Petroleum geochemistry of the Potwar Basin, Pakistan: 1. Oil - oil correlation using biomarkers, δ13C and δD
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Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.
Geochemical characterisation of 18 crude oils from the Potwar Basin (Upper Indus), Pakistan is carried out in this study. Their relative thermal maturities, environment of deposition, source of organic matter (OM) and the extent of biodegradation based on the hydrocarbon (HC) distributions are investigated. A detailed oil–oil correlation of the area is established. Gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC–MS) analyses and bulk stable carbon and hydrogen isotopic compositions of saturated and aromatic HC fractions reveals three compositional groups of oils. Most of the oils from the basin are typically generated from shallow marine source rocks. However, group A contains terrigenous OM deposited under highly oxic/fluvio-deltaic conditions reflected by high pristane/phytane (Pr/Ph), C30 diahopane/C29Ts, diahopane/hopane and diasterane/sterane ratios and low dibenzothiophene (DBT)/phenanthrene (P) ratios. The abundance of C19-tricyclic and C24-tetracyclic terpanes are consistent with a predominant terrigenous OM source for group A. Saturated HC biomarker parameters from the rest of the oils show a predominant marine origin, however groups B and C are clearly separated by bulk δ13C and δD and the distributions of the saturated HC fractions supporting variations in source and environment of deposition of their respective source rocks. Moreover, various saturated HC biomarker ratios such as steranes/hopanes, diasteranes/steranes, C23-tricyclic/C30 hopane, C28-tricyclic/C30 hopane, total tricyclic terpanes/hopanes and C31(R + S)/C30 hopane show that two different groups are present.These biomarker ratios show that group B oils are generated from clastic-rich source rocks deposited under more suboxic depositional environments compared to group C oils. Group C oils show a relatively higher input of algal mixed with terrigenous OM, supported by the abundance of extended tricyclic terpanes (up to C41+) and steranes. Biomarker thermal maturity parameters mostly reached to their equilibrium values indicating that the source rocks for Potwar Basin oils must have reached the early to peak oil generation window, while aromatic HC parameters suggest up to late oil window thermal maturity. The extent of biodegradation of the Potwar Basin oils is determined using various saturated HC parameters and variations in bulk properties such as API gravity. Groups A and C oils are not biodegraded and show mature HC profiles, while some of the oils from group B show minor levels of biodegradation consistent with high Pr/n-C17, Ph/n-C18 and low API gravities.
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