Recent developments in petroleum geochemistry

Author : Douglas W. Waples
Publication : Bulletin of the Geological Society of Malaysia
Page : 107-122
Volume Number : 28
Year : 1991

Bulletin of the Geological Society of Malaysia, Volume 28, November 1991, pp. 107 – 122

Recent developments in petroleum geochemistry


Technology Research Center, Japan National Oil Corporation, 1-2-2 Hamada, Chiba 275, Japan


Abstract: Although steady progress has been made in traditional petroleum geochemistry, no recent advances are comparable to the most-important developments of the last thirty years. Biomarkers, kinetics of thermal indicators and of hydrocarbon generation and cracking, and carbon-isotope-ratio gc-ms are the most exciting research areas today. In addition, application of traditional petroleum geochemistry to reservoir problems has opened the door to intriguing new areas for interdisciplinary investigations.

Much of the most interesting activity in the field of geochemistry currently is directed toward basin modeling. Inclusion of basin modeling as a subdiscipline of geochemistry is a historical quirk that has exerted some not entirely salutary control on the direction of research and development of basin models. Future work in basin modeling should attempt to address geological and geophysical problems that have until now been given short shrift.

Weaknesses in current basin models include scientific limitations, computer limitations, and inadequate applications. Solving these problems will require major efforts by groups who understand the goals and needs of exploration and can build a model that can be used easily by exploration personnel. Proper training in both the technology and philosophy of modeling are of paramount importance. It is not yet clear how thoroughly basin modeling will be adopted for routine exploration work; success will depend largely on the skill with which modeling technology is transferred from research laboratories to exploration units.