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Pyrolysis S2-peak characteristics of Raniganj shales (India) reflect complex combinations of kerogen kinetics and other processes related to different levels of thermal maturity

David A. Wood, Bodhisatwa Hazra

(Published: 2018-08-01)

Corresponding Author and Email:David A. Wood,

Citation:Wood, D.A., Hazra, B. Pyrolysis S2-peak characteristics of raniganj shales (India) reflect complex combinations of kerogen kinetics and other processes related to different levels of thermal maturity. Advances in Geo-Energy Research, 2018, 2(4): 343-368, doi: 10.26804/ager.2018.04.01.

Article Type:Original article


The Permian shales of the Raniganj basin, India, have experienced a dramatic burial history of rapid subsidence (Jurassic-Early Cretaceous) followed by igneous intrusion (Cretaceous) and rapid uplift and erosion (Late Cretaceous-Tertiary). This has left these shales with mixed kerogen macerals with a characteristic thermal signature, ranging from early mature to post mature, which is reflected in the characteristics of their pyrolysis S2 peak. Many of these shales are today at peak thermal maturity but reached that condition more than 100 million years ago. They have significant potential to be exploited as a shale gas resource and their S2 peak characteristics should help to identify sweet spots for such exploitation. Here we analyze single-rate and multi-rate heating ramp Rock-Eval data from a suite of these shales at varying stages of thermal maturity. The S2 peak shapes provide significant insight to the kerogen kinetics involved in their thermal evolution. However, detailed fitting of the peak shapes with kerogen-kinetic mixing models indicate that factors other than static first-order reaction kinetics are also involved in their S2-peak-shape characteristics. Such factors likely include the catalytic effects, influenced by sulfur and charcoal, on some kerogen components, and kerogen pore-size distribution changes during their complex burial and thermal maturation histories. It is likely that the peak-mature shales contain significant, already generated, gas trapped within some of the kerogen nanopores that may be released during the S2 pyrolysis heating ramp rather than during the S1 heating ramp. This causes the S2 peak to broaden in the mature shales, a characteristic that could be used as an exploration marker for zones best suited to shale gas exploitation.

Keywords:Kerogen kinetics from pyrolysis, gas-prone shales India, Rock-Eval variable heating rates, shale kinetic/physical properties, S2-peak-shape characterization.


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