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Comparison of measured versus modeled TOC in the Tuscaloosa marine shale of Southwestern Mississippi, U.S.A.

April 6, 2024

This study presents a comparison of measured versus modeled total organic carbon (TOC) in the Upper Cretaceous Tuscaloosa marine shale (TMS) of southwestern Mississippi as a case study to evaluate the effects of mineralogy on the TOC estimated from the ΔlogR method. The ΔlogR method is utilized to calculate TOC, which involves baselining sonic transit time and resistivity log curves in a non-source rock section of the formation. In our application, the well log curves were baselined in the upper TMS, which is described as a non-source rock section, and in the lower TMS above the high resistivity zone (HRZ), which is described as having a higher carbonate content. The ΔlogR calculated TOC values from these two baselining approaches show that the lower baseline results in improved agreement between measured TOC and calculated TOC. This improvement is likely to be due to the lower baseline accounting for the increase in resistivity caused by higher carbonate content, in addition to any presence of TOC. The upper baseline, which has a lower carbonate content, does not account for this resistivity increase. Additionally, sample type appears to affect the comparison of measured and ΔlogR calculated TOC. Most of the samples used in this study are legacy cuttings that were not preserved during storage, exposing the high surface area cuttings to increased rates of oxidation, whereas geophysical logs record the rock properties in situ. To account for this oxidation effect, the difference between the medians of the TMS HRZ TOC core and cuttings values was added to each TOC measurement in this study, resulting in a median measured TOC value that is similar to the median of the lower TMS-baselined ΔlogR calculated TOC value. Overall, this study demonstrates that carbonate content and sample type can affect how well measured and ΔlogR-modeled TOC values compare.

    Publication Year 2024
    Title Comparison of measured versus modeled TOC in the Tuscaloosa marine shale of Southwestern Mississippi, U.S.A.
    DOI 10.1016/j.marpetgeo.2023.106655
    Authors Celeste D. Lohr, Matthew D. Merrill
    Publication Type Article
    Publication Subtype Journal Article
    Series Title Marine and Petroleum Geology
    Index ID 70253221
    Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
    USGS Organization Geology, Energy & Minerals Science Center