Oil-oil and oil-source rock correlation

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Exploring for Oil and Gas Traps
Series Treatise in Petroleum Geology
Part Critical elements of the petroleum system
Chapter Oil–oil and oil–source rock correlations
Author Douglas W. Waples, Joseph A. Curiale
Link Web page
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Correlations are comparisons of (1) oils with other oils or (2) oils with source rock extracts to determine whether a genetic relationship exists. Correlations are accomplished by comparing elemental, molecular, and isotopic parameters using techniques such as gas chromatography (GC), gas chromatography with mass spectrometry (GC/MS), and carbon isotope ratio determination.

Objectives of correlation studies include the following:

  • Classifying oils into genetic families
  • Establishing oil–source rock relationships
  • Addressing problems of reservoir continuity

Exploration applications of correlation studies include the following:

All good correlations require full integration of geochemical data with geology. The final interpretation must fit all available geologic and geochemical data, as well as local and global geologic and geochemical concepts.

Correlations represent a powerful but underutilized capability within petroleum geochemistry, largely because many geologists are unfamiliar with both the technology and the value of correlations. Future applications of geochemistry should place more emphasis on correlations, and geologists should become more conversant with correlation technology and philosophy. Geochemists alone are seldom able to extract full value from correlation studies because they often do not have the necessary geologic information or the expertise to integrate geologic concepts with the geochemical data. Therefore, the participation of geologists in correlation studies is essential.

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