoic
P

TR

Cen.
K

P N

Rock
Unit

Thick
Fm

Generation

Overburden

200

Reservoir
Seal

300

Depth (Km)
Source

400

Lithology

Burial History Chart

2
Placer Fm
George Sh
Top oil window

Boar Ss

Top gas window

Deer Sh
Elk Fm

Critical Moment

Magoon and Dow, 1994

Time of Expulsion and Migration. (Trap must already exist)

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Petroleum System Events Chart


Timing of Elements and Processes
400

300

200

Paleozoic

100

Mesozoic

TR

Geologic Time
Scale
Cenozoic

Petroleum
System Events

Source Rock
Reservoir Rock
Seal Rock
Overburden Rock
Trap Formation
Gen/Migration/Accum
Preservation

Elements
Processes

Rock Units

Critical Moment

Critical Moment
Magoon and Dow, 1994

Time of Expulsion and Migration. (Trap must already exist) 22

Exercise
Draw a Petroleum Systems Events Chart
in your sub-basin and discuss risking the
various elements of the system.

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Play Concept
Map
Eliminate areas with no:
Structures (or strat
traps)
Effective reservoir
Effective seals
Inaccessible to
migration from mature
source rocks
Where traps post-date
the timing of Migration
Risk prospects using probabilities!

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Probability (Risk) Assessment


Pplay = Psource x Preservoir x Ptrap x Pseal x Ptiming*
* Timing (& direction) of migration versus development of trap

Exploration is risky: with an 85% probability of success in each


element, the combined probability is under 50%.... Multiply it out!

Note different companies may use different criteria internally to assess prospects
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Summary
The Petroleum Systems concept allow us to:
- Systematically evaluate the quality of the different
elements (source, reservoir, seal, trap & migration
pathways) of the stratigraphic model
- Critically analyse the timing of migration, accumulation
and the chances of preservation of hydrocarbons.

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