Microscopic and chemical analysis of 85 rock samples from exploratory wells and outcrops in northern Iraq indicate that limestone, black shale, and marl within the Middle Jurassic Sargelu Formation contain abundant oil-prone organic matter. For example, one 7-m (23-ft) thick section averages 442 mg HC/g S2 and 439°C Tmax (Rock-Eval pyrolysis analyses) and 16 wt% TOC. The organic matter, comprised principally of brazinophyte algae, dinoflagellate cysts, spores, pollen, foraminiferal test linings, and phytoclasts, was deposited in a distal, suboxic to anoxic basin and can be correlated with kerogens classified as Type A and Type B or, alternatively as Type II. The level of thermal maturity is within the oil window with TAI = 3‾ to 3+, based on microspore color of light yellowish brown to brown. Accordingly, good hydrocarbon generation potential is predicted for this formation. Terpane and sterane biomarker distributions, as well as stable isotope values, were determined for oils and potential source rock extracts to determine valid oil-to-source rock correlations. Two subfamily carbonate oil types-one of Middle Jurassic age (Sargelu) carbonate rock and the other of Upper Jurassic/Cretaceous age-as well as a different oil family related to Triassic marls, were identified based on multivariate statistical analysis (HCA & PCA). Middle Jurassic subfamily A oils from Demir Dagh oil field correlate well with rich, marginally mature, Sargelu source rocks in well MK-2 near the city of Baiji. In contrast, subfamily B oils have a greater proportion of R28 steranes, indicating they were generated from Upper Jurassic/Lower Cretaceous carbonates such as those at Gillabat oil field north of Mansuriyah Lake. Oils from Gillabat field thus indicate a lower degree of correlation with the Sargelu source rocks than do oils from Demir Dagh field. One-dimension, petroleum-system models of key wells were developed using IES PetroMod Software to evaluate burial-thermal history, source-rock maturity, and the timing and extent of petroleum generation; interpreted well logs served as input to the models. The oil-generation potential of sulfur-rich Sargelu source rocks was simulated using closed-system, Type II-S kerogen kinetics. Model results indicate that throughout northern Iraq generation and expulsion of oil from the Sargelu began and ended in the late Miocene. At present, Jurassic source rocks might have generated and expelled between 70 and 100% of their total oil.


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