Maturity Determination of Contaminated Source Rocks by Pyrolysis and Thermal Oxidation Methods: A Review

Sedat İnan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Open system pyrolysis (e.g., Rock–Eval) is widely used screening technique for hydrocarbon source rock characterization. It is preferred because it is rapid, practical and cost-effective. However, some pitfalls exist due mainly to sample conditions and care must be exercised. One of the major problems occurs when source rock samples are contaminated by organic additives from the drilling fluids. Analyses of contaminated samples inevitably result in misrepresentative conclusions, possibly leading to incorrect directions. This paper revisits some previously reported problems due to contamination and discusses available remedies. Decontaminating source rock samples is conventionally accomplished by solvent extraction. However, a recent method called thermo-vaporization is equally successful in decontaminating samples prior to pyrolysis. In the case of concern about determining the true thermal maturity of samples contaminated with persistent contaminants, we remind the reader and discuss a recently proposed method, namely Oxidation Tmax. Finally, although pyrolysis is a rapid screening technique, sole dependence upon pyrolysis for petroleum source rock characterization must be avoided. At the least, for some selected samples, assessments should be based on integrated organic geochemical and organic petrographic analysis methods.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvances in Science, Technology and Innovation
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Publication series

NameAdvances in Science, Technology and Innovation
ISSN (Print)2522-8714
ISSN (Electronic)2522-8722

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG.


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