The analysis of oil trapped during secondary migration

Simon C. George, Manzur Ahmed, Keyu Liu, Herbert Volk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Citations (Scopus)


During secondary migration, there is an opportunity for oil to be trapped as fluid inclusions (FIs) within framework grains such as quartz and within diagenetic cements that have a crystalline structure. Oil saturation on migration pathways remains relatively low, so typically fewer oil inclusions get trapped compared with samples from an oil column. Geochemical analysis of the much smaller amounts of inclusion oil present in samples from interpreted oil migration pathways has been attempted for two samples from the Champagny-1 and Delamere-1 wells in the Vulcan Sub-Basin, northern offshore Australia. A combination of petrographic analysis, bulk geochemical inclusion analysis and log evaluation confirmed that both samples were from oil migration pathways. Despite the small number of oil inclusions, reliable geochemical data were acquired from both samples that were significantly above the levels detected for the system and outside-rinse blanks. The FI oil trapped on the interpreted oil migration pathway in Champagny-1 was generated from clay-rich marine source rock with little terrigenous organic matter input. It was generated at peak oil window maturity and correlates best with oils derived from the Late Jurassic Lower Vulcan Formation. In contrast, the Delamere-1 FI oil contains evidence of greater input of terrigenous organic matter and was generated at early oil window maturity. This FI oil also contains a signature of a biodegraded component, which could have been generated either from the Middle Jurassic Plover Formation, or from an older source rock. These data indicate that it is feasible to geochemically map migration pathways across prospects or basins, and to analyse palaeo-oil compositions in oil zones where the few inclusions get trapped. This also suggests that the few oil inclusions that sometimes occur in Proterozoic or Archaean rocks may be analysable in the future, which would provide relatively pristine and robust data on the composition and diversity of Earth's early biosphere. Crown

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1489-1511
Number of pages23
JournalOrganic Geochemistry
Issue number11-12 SPEC. ISS.
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2004
Externally publishedYes


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