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Twenty thousand samples from the Brazilian continental shelf basins were analyzed to characterize and evaluate the hydrocarbon source potential of the areas.
The geochemical evaluation of the rock and oil samples was performed by organic carbon determinations, Rock-Eval pyrolysis, vitrinite reflectance, thermal alteration index, liquid and gas chromatographies, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, and carbon isotope analyses.
Three source rock systems have been identified: lower Neocomian shales deposited in a continental environment, upper Neocomian shales grading from continental to lagoonal environment, and Aptian shales related to evaporitic and lacustrine sequences.
Upper Cretaceous and Tertiary open marine slope sediments are not considered as source rocks. Locally, these sediments present high organic carbon content but show an extremely poor hydrocarbon yield. Anoxic depositional conditions, nevertheless, can be traced locally along some levels of the Santonian to Cenomanian shales and marls. These sediments are generally immature in the Brazilian margin basins and no oil was generated from this section.
Three oil families were distinguished through oil-to-oil and oil-to-source rock correlations: the lower Neocomian continental type, the upper Neocomian continental to lagoonal type, and the Aptian evaporitic to lacustrine related sequences.
The geochemical studies, together with geologic and geophysical data, provided the basis to display some models for the migration pathways and habitat of oils in the Brazilian margin basins.
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