ABSTRACT

Whereas the vast majority of discovered hydrocarbon reserves in Iraq reside in Cretaceous and Cenozoic reservoirs, numerous oil and gas fields have been discovered recently in deeper Jurassic and Triassic reservoirs in the Kurdistan region of Iraq. This study presents a Middle–Upper Jurassic thermal maturity map for the Kurdistan region of Iraq and demonstrates that regional first-order trends in Jurassic source rock maturity show a close correlation to the spatial distribution of oil gravities within the overlying Jurassic (and Cretaceous) reservoirs. This distribution is consistent with compartmentalization of the active source rock kitchens due to Zagros folding, resulting in relatively short-distance migration and charge of the anticlinal structures from the adjacent synclinal lows. The thermal maturity map confirms relatively low maturity over the Mosul high, where the Cretaceous and Cenozoic section overlying the source rock interval is relatively thin, and increasing maturity to the southeast as the thickness of the Cenozoic foredeep sediments increases toward the depocenter located in the southeastern Iraqi Zagros and the adjacent Iranian Zagros. The correlative trend in oil gravities is exemplified by the recent Jurassic discoveries: low to medium gravity oils (14–27° API) in Shaikan and Atrush to the northwest, light oil (39–47° API) in Mirawa and Bina Bawi, and gas condensate (55° API) in Miran West to the southeast. Understanding thermal maturity patterns and hydrocarbon fluid-type distributions will help to guide risk assessment for remaining prospectivity and future exploration drilling within the Kurdistan region of Iraq.

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