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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

AAPG Bulletin


Volume: 65 (1981)

Issue: 7. (July)

First Page: 1363

Last Page: 1363

Title: Hydrothermal Approach to Petroleum Exploration: ABSTRACT

Author(s): W. H. Roberts, III

Article Type: Meeting abstract


In sedimentary basins the accumulation of raw materials to form oil and gas deposits is in many ways similar to the accumulation of materials to form mineral (ore) deposits. Logic suggests that in either case the job can hardly be done without an active water system, functioning as both solvent and vehicle for the raw materials. Members of the mining community have no problem with this concept. A majority of the petroleum people (especially in the Western Hemisphere), however, seem to have a chronic aversion to water.

The mining and the petroleum people are both working in the same environment of water-wet sedimentary material. It can be shown that some similarities of petroleum and mineral accumulations are not just coincidence. They are essential functions common to both systems.

An important similarity of petroleum and mineral accumulations, and the main topic of this paper, is the hydrothermal regime. In both systems, hydrothermal conditions are supported by field and laboratory evidence. Such evidence has been used effectively in mineral exploration for many years. There is good reason to believe it can be used in petroleum exploration. If moving waters carry raw materials for oil and gas deposits, and temperatures can be used to track those waters, then the temperatures may also point toward possible oil and gas deposits. As with mineral deposits, places of interest could be where depressuring and cooling associated with upward movements of enriched waters are likely to cause hydrocarbon fall-out.

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Copyright 1997 American Association of Petroleum Geologists