The utility of methane clumped isotopes to constrain the origins of methane in natural gas accumulations
Daniel A. Stolper, Michael Lawson, Michael J. Formolo, Cara L. Davis, Peter M. J. Douglas, John M. Eiler, 2018. "The utility of methane clumped isotopes to constrain the origins of methane in natural gas accumulations", From Source to Seep: Geochemical Applications in Hydrocarbon Systems, M. Lawson, M.J. Formolo, J.M. Eiler
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Methane clumped-isotope compositions provide a new approach to understanding the formational conditions of methane from both biogenic and thermogenic sources. Under some conditions, these compositions can be used to reconstruct the formational temperatures of the gas, and this capability can be applied to common subsets of both biogenic and thermogenic systems. Additionally, there are examples in which clumped-isotope compositions do not reflect gas-formation temperatures but instead mixing effects and kinetic phenomena; such kinetic effects also occur in common and recognizable subtypes of biogenic and thermogenic gases. Here we review the use of methane clumped-isotope measurements for understanding the origin of methane in the subsurface. We review methane clumped-isotope measurements from numerous biogenic and thermogenic natural gas reservoirs. We then place these measurements in the context of common frameworks for identifying the formational conditions of methane including the use of methane δ13C and δD values and C1/C2–3 ratios. Finally, we propose a framework for how methane clumped isotopes can be used to identify the origin of methane accumulations.
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Hydrocarbon systems, by nature, are a complex interplay of elements that must be spatially and temporally aligned to result in the generation and preservation of subsurface hydrocarbon accumulations. To meet the increasing challenges of discovering hydrocarbon resources, it is essential that we advance our understanding of these systems through new geochemical approaches and analytical developments. Such development requires that academic- and industry-led research efforts converge in ways that are unique to the geosciences.
The aim of this volume is to bring together a multidisciplinary geochemical community from industry and academia working in hydrocarbon systems to publish recent advances and state-of-the-art approaches to resolve the many remaining questions in hydrocarbon systems analysis. From Source to Seep presents geochemical and isotopic studies that are grouped into three themes: (1) source-rock identification and the temperature/timing of hydrocarbon generation; (2) mechanisms and time-scales associated with hydrocarbon migration, trapping, storage and alteration; and (3) the impact of fluid flow on reservoir properties.