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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

AAPG Bulletin


Volume: 65 (1981)

Issue: 4. (April)

First Page: 758

Last Page: 759

Title: Geochemistry of Hydrocarbon Source Rocks, Palo Duro Basin, Texas: ABSTRACT

Author(s): Shirley P. Dutton

Article Type: Meeting abstract


The sparsely drilled Palo Duro basin of the Texas Panhandle remains an exploration frontier. An understanding of source rock geochemistry can aid in evaluation of its hydrocarbon potential. To determine whether sediments in the basin contained sufficient organic matter to generate hydrocarbons, samples collected from 20 geographically widespread wells were analyzed for total organic carbon content (TOC). Highest values of TOC, up to 6.9%, occur in Upper Permian San Andres dolomite in the southern part of the basin. Pennsylvanian and Wolfcampian basinal shales contain up to 2.4% of TOC and are fair to very good source rocks.

Source beds in the Palo Duro basin had to reach sufficiently high temperatures to generate hydrocarbons from disseminated organic matter. Kerogen color and vitrinite reflectance, which indicate maximum paleotemperatures, were studied in all samples containing greater than 0.5% TOC.

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Pennsylvanian and Wolfcampian kerogen is yellow-orange to orange, suggesting that temperatures were high enough to begin to generate hydrocarbons from lipid-rich amorphous organic material. Palo Duro basin samples have a broad range of vitrinite reflectance values, but populations with the lowest reflectance probably indicate the true temperatures that were reached in the basin. The average reflectance in representative Pennsylvanian vitrinite is 0.52%; in Wolfcampian samples the average reflectance is 0.48%. These values are consistent with the kerogen color and suggest that basinal source rocks may have begun to generate hydrocarbons.

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