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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

AAPG Bulletin


Volume: 67 (1983)

Issue: 7. (July)

First Page: 1176

Last Page: 1191

Title: Correlation of Natural Gas by Use of Carbon Isotopic Distribution Between Hydrocarbon Components

Author(s): Alan T. James (2)


The natural distribution of carbon isotopes between hydrocarbon gas components is used for (1) determining a gas's maturity, (2) correlating a reservoired gas to its source, (3) correlating one reservoired gas with another, and (4) recognizing gas mixtures.

Calculated separations of carbon isotopes between the normal alkane components of a natural gas have been related to source rock maturity by use of a single, continuous diagram, independent of source type. Actual data from a wide variety of geologic settings and geologic ages confirm this relationship and demonstrate its applicability to the source rock Levels of Organic Metamorphism ranging from 8 to 13, covering the entire range of oil and wet-gas generation. At greater maturities, the wet-gas components are found to undergo thermal degradation, losing their usefulness for correlation.

Three examples showing indigenous gas (west Texas), non-indigenous gas (Gippsland basin, Australia), and gas mixtures from multiple sources (southeastern Alberta) illustrate exploration applications.

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