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Kerogen Typing and Prediction of the Primary Generation Characteristics of Source Rocks Using Petroleum Asphaltenes

LACR Andes Basins Research Symposium 2020
AAPG Distinguished Lecture
Authors: Antonio Martin-Monge (presenter), Daniel Peña, Rafael Tocco, Connor Moore, Andre Vayssaire, Camilo Restrepo, Victor Goitia, Judith Vila, Massimo Bonora, Jose Carballo, Repsol

Petroleum asphaltenes are complex organic macromolecular aggregates which make up a significant portion of crude oils and source rock bitumens. While their detailed structure is poorly understood, there is general agreement that it closely resembles that of their precursor kerogens. In fact, asphaltenes can be regarded as intermediates between kerogens and petroleum in the natural evolution of sedimentary organic matter. These structural similarities enable using the geochemistry of asphaltenes in numerous petroleum exploration and production settings.

In this presentation, we will discuss two of these applications. We will firstly focus on the application of the criteria for molecular kerogen typing to the classification of the macromolecular fractions of crude oil and source bitumen. We will then describe how pyrolysis methods can be employed to perform kinetic analysis on petroleum asphaltenes. The kinetics thus determined reflect the extent of the thermal stress which the source rock had been subjected to when the petroleum was generated. Furthermore, closed-system pyrolysis of asphaltenes can be used to derive compositional kinetic models that enable the prediction of the in situ bulk properties of the primary generated fluids.

The potential of petroleum asphaltenes as a suitable substrate for kerogen typing and kinetic analysis will be illustrated with a case study from the Tarija Basin (southern sub-Andean zone, Bolivia). Asphaltenes were isolated from various crude oil samples and subjected to a series of non-isothermal open-system and closed-system pyrolysis experiments. These experiments allowed a bulk kinetic description of petroleum generation and the derivation of a multi-component kinetic model using the PhaseKinetics approach.


Antonio Martin-Monge, Repsol

Antonio earned a BSc in Geology and a MRes/DEA in Isotope Geochemistry, both from the Universidad de Salamanca, Spain.

He has 15 years of professional experience, 12 of them in the petroleum industry. During his career, he has worked as laboratory technician at the Servicio General de Análisis de Isótopos Estables (SGAIE) of the Universidad de Salamanca in Salamanca (Spain) and at the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre (SUERC) in East Kilbride (UK).

Currently, he is Petroleum Systems Analyst at Repsol Exploración, SA in Madrid, Spain, where he is working in the central subsurface function to provide specialized technical support in petroleum systems modelling and organic geochemistry to units across the E&P division.

Antonio is a member of the AAPG, European Association of Organic Geochemists (EAOG), The Geological Society of London.

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