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The Gulf of Mexico Oil Correlation Study—22 Years Later!

Paul A. Comet
10422 Tablerock Dr., Houston, Texas 77064

On April 1, 1989, I joined the Geochemical and Environmental Research Group administered by Texas A&M University and was given the task of completing the “Oil Correlation Study.” This study encompassed many of the then known oil accumulations of the Gulf of Mexico. It also included a number of potential source rocks. By December 4, 1989, the work was largely completed and a series of conclusions were later developed:

(1) That sufficient environmental, thermal maturity, and age diagnostic information exists in the petroleum “biomarker” fingerprint, isotopic data, and major and trace elements, for oil to be considered a “rock” in its own right, similar to any sedimentary rock. In other words, petroleum contains a clear memory of its parent source rock depositional environment.

(2) A “golden ring” of Mesozoic, largely Jurassic, carbonate sourced oils enclosing the entire Gulf Rim and holding out the promise that the Gulf of Mexico could be as productive as the Persian Gulf .

(3) Multiple source rocks related to oceanic anoxic events of the Mesozoic.

(4) A denial of any Tertiary sources. Tertiary biomarkers that were found in any of the oils were ascribed to migration contamination from the Tertiary reservoirs and conduits.

(5) Maturity relationships amongst the oil were also investigated. They indicated that maturity isolines followed the onshore regional geology with lower maturity values in the south east .

This paper attempts to review these basic ideas in light of more recent work.


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90158©2012 GCAGS and GC-SEPM 6nd Annual Convention, Austin, Texas, 21-24 October 2012