Application of Organic Petrology and Raman Spectroscopy in Thermal Maturity Determination of the Karoo Basin (RSA) Shale Samples

Vongani Chabalala, Nikki Wagner, Nandi Malumbazo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

An assessment performed using raman spectroscopy has found space in the black shales of the Cisuralian-age rocks of the Karoo Basin in South Africa, particularly those from the Guadalupian Ripon, Cisuralian Whitehill and Prince Albert Formations. It is used in conjunction with geochemical screening techniques such as organic petrology and programmed pyrolysis. In turn, the combination of these techniques is used for the assessment of the thermal maturity of the sedimentary organic matter from the perspective of hydrocarbon generation, retention, and expulsion. To provide further understanding of the black shales in the Cisuralian-age rocks of the Karoo Basin in South Africa, this study focuses on the characterization of samples from the KWV−01 borehole drilled in the southeastern Karoo Basin. In addition, the USA Devonian/Carboniferous Berea Sandstone project samples were included for comparison, and were used as a quality assurance measure. Organic petrology was utilized to assess the organic quality and thermal maturity of the black shales. The results obtained showed that the Karoo Basin shales are overmature, containing an abundance of solid bitumen, and this often characterizes a shale reservoir with moveable hydrocarbons (shale gas). The programmed pyrolysis analysis conducted on the black shales of the Karoo Basin yielded artifact results, as they were determined from a very low and poorly defined S2 peak. This indicated the shales to be overmature and categorized them to be of poor hydrocarbon generation potential. Raman spectroscopy was used to gain insights about the molecular structure of the black shales and to assess if this technique could be used as a complimentary tool to determine the thermal maturity of the shale samples. Raman parameters such as G–D1 Band separation, G and D1 band full width at half maximum (Gfwhm and D1fwhm) and G band position were successfully correlated with vitrinite reflectance (RoV), demonstrating a good potential for Raman spectroscopy to predict the thermal maturity of the shales. Overall, the study provides valuable information and knowledge concerning black shale sample characterization (particularly the thermal maturity and molecular structural characterization) in the Karoo Basin, South Africa.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1199
JournalMinerals
Volume13
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023

Keywords

  • D band
  • G band
  • full width at half maximum (FWHM)
  • programmed pyrolysis
  • vitrinite reflectance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Geology

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