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Journal of Petroleum Geology, vol.26 (
THE APPLICATION OF ELECTRON SPIN RESONANCE AS A GUIDE TO THE MATURATION AND TYPING
OF ORGANIC MATTER IN THE NORTH SEA
In early electron spin resonance (ESR) analysis of North Sea wells, maturation of organic matter (OM) was expressed in terms of maximum palaeotemperature (MPT) based on North American calibrations that did not consider the influences of kerogen composition or overpressure. In the North Sea, the MPTs were anomalous in overpressured sequences and relative to other indices of OM maturation such as vitrinite reflectance, so the ESR method was abandoned there in geochemical studies. However, early empirical study of North Sea ESR data indicated that, in relation to functions that linked temperature and pore pressure, some ESR parameters were predictable without reference to MPTs.
In order to re-evaluate ESR parameters as indices of OM maturation, the physical factors (temperature and pressure) which affect OM maturation are related in the present paper to the ESR parameters g (spectral position) and Ng (spin density) at six well locations in the northern North Sea. A third ESR parameter, W (line width), is not an effective guide to maturation levels due to its complex relationship to the physical factors and kerogen types. However, cross-plots of W versus g and Ng appear to be as effective as pyrolysis for kerogen typing. Levels of maturation investigated in the North Sea wells range through the equivalent vitrinite reflectance values of about 0.50-1.50%. The values of g and Ng have been differentiated for kerogen type, but undifferentiated values of g have also been studied.
Regression analysis has shown that there are linear relationships between the ESR parameters g and Ng, and the physical factors present-day temperature (To), effective temperature (Te), and differential pressure (Pd). Correlation coefficients for both g(undifferentiated and differentiated) and Ng (differentiated) relative to the physical factors are high; the highest values are for g and Ng relative to Te and Pd (r = -0.950 for gdifferentiated or undifferentiated, r = 0.944-0.976 for Ng differentiated, respectively ). However, correlation coefficients were lower for g and Ng relative to To.
More frequent high correlation coefficients and larger sample populations suggest that g (undifferentiated) is a more reliable index of OM maturation than Ng(differentiated) . However, the estimation of levels of OM maturation is improved if both indices are used together.
* 9, Braefoot Grove, Dalgety Bay, Fife KY11 9YS. email: [email protected]
methods: firstly, it is more sensitive for estimating OM maturation than most other methods; secondly, it can be used to analyze organic matter which is as old as Proterozoic; thirdly, it does not destroy the samples analyzed.
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