Organic matter characteristics and hydrocarbon generative potential of the Miocene Belait Formation, Brunei-Muara district, Brunei Darussalam. J. Petrol.
The characteristics of the source rocks in the early to late Miocene Belait Formation of Brunei Darussalam have been evaluated through the application of Rock-Eval and biomarker analyses, as well as by organic petrographical examination. Analyses have been performed on coal, coaly shale/carbonaceous claystones and shale samples from the Formation, retrieved from outcrops across the Brunei-Muara district, and covering a wide lateral extension of the Formation. The geochemical results indicate that the coal and some carbonaceous samples (with TOC from 14.1% to 67.7%) from the Belait Formation have “good to excellent” generating potential, quantity and quality, due to their high S2 and TOC values, which are consistent with the intermediate hydrogen index (HI) values ranging from 144 to 258 mg HC/g TOC. Organic material of “fair to good” quantity, quality and hydrocarbon generating potential is recorded for the coaly shale samples in the Belait Formation. Non-coal samples generally have the lowest potential as source rocks, due to their low TOC, HI and S2 values. Within the Formation, the coal layers together with a number of coaly shale and shale layers contain type III (gas prone) and type II-III (mixed oil and gas) kerogens. This is proven by the dominance of huminite, often of fluorescent varieties, which is confirmed though maceral analysis, as well as a trend of n-alkanes skewed towards heavier compounds. Evidence of the possible generation of liquid hydrocarbon is offered by the fact that liptinite is the second most abundant maceral group in most of the samples, as well as by the perhydrous nature of part of the huminite. Furthermore, kerogen type IV (dry gas) has been identified in a majority of the coaly shale samples. Facies analysis of the Belait Formation through the use of maceral indices and biomarkers data indicates that the coals were deposited in a mangrove setting in a lower delta plain, where mainly herbaceous and arboreal plants were growing. The depositional conditions were predominantly oxic, with a possible marine influence, and hence brackish conditions. All samples are found to be thermally immature to early mature, with Tmax values ranging from 356 °C to 441 °C, huminite reflectance values of up to 0.46% and high carbon preference index (CPI) values.