Log in

Log in

Event details

WTGS August Luncheon

  • August 08, 2023
  • 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM
  • Bush Convention Center - 105 N. Main St., Midland, TX 79701
  • 59


Registration is closed

***Please note venue***

$25.00 Pre-Registration

$50.00 Late Registration

Applications of Thermal Extraction: Improved Mobile Oil Measurements and Producible Hydrocarbon Workflows

Authors: Catherine Donohue, Alex Zumberge, and Adam Turner

GeoMark Research, Houston, TX, United States.

Assessment of oil-in-place via common programmed pyrolysis (such as Oil Saturation Index and solvent extraction methods) can be inaccurate due to OBM invasion and interference with natural and drilling fluids, or from sample handling and storing conditions. These same issues also affect oil saturation laboratory measurements that are used to calculate volumes of producible hydrocarbons. These challenges can be resolved by using a novel thermal extraction technique that has been tailored to collect mobile bulk volumes of oil from rock samples. The collected sample can then be processed through advanced geochemical assessments to generate more accurate calculations of not only hydrocarbons in place, but also what fraction is producible.  Along with these volumes, more detailed information regarding the generating source rock, maturation history and migration trends can also be evaluated, providing key information for a fully risked petroleum system evaluation. 

Examples of this thermal extraction method from several North American basins of different source rock types and different maturity windows will be shown.  The consequence of different experimental temperatures on collected oil samples will be discussed, showing the ability of the laboratory method to capture oil signatures at different mobility ranges and push the envelope into kerogen cracking observations (Figure 1).  The hydrocarbon profiles from retort oils at the various experimental temperatures were compared against produced oils to describe a representative mobile/producible fraction of oil vs retained hydrocarbon components that can affect accurate resource in place estimates for specific basin/play/formations.

This method shows the application of thermally extracted oil as a cost-effective method to better estimate resource in place for development projects as well as provide the necessary play information to characterize and derisk source rock richness and maturity elements for more successful growth opportunities. Performing extraction at optimized temperatures allows for specific petroleum system models that can provide competitive understanding of both exploration and development areas, leading to best-in-class production performance.  The potential to apply this method to water-based mud cuttings is currently being explored and continues to expand the value of both this laboratory method and the generated data.

Blue: 300°C Retort Oil HRGC

Red: 400°C Retort Oil HRGC

Figure 1. HRGC comparison of retort oils that were thermally extracted at 300°C (blue) and 400°C (red) from the same homogenized rock. Differences in hydrocarbon distributions reflect cracking of high molecular weight compounds at higher retort temperatures.


  • Home
  • WTGS August Luncheon

© West Texas Geological Society

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software