Attenuation of Petroleum Generation Characteristics by the Sulfurization of Organic Matter in Westphaflan Carboniferous Lacustrine Source Rocks (A Geochemical Study of Potential Marine Incursions)

Principal Investigators:

Dr. Todd Ventura, Saint Mary’s University

Start Date: October 2017

End Date: November 2018

Dr. Ventura is developing a set of geochemical diagnostic tools that can be applied to potential source rocks of differing ages throughout the Maritimes Basin. These tools will help create a more accurate interpretation of the evolution of the Maritimes Basin by constraining when and to what extent marine conditions may have influenced the deposition, preservation, and maturation of organic matter that contributes to the production of oil and gas.

This study marks an initial step in the development of novel geochemical techniques to 1) detect marine influences in pre-rift Paleozoic source rocks and to 2) evaluate the degree that sulfurization of organic matter (SOM) has affected the preservation and hydrocarbon generation characteristics of organic matter in these rocks.

SOM is a process that begins soon after burial and leads to the selective preservation of organic matter and thus affects the quality and quantity of organic matter preserved in marine source rocks. SOM also leads to petroleum generation at shallower burial depths. The influence of SOM on Nova Scotian source rocks has yet to be examined.

Outcomes: This study will lead to improved constraints on tectonic models of basin evolution as well as improved understanding of organic matter preservation and maturation mechanisms of source rocks for oil and gas generation models.
Determining the effect SOM on the preservation and quality of organic matter is an important component of any source rock prospectively analysis. Resolving its impact on younger potential source rocks will enable predictions of organic matter inputs, improve maturity controls for modeling hydrocarbon expulsion histories, and will help to refine mechanisms controlling the quality (hydrogen/carbon ratio) of expulsed hydrocarbons. This study provides the necessary first steps to better characterize these attributes so that future work can routinely determine their influence in assessing potentially new source rocks from the Scotian Margin.

Once all the data is compiled, the materials will be provided to the Geoscience Research Center at the CNSOPB and the results will be written-up as a peer-reviewed journal article and/or an open file report. The results of this study will likewise be presented at one or more regional or national conferences.