AAPG Annual Convention and Exhibition

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New Methods and Applications of Source-Rock Kinetics


Kinetic parameters for hydrocarbon generation can now be measured quickly and inexpensively using our new one-run technique, in which the Arrhenius A factor is fixed to a desired value prior to derivation of the activation-energy (Ea) distribution from open-system pyrolysis data. Advantages of this method are lower cost, faster analysis, more-reliable kinetics for basin modeling, ability to acquire larger data bases, and the consequent ability to apply the kinetic data in identifying distinct organofacies and as a thermal indicator. For organofacies analysis, kinetic data can be combined with basic source-rock data as well as molecular indicators, such as biomarkers. We have been successful in linking kinetics-based organofacies analysis predictively to sequence stratigraphy. As a thermal indicator, Mean Ea is more reliable and flexible than Tmax and is often superior to Ro values. These new applications are valuable for both conventional and unconventional plays, but are particularly important in shale-oil plays, where the Transformation Ratio and generation potential of the kerogen must be known as accurately as possible at the prospect location. We have also had success in deriving kinetic parameters even more inexpensively from archived Rock-Eval 6 or SRA data.