Oil-bearing fluid inclusions: Geochemical analysis and geological applications

Simon C. George*, Herbert Volk, Manzur Ahmed

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Reliable geochemical information of similar quality to conventional analyses of crude oils and source rocks can be obtained from oil-bearing fluid inclusions (FI). Carefully controlled analytical procedures including sample clean-up, procedural blanks and attention to detail are essential for the successful analysis of inclusion oils. The procedures are technically challenging, but if they are carefully followed, successfully analysed samples can include not only those with high abundances of oil inclusions, such as in current or palaeo oil reservoirs, but also samples with low amounts of oil inclusions, such as those from oil migration pathways or from very ancient rocks. A full range of hydrocarbons can be measured from inclusions, including low molecular weight hydrocarbons, n-alkanes, isoprenoids, biomarkers and aromatic hydrocarbons. There are many geological applications of the analysis of FI oils. These include better constraining oil charge histories of reservoirs and identifying active source rocks previously unknown in a particular basin. The effects of oil-alteration by biodegradation and/or water washing in the reservoir can be removed, mixing episodes in reservoirs can be deconvoluted, and the effects of drilling mud additives or other contaminants can be eliminated. Furthermore, the hydrocarbon composition and diversity of Earth's early biosphere can be constrained, and secondary migration pathways can be mapped across prospects or basins.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1319-1332
Number of pages14
JournalActa Petrologica Sinica
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Application
  • Geochemical analysis
  • Oil-bearing fluid inclusion


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