The shale beds of the Khabour and Akkas Formations (Ordovician–Silurian) in Akkas field of western Iraq have been studied to determine their hydrocarbon-generation potential.
The total organic carbon (TOC) values of the Khabour Formation were generally low and associated with low S2 and hydrogen index (HI) values indicating that this formation is not a hydrocarbon source, although this could reflect advanced thermal maturity. The gray-green shales of the upper part of the Akkas Formation also have low TOC and S2 values. On the other hand, the TOC, S2, and HI values of the black shales of the lower part of the Akkas Formation were high. The values indicate that the gray-green shales of the upper part of the Akkas Formation are not petroleum sources, whereas the black shales of the lower part can be regarded as potential hydrocarbon source rocks. Organic petrology studies reveal that marine amorphous organic matter is predominant, and no significant differences were observed between Khabour and Akkas samples in terms of organic-matter type. Molecular geochemical data also indicate that the kerogen of the two formations is of similar origin. The normal alkane distribution is unimodal, with a maximum at , indicating marine algal organic matter. Rock-Eval and biomarker data indicate that the organic matter of the black shales of the lower part of the Akkas Formation is early mature, whereas the Khabour Formation is highly mature in the Akkas field.