Coal as a Source Rock for Hydrocarbon Gas in the Aldebaran Sandstone, Denison Trough, Bowen Basin - Geochemical Evidence

Price P L, ; Golding S D,
Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 6
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1991
The Early Permian Aldebaran Sandstone is the main hydrocarbon reservoir in the Denison Trough. Contained hydrocarbon gas has a wet gas index (C1/CI - C4) of between 0.87 and 0.97 (N=10), and constituent methane has 813CPDB values ranging from -51.5 to -36.2% (N=10). These values clearly indicate that the gas is thermogenic rather than biogenic. Considering the predominantly humic nature and maturity of all organic source material for the gas, the methane 813C values are anomalously low, with typical values for humic methane present in natural gas formed at similar maturity levels significantly higher at -26 ¦ 5%o. This suggests that, in addition to disseminated organic matter in underlying marine mudrocks of the Cattle Creek Formation, methane substantially more depleted in 13C was derived from coal seams of the Reids Dome beds, a thick coal measure sequence which underlies the Cattle Creek Formation and, in the south, the Aldebaran Sandstone. This methane is likely to have S13C values of between -75 and -40 oo, based on the known isotopic composition of dry gas trapped in humic coals of similar rank in the Sydney Basin and elsewhere in the Bowen Basin. In addition to the low methane S13C values, the contribution of coal seam methane would explain the fact that, (1) methane S13C values do not show the normal increase with decreasing gas wetness, and (2)013C%o (ethane-methane) values do not show the expected decrease with decreasing gas wetness. The presence of co-existing, isotopically heavy CO2 (S13C = +2.0 to +3.4%0, N=3) in the Glentulloch and Merivale Fields is consistent with the view that natural gas in the Aldebaran Sandstone is in part coal seam derived.
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