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Free Content Oil migration makes the difference: regional distribution of carbonate cement 13C in northern North Sea Tertiary sandstones

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Carbonate cements in Tertiary reservoir sandstones from the northern North Sea have distinctive carbon isotopic compositions (13C). Oil migration up faults from deeper structures and biodegradation of oil pools are factors of particular importance in influencing the 13C of carbonate cements in these sandstones. As a result, 13C can be used as an exploration guide to locating the positions of vertical leakoff points from the Jurassic source rocks. The histogram distribution of 13C in these carbonate cements is trimodal, with peaks at around -26, -3 and +12‰ (ranges -22 to -30, +2 to -10 and +8 to +18‰, respectively). Bacterial processes played major roles in determining this distribution, with oxidative biodegradation of oil resulting in carbonate cements with very negative compositions and bacterial fermentation resulting in the positive 13C cements. 13C distribution patterns may be used to differentiate Tertiary reservoir sandstones from Jurassic in the northern North Sea, and these regional carbonate cement 13C datasets allow geologically useful inferences to be drawn from 13C data from new sample locations.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: March 1, 2000

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