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Biomarker chemistry and flux quantification methods for natural petroleum seeps and produced oils, offshore southern California

February 28, 2012

Sustained, natural oil seepage from the seafloor is common off southern California, and is of great interest to resource managers, who are tasked with distinguishing natural from anthropogenic oil sources. The major purpose of this study was to build upon the work previously funded by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) that has refined the oil-fingerprinting process to enable differentiation of the highly similar Monterey Formation oils from Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) production and adjacent natural seeps. In these initial studies, biomarker and stable carbon isotope ratios were used to infer the age, lithology, organic-matter input, and depositional environment of the source rocks for 388 samples of produced crude oil, seep oil, and tarballs mainly from coastal California. The analysis resulted in a predictive model of oil source families that could be applied to samples of unknown origin.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2011
Title Biomarker chemistry and flux quantification methods for natural petroleum seeps and produced oils, offshore southern California
DOI 10.3133/sir20115210
Authors T.D. Lorenson, Ira Leifer, Florence L. Wong, Robert J. Rosenbauer, Pamela L. Campbell, Angela Lam, Frances D. Hostettler, Jens Greinert, David P. Finlayson, Eliza S. Bradley, Bruce P. Luyendyk
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Scientific Investigations Report
Series Number 2011-5210
Index ID sir20115210
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center