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S.B. Nielsen

basin%Ro: A vitrinite reflectance model derived from basin and laboratory data

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The combination of vitrinite reflectance, apatite fission track and present-day borehole temperature data is very useful when performing tectonic and thermal reconstructions in sedimentary basins which, in turn, are essential for assessing risk in hydrocarbon exploration and for testing hypotheses of basin evolution. Releasing the full potential of the combined data set requires that the predictive models are accurate in themselves. Here, we calibrate a new kinetic vitrinite reflectance model 'basin%Ro' using borehole data from a number of sedimentary basins and vitrinite reflectance data from laboratory maturation experiments. The entire data set is inverted for the kinetic parameters of the reflectance model under consideration of uncertainty in the temperature histories of the calibration samples. The method is not sensitive to inconsistent calibration data, which are revealed by significant corrections to the temperature histories. The performance of the model is tested on independent well data from the East China Sea and the Nova Scotian Shelf. The widely used easy%Ro-model overestimates vitrinite reflectance in the interval 0.5-1.7% Ro by up to 0.35%. Delimiting of oil generating intervals by prediction of vitrinite reflectance may lead to significant underestimation of the generative potential, which may call for a revision of some petroleum systems. The overestimation by easy%Ro may have fuelled the idea of pressure retardation of vitrinite reflectance evolution under sedimentary basin conditions, where pressures in fact are too low for this to be important.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBasin Research
IssueSuppl. 1
Pages (from-to)515–536
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2017

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