Thermal Pyrolysis

A data chart generated by thermal pyrolysis.

A data chart generated by thermal pyrolysis.

Thermal pyrolysis data can be used to generate a cross-plot showing different kerogen types.

Thermal pyrolysis data can be used to generate a cross-plot showing different kerogen types.

Thermal pyrolysis estimates the petroleum potential of a source rock by heating rock samples to a pre-programmed temperature pattern. Released hydrocarbons are monitored by a flame ionization detector (FID), generating two distinct graph peaks: S1 (thermally-distilled free hydrocarbons) and S2 (hydrocarbons generated from the cracking of kerogen). The temperature at which the S2 peak is at a maximum, referred to as “Tmax,” gives an indication of kerogen maturity. Thermal maturity is an especially important factor for consideration because with advanced thermal maturity all rocks appear to be either gas-prone or inert. The amount of CO2 produced during pyrolysis is also qualitatively determined by thermal conductivity detection and is related to the oxygen associated with organic matter in the sample. To aid in analysis, StratoChem utilizes two Rock-Eval 6 instruments and a Source-Rock Analyzer. Pyrolysis data often warns of the presence of contaminants such as diesel or lignite in the drilling fluid system. Moreover, thermal pyrolysis can be used for both traditional and one-run kinetics.