ABSTRACT

The present contribution aims for a characterization of microstructure and pore-space distribution of upper Visean Rudov beds, considered the main source rock for conventional oil deposits in the Ukrainian Dneiper–Donets Basin and a prospect for unconventional hydrocarbon production in recent years. Broad ion beam–scanning electron microscopy (SEM) mapping revealed a remarkably heterogeneous microstructure controlled by diagenetic precipitates (Fe/Mg carbonates, albite). Formation of these precipitates is likely triggered by organic matter decomposition and represents an important influencing factor for overall porosity and permeability. Furthermore, shale diagenesis also influences mechanical properties, as suggested by nanoindentation tests. The SEM-visible organic matter porosity is restricted to solid bitumen; although pores less than 2–3 nm in vitrinites of overmature samples are indicated by focused ion beam–SEM results, they cannot be resolved clearly by this method. Pore generation in solid bitumen that likely formed in situ in primary amorphous organic matter already starts at the early oil window in samples from the basinal oil-prone organofacies, whereas most porous solid bitumen at peak oil maturity was interpreted as relicts of primary oil migration, representing an earlier oil phase that predominantly accumulated in quartz-rich layers and became nanoporous during secondary cracking. In the terrestrially dominated transitional to marginal organofacies, pore generation in pyrobitumen resulting from gas generation occurs significantly later and is less intense. Formation of authigenic clay and carbonate minerals within pyrobitumen is likely related to organic acids formed during bitumen decomposition and implies the presence of an aqueous phase even in pores that are apparently filled exclusively with solid bitumen.

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