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Wolfcamp Geochemistry and 3-D Basin Model of the Midland Basin

Abstract

The primary objective of this research is to understand how lithologic heterogeneity relates to the distribution of source rock properties (organic matter quantity, quality, and thermal maturity) in the Wolfcamp Shale and to quantify and model its impact on resource potential. To fulfill this objective, a regional, surface-based 3-D model of the Midland Basin as well as a thorough core-based investigation of the Wolfcamp Shale were conducted. We analyzed well-log signatures, TOC and Rock-Eval pyrolysis results, XRD, XRF chemostratigraphy to compare chemofacies to previously established lithofacies. Based on their TOC and hydrogen content, the siliceous mudrocks have the highest potential for hydrocarbon generation. We analyzed vertical and lateral variability of source rock properties and proposed upscaled source rock distribution model. This work expands current understanding of source rock heterogeneity, thickness, lithology, organic richness, and organic matter type variability in the Wolfcamp Shale (A through D). Source rock analysis informed 3D basin and petroleum system modeling of the Midland Basin to reconstruct burial and thermal history and simulate petroleum generation and fluid flow. Results have significant impact on play assessment and prospect evaluation in the Midland Basin.