Stable carbon isotopic compositions of individual aromatic hydrocarbons as source and age indicators in oils from western Australian basins
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The present study aims to establish the factors controlling the stable carbon isotopic compositions (d13C) of individual aromatic hydrocarbons analysed by compound specific isotope analysis (CSIA) in crude oils from western Australian petroleum basins of varying age and facies type. This paper reports d13C values of individual aromatic hydrocarbons, like alkylbenzenes, alkylnaphthalenes, alkylphenanthrenes and methylated biphenyls. The main aims are to confirm the origin (source) and age of these oils based on CSIA of selected aromatic compounds and to understand why the Sofer plot is ineffective in establishing the source of western Australian petroleum systems. The bulk d13C of saturated and aromatic hydrocarbon fractions of crude oils have been previously used to differentiate sources, however, many Australian crude oils are not classified correctly using this method. The oils were classified as marine by the d13C values of individual aromatic compounds and as terrigenous based on the bulk d13C data (Sofer plot). The oils where the d13C values of 1,6-DMN and 1,2,5-TMN isomers are most negative are indicative of a marine source, whereas oils with a less negative values for the 1,6-DMN and 1,2,5-TMN isomers are derived from marine source rocks that contain a significant terrigenous component. Similarly, oils with the least negative d13C values for the 1-MP and 1,9-DMP isomers reflect varying inputs of terrigenous organic matter to the their marine source rocks. Plots of P/DBT and Pr/Ph concentration ratios versus d13C values of DMP, 1,6-DMN, 1,2,5-TMN, 1-MP and 1,9-MP are constructed to establish the relative amount of terrigenous organic matter contributing to the source rock of a series of marine oils. The ratios of P/DBT and Pr/Ph plotted against the d13C values of the aromatic isomers (such as 1,6-DMN, 1,2,5-TMN, 1-MP and 1,9-MP) provide a novel and convenient way to discriminate crude oils derived from different source rocks that contain varying amounts of marine and terrigenous organic matter.
NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Organic Geochemistry. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Organic Geochemistry, vol. 42, issue 4, 2011, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.orggeochem.2011.02.005
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