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Oil Generating Characteristics of Monterey Formation in Santa Maria Basin, California

Wallace G. Dow, Daniel M. Jarvie, M. Arif Yukler

Oil generation in the Monterey Formation is studied in a deep well in the Careaga Canyon area of the Santa Maria basin. Rock-Eval pyrolysis and total organic carbon analyses on extracted and unextracted samples indicate that oil generation begins early (425° -430°C Tmax) and reaches a peak below 12,000 ft (450°C Tmax). At greater depths there is active condensate and gas generation. These data are used to derive chemical reaction kinetics for Monterey type kerogens. A one-dimensional quantitative basin analysis model was developed for the area. It shows that hydrocarbon generation is very rapid due to a high heating rate. This results in rapid oil generation and high expulsion efficiency, and causes kerogen maturation to lag behind hyd ocarbon generation. This study elucidates the nature of hydrocarbon generation in the Monterey Formation and has important exploration and development applications in both onshore and offshore areas.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #91038©1987 AAPG Annual Convention, Los Angeles, California, June 7-10, 1987.