Molecular and isotopic compositions of 51 gas and 7 condensate samples produced from the Barnett Shale were determined by gas chromatography–isotope ratio mass spectrometry to investigate their origin and maturity at the time of generation. Additionally, two hydrous pyrolysis experiments were performed to calibrate maturity values predicted for gas generation.
Molecular and carbon and hydrogen isotopic compositions of the gases indicate that gas produced from the Barnett is thermogenic. To estimate generation maturity, additional analyses were performed on the condensates and available core samples.
Diamondoid indices combined with vitrinite reflectance (Ro) measurements, isotopic and molecular composition, and hydrous pyrolysis experiments suggest that gas produced from the Barnett Shale was generated within the condensate–wet gas window (1.3–2.0% Ro) at a later stage than hydrocarbons accumulated in shallower reservoirs. The origin of the gas is thermogenic, probably derived from both kerogen cracking and secondary cracking of previously generated nonmigrated hydrocarbons. Additionally, the occurrence of a methane isotope reversal in group 1 gases corroborates that in-situ oil or gas cracking is occurring in the easternmost part of the study area.