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Analysis of wax hydrocarbons in petroleum source rocks from the Damintun depression, eastern China, using high temperature gas chromatography

Lookup NU author(s): Haiping Huang, Professor Stephen Larter, Dr Gordon Love


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A detailed organic geochemical study; utilising petrography, biomarker hydrocarbon analysis and high temperature GC analysis of extractable wax hydrocarbon constituents was performed on four marginally oil window-mature source rocks from the Shahejie Formation (Eocene), Damintun depression in eastern China. The main maceral components in the source rocks were vitrinite, liptinite and exinite, with vitrinite being more abundant (> 50 vol.%) in organic-lean samples whose TOC contents were between 1 and 2 wt.%. Large differences in pristane/phytane ratios suggested that the organic-rich samples were deposited in a less oxic depositional environment than that for the organic-lean rocks. The distribution of extractable wax hydrocarbons, determined by high temperature GC, showed a marked difference between these two sample types. The organic-rich samples contained high molecular weight hydrocarbons (HMWHCs) dominated by macrocrystalline n-alkanes (n-C 23-n-C37, typically maximising at n-C29), while the organic-lean samples contained lower amounts of extractable wax hydrocarbons but were relatively rich in microcrystalline components (> n-C35). In all source rocks (Es3 and Es4), a noticeable odd-over-even predominance (OEP) of n-alkane chain lengths (up to n-C 65) was evident, consistent with a direct biological origin for the long n-alkyl chains. They were most probably formed during diagenesis from decarboxylation of predominantly even-carbon-numbered aliphatic acids originating from higher plant or lacustrine algal sources and/or were directly biosynthesised in hydrocarbon form. At least two other homologous series of branched/cyclic HMWHCs were observed, one of which was confirmed as a series of branched alkanes (probably methyl-branched). The carbon number distribution patterns of HMWHCs may be primarily controlled by thermal maturity and biogenic source input as well as being influenced by diagenetic reactions governed by depositional environmental conditions, as shown previously [Carlson, R.M.K., Teerman, S.C., Moldowan, J.M., Jacobson, S.R., Chan, E.I., Dorrough, K.S., Seetoo, W.C., Mertani, B., 1993. High temperature gas chromatography of high wax oils. In: Indonesian Petroleum Association, 22nd Annual Convention Proceedings. Jakarta, Indonesian, pp. 483-507. Carlson, R.M.K., Jacobsen, S.R., Moldowan, J.M., Chan E.I., 1994. Potential application of high temperature gas chromatography to Middle Eastern petroleum exploration and production. In: Al-Husseini, M.I. (Ed.), Geo'94, Vol 1., Selected Middle East Papers from The Middle East Petroleum Geoscience Conference, 1994; Gulf PetroLink. Manama, Bahrain, pp. 258-267]. Our study indicates for the first time that Es3 source rocks as well as Es4 facies contain HMWHCs. The distributions of extractable wax hydrocarbons suggest that both Es4 and Es3 members may potentially serve as important parent source rocks for generating waxy petroleum in this region. © 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Huang H, Larter SR, Love GD

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Organic Geochemistry

Year: 2003

Volume: 34

Issue: 12

Pages: 1673-1687

Print publication date: 01/12/2003

ISSN (print): 0146-6380

ISSN (electronic): 1873-5290

Publisher: Pergamon


DOI: 10.1016/S0146-6380(03)00172-4


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