Water in Petroleum Systems
Water in Petroleum Systems

WiPS.consulting GmbH


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Scientific Background

The matrix for many geochemical processes is water.

Water is ubiquitous in sedimentary basins. It may occur as a free aqueous phase in rock pores, as a water film around mineral grains (the so-called irreducible water content), or is bound into the crystal lattice of clay minerals or others. As such, the aqueous microsphere in the subsurface is the reactor in which a seemingly limitless number of hydrogeochemical processes takes place.

Rather unique underground systems are petroleum systems in which hydrogeochemical processes took/take place. Based on thermodynamics of chemical equilibrium, calculation of interrelated , complex organic-inorganic interactions is thus essential to quantify the the WHERE, WHEN and HOW MUCH of these processes.


The pure-basic considerations of the WiPS.consulting approach about hydrogeochemical processes in petroleum systems are based on several scientific key publications:


WiPS relies on Scientific Key Publications


  • Dolfing, J., S. R. Larter, and I. M. Head, 2008, Thermodynamic constraints on methanogenic crude oil biodegradation, The ISME Journal (Multidisciplinary Journal of Microbial Ecology), v. 2, p. 442–452, doi:10.1038/ismej.2007.111.
  • Helgeson, H. C., A. M. Knox, C. E. Owens, and E. L. Shock, 1993, Petroleum, oil field waters, and authigenic mineral assemblages: Are they in metastable equilibrium in hydrocarbon reservoirs?, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, v. 57, p. 3295- 3339, doi: 10.1016/0016-7037(93)90541-4.
  • Kan, A. T. and M. B. Tomson, 2012, Scale prediction for oil and gas production, SPE Journal, v. 17, p. 362-378, doi: 10.2118/132237-PA.
  • Machel, H. G, 2001, Bacterial and thermochemical sulfate reduction in diagenetic settings – old and new insights, Sedimentary Geology, 140, 143-175, doi: 10.1016/S0037-0738(00)00176-7.
  • Parkhurst, D.  L., K.  L. Kipp, and S. R. Charlton, 2010, PHAST Version 2—A program for simulating groundwater flow, solute transport, and multicomponent geochemical reactions: U.S. Geological Survey Techniques and Methods 6–A35, 235 p.
  • Parkhurst, D.  L., and C. A. J. Appelo, 2013, Description of Input and Examples for PHREEQC Version 3—A Computer Program for Speciation, Batch-Reaction, One-Dimensional Transport, and Inverse Geochemical Calculations: U.S. Geological Survey Techniques and Methods, book 6, chap. A43, 497 p., available only at http://pubs.usgs.gov/tm/06/a43.
  • Seewald, J. S., 2003, Organic-inorganic interactions in petroleum-producing sedimentary basins, Nature, v. 426, p. 327-333, doi: 10.1038/nature02132.
  • Stumm, W. and J. J. Morgan, 1981, Aquatic chemistry : an introduction emphasizing chemical equilibria in natural waters. New York, Wiley. p. 780. ISBN: 0-471-04831-3.
  • Vaughan, P. J., 1987, Analysis of permeability reduction during flow of heated, aqueous fluid through Westerly Granite: in C.F. Tsang (ed.), Coupled processes associated with nuclear waste repositories, p. 529-539, Academic Press, New York.