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Geochemical Characterization of Potential Source Rocks in the Anadarko Basin, Oklahoma


The Anadarko Basin in Oklahoma has been thought of as a mature exploration province in the past but activity in the past 5 or 6 years has shown that there are still significant quantities of both conventional and unconventional oil to be discovered. It has been commonly assumed that the Devonian Woodford shale is the major, and by some the only, source rock in the basin. Recent discoveries have clearly shown this is not correct. One question that commonly arises, particularly with the unconventional discoveries, is whether or not the oils represent a single source or a mixture of sources. The purpose of this paper is to present geochemical data which have been obtained for many of the major potential source rocks in the basin. Many of these have not been the subject of detailed geochemical investigations in the past as a result of all efforts being focused on the Woodford. However there are a number of Ordovician, Devonian and Mississippian formations that may be contributing to the oil reserves in the basin. Utilization of biomarkers extracted from formations such as the Viola, Simpson, Woodford, Caney, Meremac, Springer, and Morrow will be discussed. There are many biomarker components associated with each of these formations that permit them to be distinguished from each other and ultimately used to evaluate whether mixing of sources has occurred in a particular discovery. Such fingerprints can also be used to evaluate unconventional discoveries and determine whether they are self sourced, a mixture of self sourced and migrated oil or simply migrated oil from a deeper part of the basin. Many of the specific compounds that will be discussed in this paper have not been described in the Paleozoic oils from this basin at this level of detail and should provide useful information related to continued and future exploration in this basin and more specifically in the SCOOP and STACK areas that are currently attracting significant attention.