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Abstract

Many basin simulators include the option to use calculated biomarker ratios from published first-order kinetic parameters as a means to calibrate thermal history. Published kinetic parameters for many biomarker reactions are based on simplistic and unfounded assumptions of reaction pathways, lack the needed precision, or have insufficient documentation to evaluate their effectiveness. We believe that calibrations of thermal history based on biomarker ratios are less reliable than those based on more common methods, such as vitrinite reflectance and corrected bottom-hole temperatures, because of uncertainty in the reaction mechanisms and kinetic parameters. Some research indicates that certain reactions, such as cyclization of ortho-substituted biphenyls and thermal decomposition of alkyl esters, could provide useful kinetics with which to calibrate basin models, but these efforts have not been pursued by the geochemical community.

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