Anatomy of a petroleum source rock 

Barry Jay Katz | Chevron

Tuesday, October 24, 2017
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Marriott Hotel, Kensington Ballroom | 110 9 Avenue SW, Calgary, AB T2G 5A6

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1:00 pm, October 17th, 2017
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With the growing global attention in shale gas and shale oil plays there has been a renewed interest in source rock geochemistry.  This has resulted in a number of key questions concerning source characterization, including: 1) how much internal variability might be anticipated; 2) what is the potential impact of the variability on resource assessment; and 3) how best may a source be sampled to "fully" understand its variability?  These questions were examined, in part, through the detailed sampling of the Kimmeridge Clay at the type locality.  A representation of variability was obtained from basic source rock data collected on fresh outcrop samples.  Total organic carbon contents, for this world-class source rock, varied between 0.88 and 21.35 wt.%, with a mean of 9.13 wt.%.  Samples with greater than 1.0 wt.% TOC had total pyrolysis yields ranging between 6.31 and 126.65 mg HC/g rock, with a mean of 54.16 mg HC/g rock.  Hydrogen index values ranged from 240 to 611 mg HC/g TOC, with a mean of 516 mg HC/g TOC.  Even these ranges do not fully capture the variability of the source, if data from elsewhere in the North Sea region are included.  

For example, TOC values exceeding 40 wt% have been measured.   Although the hydrogen index values suggested similar liquid hydrocarbon products at Kimmeridge Bay across the outcrop the variability across the North Sea suggests that there are regions that are more gas-prone character.  The differences in organic carbon content and hydrocarbon yields, which range by more than an order of magnitude, would have direct impact on estimates of both conventional and unconventional resources, if assessments were based on individual discrete samples.  Discrete sampling either from an outcrop or a core commonly results in bias.  Historically, these biases have been skewed toward the more organically enriched samples.  This can be overcome through an increase in the number of samples and the incorporation of lithologic information, so that weighted averages can be generated to obtain a better representation of the unit.  The analysis of cuttings samples introduces a different suite of problems, associated with representativeness and positioning.  Regional variation also needs to be incorporated through an examination of the depositional systems of the unit, ensuring that the key environments are sampled accounting for the impact of factors such as sedimentary dilution, influence of storms, and oxygen content of the water column.  


Barry Katz received his B.S. in geology from Brooklyn College in 1974 and his Ph.D. from the University of Miami in 1979 in marine geology and geophysics.  He received the Perlmutter Award from the Brooklyn College geology department for environmental geology.  At the University of Miami he received the F. G. Walton Smith Prize for outstanding dissertation in marine sciences.  After receiving his doctorate he joined Texaco’s Bellaire Research Center where he held numerous technical and supervisory positions.  He continued with Chevron after the merger in 2001, where he has been part of Chevron’s Energy Technology Company.  He currently serves as a team leader for basin modeling and geochemistry.  His work has focused on the applications of geochemistry, petroleum systems, and lacustrine basins.  He has been engaged in both research and technical support activities and has worked in approximately 50 basins onshore and offshore six continents.  Barry has authored more than 75 papers, has edited five books, and has presented at numerous international conferences.  Dr. Katz has served on M.S. and Ph.D. committees at the University of Houston, University of Miami, and the University of Oklahoma.  

He has organized multiple Hedberg Research Conferences on such topics as lacustrine basin exploration, the South Atlantic margin, the Monterey Formation, and petroleum systems of pre-Devonian systems.  He has served as editor-in-chief of The Open Geology Journal, elected-editor of the Houston Geology Society Bulletin, a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Mining and Geology, as a senior associate editor of the AAPG (American Association of Petroleum Geologists) Bulletin and is currently editor for the AAPG Bulletin and the GCAGS Journal.  He has served as a technical reviewer for an additional ten international journals.  Barry is a member of the American Geophysical Union, AAPG, European Association of Organic Geochemistry, Geochemical Society, Geological Society of America, Houston Geological Society, International Association of Geochemistry, and the Society of Sedimentary Geology.  Dr. Katz has served on the Ocean Drilling Program’s Pollution Prevention and Safety Panel and has been chairman of Integrated Ocean Drilling Program’s Environmental Protection and Safety Panel.  He has also served as chairman of the AAPG Research Committee and has served on the AAPG Publication, Marine Geology, and Technical Program committees.  He was technical program chair for the AAPG International Conference in 2001.  He has received multiple best paper awards from the Nigerian Association of Petroleum Geologists.  He was co-recipient of the Robert H. Dott Memorial Award for best AAPG special publication.  He received the Distinguished Service Award from AAPG and has been granted Honorary Membership by AAPG.  He has also been named a Chevron Fellow for his contributions to both the corporation and the industry as a whole.