Using Basin Modeling to Reduce Petroleum Exploration Risk

Basin modeling (also spelled basin modelling) is the process of using either proprietary or commercially available software to assess charge risk by integrating diverse geological and engineering data types into a model of one or more petroleum systems active in an area being explored. The scale of the model may range in size from a single drilling prospect to an entire basin. The resulting model is an interactive tool that the geologist can use to:

  • Test what the impact on prospect charge would be from changes in various assumptions (e.g., source characteristics),
  • Assess the charge risk associated with each of the various elements of a given petroleum system (e.g., determine if there is adequate source richness, sufficient source volume, adequate source maturity, appropriate timing of generation relative to timing of trap formation, etc.), and
  • Estimate the volume of petroleum generated from a given volume of source rock(s), the volume of petroleum expelled from the source rock, the petroleum losses during migration, and ultimately the quantity of petroleum delivered to the trap(s).

Depending on the sophistication of the model (and of the data upon which the model is based), the basin model may help the geologist address issues such as:

  • The timing of hydrocarbon generation relative to the timing a trap formation.
  • The volumes of hydrocarbons delivered to a trap (e.g. Figure 1).
  • The hydrocarbon type (liquid vs. gas and their relative proportions) likely to be currently present in the trap (e.g. Figure 1).
  • The physical properties (PVT) of the hydrocarbon charge.
  • The possible migration paths to the prospect (e.g. Figure 1).
  • The possible post-charge loss of hydrocarbons from the trap (leakage through seal, tilt and spill of trap, thermal cracking, biodegradation, etc.).

Basin models are constructed by integrating various types of geological and geochemical data (e.g., see Welte et al., 1997, for a review).

The thermal maturation history components of models are calibrated with various petrographic and geochemical thermal maturity parameters measured on rocks (e.g., vitrinite reflectance data, Rock Eval data, apatite fission track data, fluid inclusion data) and oils (e.g., biomarker maturity parameters)

The RESPONSE of the source rocks to increasing maturation (i.e., WHEN in the maturation history a source rock generates hydrocarbons, and how the relative proportions of oil vs. gas change with increasing maturation) is modeled using source rock kinetics data. The critical importance of using appropriate kinetics data in constructing a model has been reviewed by numerous authors (e.g., Jarvie, 1991; Espitalie et al., 1993; Andresen et al., 1993; Welte et al., 1997). Possible choices for source rock kinetics data include:

  • kinetic data from analogous source rocks (when samples of the source rock being modeled are unavailable), or
  • custom source rock kinetics data specific to the source interval in the model (measured on samples of the source rock itself), or
  • custom source rock kinetic parameters measured on the asphaltenes of migrated oils generated by that source rock. This later approach is particularly powerful since it allows custom kinetics data to be used in a model even when samples of the source rock being modeled are not available (e.g., Jarvie et al., 2002; Skeje et al., 2003).

Either 1D, 2D, or 3D basin modeling (basin modelling) may be performed. The choice of model type and sophistication depends on the data available, the project goals, and the time/ funding available to construct the model. The reference section below lists a variety of excellent studies that have used various types of basin modeling to address a wide range of exploration problems.

Which basin modeling software package is appropriate for a given project also depends on a variety of factors, including the project goals, the available data (geological and geochemical) for constructing the model, and the financial resources available for the project. The OilTracers LLC scientists have chosen NOT to endorse specific basin modeling software packages on this web site, but we are willing to discuss the relative merits of individual software solutions if we receive a specific inquiry.

Figure 1: For a structure in the Qatar area, this basin model allows the user to calculate and display the maturity of the source rock in the surrounding area (the colored map), the outline of the fetch area (red line), the migration paths (light green lines) within the fetch area, and a probability distribution of both gas and oil charge volumes for the structure. A model such as the one shown here allows the geologist to rapidly determine and visualize key aspects of the petroleum system (such as petroleum charge volumes) that are NOT modeled by traditional 3D basin simulators. The model shown here can run 1000 realizations in less than a minute on a desktop computer, allowing the user to quantify the probability of charge for a petroleum prospect. Graphic courtesy of ZetaWare, Inc.
Basin-Modeling-Qatar

For more information on basin modeling (basin modelling), or to discuss a specific project, e-mail us at info@oiltracers.com or call us at U.S. (214) 584-9169.

References

Andresen, P., N. Mills, H. J. Schenk, and B. Horsfield, 1993, The importance of kinetic parameters in modelling oil and gas generation a case study in 1D from well 2/4-14, in A. G. Doré, J. H. Augustson, C. Hermanrud, D. J. Steward, and O. Sylta, eds., Basin Modelling: Advances and Applications: Special Publication, v. 3: Elsevier, Amsterdam, Norwegian Petroleum Society, p. 563-571.

Burrus, J., E. Brosse, G. C. de Janvry, Y. Grosjean, and J. L. Oudin, 1992, Basin modelling in the Mahakam Delta based upon the integrated 2D modelTemispack: Jakarta: Proceedings of the Indonesian Petroleum Association, p. 23-43.

Dahl, B., E. Nysaether, G. C. Speer, and A. Yukler, 1987, Oseberg area--integrated basin modelling, in J. Brooks, and K. Glennie, eds., Petroleum Geology of North West Europe: London, Graham and Trotman, p. 1029-1038.

Dahl, B., and M. A. Yukler, 1991, The role of petroleum geochemistry in basin modeling of the Oseberg area, North Sea, in R. K. Merril, ed., Source and migration processes and evaluation techniques: Treatise of Petroleum Geology, Handbook of Petroleum Geology: Tulsa, AAPG, p. 65-85.

de B. Penteado, H. L., D. C. de Oliveira, C. Magnier, and A. A. Bender, 2000, Long Distance Oil Migration in the Potiguar Basin, Northeastern Brazil: Insights from 2D Basin Modeling, in L. A. F. Trindade, A. C. Macedo, and S. M. Barbanti, eds., New Perspectives on Organic Geochemistry for the Third Millennium, Proceedings, 7th Latin-American Congress on Organic Geochemistry, 22-26 October, 2000, Foz do Iguacu, Brazil, ALAGO, p. 399-401.

De Barros Penteado, H. L., D. C. De Oliveira, C. Magnier, and A. A. Bender, 2001, Oil migration and biodegradation in the Potiguar basin, northeastern Brazil: insights from 2D basin modelling, 20th International Meeting on Organic Geochemistry, Nancy, France 10-14 September 2001 (abstracts), v. 1, p. 475-476.

di Primio, R., and B. Horsfield, 1996, Gas Generation in Overpressured Compartments: Implications from Geochemistry and Basin Modelling, in E. Gomez, L. Martinez Cortez, and A. Martinez Cortez, eds., Memorias del V Congresso Latinoamericano de Geoquimica Organica, Cancun, Mexico, October 6-10, 1996, ALAGO, p. 45-46.

Duppenbecker, S. J., and T. Dodd, 1993, Petroleum charge model for Brent accumulations--application of integrated basin modelling, 5th Conference of European Association of Petroleum Geoscientists and Engineers Abstracts: Norway, Stavanger, p. F028.

Espitalie, J., F. Marquis, and S. Drouet, 1993, Critical study of kinetic modelling parameters, in A. G. Doré, J. H. Augustson, C. Hermanrud, D. J. Steward, and O. Sylta, eds., Basin Modelling: Advances and Applications: Special Publication, v. 3: Elsevier, Amsterdam, Norwegian Petroleum Society, p. 233-242.

George, S. C., N. J. Russell, T. E. Ruble, M. Lisk, and P. J. Eadington, 1999, The use of oil inclusion geochemistry and basin modelling for assessing oil charge history: Blackback oil field, Gippsland Basin, Australia: 19th International Meeting on Organic Geochemistry, 6-10 September 1999, Istanbul, Turkey, v. Abstracts Part I, p. 111-113.

Gonclaves, F. T. T., C. A. Mora, F. Cordoba, E. C. Kairuz, and B. N. Giraldo, 2002, Petroleum generation and migration in the Putumayo Basin, Colombia: Insights from an organic geochemistry and basin modeling study in the foothills: Marine and Petroleum Geology, v. 19, p. 711-725.

Greber, E., W. Leu, D. Bernoulli, M. E. Schumacher, and R. Wyss, 1997, Hydrocarbon provinces in the Swiss Southern Alps--a gas geochemistry and basin modelling study: Marine and Petroleum Geology, v. 14, p. 3-26.

Hermanrud, C., 1993, Basin modelling techniques-an overview, in A. G. Dore, J. H. Auguston, C. Hermanrud, D. S. Stewart, and O. Sylta, eds., Basin modelling: advances and applications, v. 3, Norwegian Petroleum Society (NPF) Special Publication, p. 1-34.

Hosgörmez, H., and M. N. Yalcin, 2002, Determination of Possible Source Rocks of Pure Thermogenic Gas Occurrences in the Thrace Basin (Turkey) by Stable Isotope Geochemistry and Basin Modelling., in A. Rangel, F. Goncalves, P. Parra, and C. M. Hernández, eds., 8th Latin-American Congress on Organic Geochemistry, October 20th-24th 2002 Cartagena de Indias, Colombia: Cartagena de Indias, Latin American Association of Organic Geochemistry - ALAGO, p. 199-201.

Jabour, H., and K. Nakayama, 1988, Basin Modeling of Tadla Basin, Morocco, for Hydrocarbon Potential: AAPG Bulletin, v. 72, p. 1059-1073.

Jarvie, D. M., 1991, Factors affecting Rock-Eval derived kinetic parameters: Chemical Geology, v. 93, p. 79-99.

Jarvie, D. M., V. Dieckmann, R. di Primio, and B. Horsfield, 2002, Oil Asphaltene Kinetics: Constraints and Comparison to source rock kinetics., in A. Rangel, F. Goncalves, P. Parra, and C. M. Hernández, eds., 8th Latin-American Congress on Organic Geochemistry, October 20th-24th 2002 Cartagena de Indias, Colombia: Cartagena de Indias, Latin American Association of Organic Geochemistry - ALAGO, p. 273-275.

Kacewicz, M., J. Curiale, G. Blake, M. Filewicz, J. Finstuen, and B. Johnson, 2000, 2D Basin Modeling in Deep Water Espirito Santo Basin (Brazil), in L. A. F. Trindade, A. C. Macedo, and S. M. Barbanti, eds., New Perspectives on Organic Geochemistry for the Third Millennium, Proceedings, 7th Latin-American Congress on Organic Geochemistry, 22-26 October, 2000, Foz do Iguacu, Brazil, ALAGO, p. 178.

Leischner, K., D. H. Welte, and R. Littke, 1993, Fluid inclusions and organic maturity parameters as calibration tools in basin modelling, in A. G. Doré, J. H. Augustson, C. Hermanrud, D. J. Steward, and O. Sylta, eds., Basin Modelling: Advances and Applications: Special Publication, v. 3: Elsevier, Amsterdam, Norwegian Petroleum Society, p. 161-172.

Maldonado, R., L. Medrano, N. Holguin, and M. Titus, 2002, 2D Basin Modeling in Marbella Area, Litoral de Tabasco, Mexico, in A. Rangel, F. Goncalves, P. Parra, and C. M. Hernández, eds., 8th Latin-American Congress on Organic Geochemistry, October 20th-24th 2002 Cartagena de Indias, Colombia: Cartagena de Indias, Latin American Association of Organic Geochemistry - ALAGO, p. 229-231.

Masterson, W. D., 2001, Petroleum Filling History of Central Alaskan North Slope Fields: Ph.D. thesis, University of Texas at Dallas, Dallas (May 2001), 159 p.

Medrano, M. L., R. Maldonado, M. Titus, and N. Holguin, 2002, 2D Basin Modeling offshore Macuspana Basin, Mexico, in A. Rangel, F. Goncalves, P. Parra, and C. M. Hernández, eds., 8th Latin-American Congress on Organic Geochemistry, October 20th-24th 2002 Cartagena de Indias, Colombia: Cartagena de Indias, Latin American Association of Organic Geochemistry - ALAGO, p. 284-288.

Mukhopadhyay, P. K., 1994, Vitrinite reflectance as a maturity parameter: Petrographic and molecular characterization and its applications to basin modeling, in P. K. Mukhopadhyay, and W. G. Dow, eds., Vitrinite reflectance as a maturity parameter: Applications and limitations. ACS Symposium series 570: Washington, DC, American Chemical Society, p. 1-24.

Rodriguez, J. F. R., and R. Littke, 2001, Petroleum generation and accumulation in the Golfo San Jorge Basin, Argentina: a basin modeling study: Marine and Petroleum Geology, v. 18, p. 995-1028.

Rudkiewicz, J.-L., H. L. d. B. Penteado, A. Vear, M. Vandenbroucke, F. Brigaud, J. Wendebourg, and S. Düppenbecker, 2000, Chapter 3 Integrated Basin Modeling Helps to Decipher Petroleum Systems, in M. R. Mello, and B. J. Katz, eds., Petroleum Systems of South Atlantic Margins: AAPG Memoir, v. 73: Tulsa, AAPG.

Schegg, R., C. Cornford, and W. Leu, 1999, Migration and accumulation of hydrocarbons in the Swiss Molasse Basin: implications of a 2D basin modeling study: Marine and Petroleum Geology, v. 16, p. 511-532.

Schneider, F., J. M. Gaulier, S. Wolf, I. Faille, and D. Pot, 2000, Quantitative HC Potential Evaluation Using 3D Basin Modeling: Application to Congo Offshore, in L. A. F. Trindade, A. C. Macedo, and S. M. Barbanti, eds., New Perspectives on Organic Geochemistry for the Third Millennium, Proceedings, 7th Latin-American Congress on Organic Geochemistry, 22-26 October, 2000, Foz do Iguacu, Brazil, ALAGO, p. 390-392.

Schneider, F., and S. Wolf, 2000, Quantitative HC potential evaluation using 3D basin modelling: application to Franklin structure, Central Graben, North Sea, UK: Marine and Petroleum Geology, v. 17, p. 841-856.

Skeie, J. E., R. di Primio, and D. A. Karlsen, 2003, An integrated basin modelling study applying asphaltene kinetics from reservoired petroleum in the Snorre area, northern North Sea, in J. Cubbitt, W. England, S. Larter, and G. Macleod, eds., Conference Abstracts: Geochemistry of Reservoirs II: Linking Reservoir Engineering and Geochemical Models (Geological Society of London, February 3-4, 2003), Geological Society of London.

Summa, L. L., R. J. Pottorf, T. F. Schwarzer, and W. Harrison, 1993, Paleohydrology of the Gulf of Mexico: development of compactional overpressure and timing of hydrocarbon migration relative to cementation, in A. G. Doré, and et al., eds., Basin Modelling: Advances and Applications: Special Publication, v. 3, Norwegian Petroleum Society, p. 641-656.

Theis, N. J., H. H. Nielson, J. K. Sales, and G. J. Gail, 1993, Impact of data integration on basin modelling in the Barents Sea, in A. G. Doré, J. H. Augustson, C. Hermanrud, D. J. Steward, and O. Sylta, eds., Basin Modelling: Advances and Applications: Special Publication, v. 3: Elsevier, Amsterdam, Norwegian Petroleum Society, p. 623-640.

Welte, D. H., B. Horsfield, and D. R. Baker, 1997, Petroleum and basin evolution: insights from petroleum geochemistry, geology and basin modeling: New York, Springer, xxiv, 535 p.

Welte, D. H., and M. N. Yalcin, 1988, Basin modeling-A new comprehensive method in petroleum geology, in L. Mattavelli, and L. Novelli, eds., Advances in Organic Geochemistry 1987, Organic Geochemistry, v. 13, p. 141-151.

Welte, D. H., M. A. Yukler, M. Radke, D. Leythaeuser, U. Mann, and U. Ritter, 1983, Organic geochemistry and basin modelling-- Important tools in petroleum exploration, in J. Brooks, ed., Petroleum Geochemistry and Exploration of Europe, Blackwell Scientific Publications, p. 237-252.

  • Weatherford Laboratories | 3500 Oak Lawn Avenue, Ste 350 | Dallas, TX 75219
  • Phone: 214.584.9169 | Fax: 214.599.9057 | Email: info@oiltracers.com
  •  
  • Copyright © 2011 Weatherford International Ltd. All rights reserved. | Terms Of Use | Sitemap