Modeling of microbial gas generation: application to the eastern Mediterranean “Biogenic Play”



Biogenic gas is becoming increasingly important as an exploration target in the petroleum industry because it occurs in geologically predictable circumstances and in large quantities at shallow depths as free gas or gas hydrates. As accumulations of biogenic gas result in a subtle synchronization between early generation and early trapping, we integrated a macroscopic model of microbial gas generation within a 3D basin and petroleum system forward simulator. The macroscopic model is based on a microscopic model, which consists in a 1D sedimentary column that accounts for sedimentation, compaction, Darcy flow and Diffusion flow. The organic carbon is the only non-soluble element considered in this version of the model. The dissolved elements are O2, SO42-, H2, CH3COOH, and CH4. Methane is dissolved in water or present as a free phase if its concentration exceeds its solubility at given pressure and temperature. In this microscopic model, the transformation of substrate into biomass is described through a set of logistic equations coupled with the transport equations (advection and diffusion). Based on the microscopic considerations we developed the macroscopic model of low maturity/biogenic gas generation in which hydrocarbons are generated through first order kinetic reactions at low maturity. This macroscopic model is adapted to petroleum system modeling at basin scale with TemisFlow®, which aims to understand and predict hydrocarbon generation, migration, and accumulation. It is composed of: i) A source rock criteria which allow defining the biogenic gas source rocks potential and ii) A kinetic model of methane generation. The previous model has been successfully applied on different basins such as the Carupano Basin from the offshore Venezuela, the Magdalena Delta (offshore Colombia) and the offshore Vietnam where direct observations of low-maturity gas were available. Furthermore, it has been applied in the offshore Lebanon in order to check the viability of a biogenic gas system.


Biogenic Gas; Basin Model; Petroleum System; Eastern Mediterranean

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Geologica Acta (ISSN-1695-6133)
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