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The utility of methane clumped isotopes to constrain the origins of methane in natural gas accumulations

By
Daniel A. Stolper
Daniel A. Stolper
Department of Earth and Planetary Science, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA
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Michael Lawson
Michael Lawson
ExxonMobil Upstream Research Company, Spring, TX 77389, USA
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Michael J. Formolo
Michael J. Formolo
ExxonMobil Upstream Research Company, Spring, TX 77389, USA
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Cara L. Davis
Cara L. Davis
ExxonMobil Upstream Research Company, Spring, TX 77389, USA
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Peter M. J. Douglas
Peter M. J. Douglas
Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec H3A 0E8, Canada
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John M. Eiler
John M. Eiler
Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA
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Published:
January 01, 2018

Abstract:

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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Contents

Geological Society, London, Special Publications

From Source to Seep: Geochemical Applications in Hydrocarbon Systems

M. Lawson
M. Lawson
ExxonMobil Upstream Research Company, USA
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M.J. Formolo
M.J. Formolo
ExxonMobil Upstream Research Company, USA
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J.M. Eiler
J.M. Eiler
California Institute of Technology, USA
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Geological Society of London
Volume
468
ISBN electronic:
9781786203687
Publication date:
January 01, 2018

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