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Significance of Relationships between Hydrocarbons and Metallic Ore Deposits in Oil and Gas Exploration: Part II. Copper Deposits

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  • Exploration & Drilling Consultant I Adjunct Professor

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Sedimentary basins are significant deposits for both fossil energy sources and metallic ore deposits. It has been reported in numerous studies that a close relationship exists between oil and gas reservoirs and metallic ore deposits. Besides, in many studies, it has been also determined that both source rocks and petroleum resources have a high amount of metal concentrations. On a regional scale, both copper deposits and hydrocarbon reservoirs or seeps are generally bounded by the same tectonic units of the basin and controlled by similar structures (especially regional anticlines, domes or paleo-highs). The results of the study show that hydrocarbons and copper ores derived from sediment pores during diagenesis are deposited by the co-transportation process by the same hydrothermal fluid and so, copper ores and organic matter in host rocks have a common source. In other words, organic- and copper-rich sediments in a sedimentary basin can be used as a source for both copper deposits and hydrocarbon reservoirs. Copper- and hydrocarbon-rich fluids derived from sediments consolidated as a result of topographic uplift and the compression of the basin laterally migrate across aquifers and head towards the boundaries of the basin and paleo-highs through the faults in the main- and sub-basin. Thus, they constitute copper deposits and hydrocarbon reservoirs characterized by different deposition and trapping mechanisms in different compartments. Copper ores are deposited in faults, fracture zones, and unconformity surfaces in the areas where ore-bearing fluids encounter appropriate geochemical barriers. Hydrocarbons accumulate in stratigraphic, lithological, and structural traps. Consequently, it has been deduced that, in the areas where operable-size copper deposits are located, they can be utilized as a shallow and reliable indicator for oil and gas exploration. Keywords: oil and gas exploration, hydrocarbon, copper deposit, copper mineralization, geochemical indicator
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SIGNIFICANCE OF RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN HYDROCARBONS
AND METALLIC ORE DEPOSITS IN OIL AND GAS EXPLORATION:
PART II. COPPER DEPOSITS
Adil OZDEMIR
Adil Ozdemir Consulting, Ankara, Turkey
Yildiray PALABIYIK
Istanbul Technical University, Department of Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering,
Istanbul, Turkey
ABSTRACT
Sedimentary basins are significant deposits for both fossil energy sources and metallic ore
deposits. It has been reported in numerous studies that a close relationship exists between oil
and gas reservoirs and metallic ore deposits. Besides, in many studies, it has been also
determined that both source rocks and petroleum resources have a high amount of metal
concentrations. On a regional scale, both copper deposits and hydrocarbon reservoirs or seeps
are generally bounded by the same tectonic units of the basin and controlled by similar
structures (especially regional anticlines, domes or paleo-highs). The results of the study show
that hydrocarbons and copper ores derived from sediment pores during diagenesis are
deposited by the co-transportation process by the same hydrothermal fluid and so, copper ores
and organic matter in host rocks have a common source. In other words, organic- and copper-
rich sediments in a sedimentary basin can be used as a source for both copper deposits and
hydrocarbon reservoirs. Copper- and hydrocarbon-rich fluids derived from sediments
consolidated as a result of topographic uplift and the compression of the basin laterally
migrate across aquifers and head towards the boundaries of the basin and paleo-highs through
the faults in the main- and sub-basin. Thus, they constitute copper deposits and hydrocarbon
reservoirs characterized by different deposition and trapping mechanisms in different
compartments. Copper ores are deposited in faults, fracture zones, and unconformity surfaces
in the areas where ore-bearing fluids encounter appropriate geochemical barriers.
Hydrocarbons accumulate in stratigraphic, lithological, and structural traps. Consequently, it
has been deduced that, in the areas where operable-size copper deposits are located, they can
be utilized as a shallow and reliable indicator for oil and gas exploration.
Keywords: oil and gas exploration, hydrocarbon, copper deposit, copper mineralization,
geochemical indicator
1. INTRODUCTION
Oil and gas fields are mainly located in sedimentary basins with source rocks containing
hydrogen-rich organic matter. Sedimentary basins feature notable reservoirs for both fossil
energy sources and many metallic ore deposits. Ozdemir and Palabıyık (2019a) have
expressed that metallic ore deposits, which enable to form deposits of operable-size, are a
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shallow and reliable indicator for the oil and gas accumulations and presented a diagram
showing the occurrence and tectonic relationships between hydrocarbon accumulations and
metallic ore deposits. In addition, a close relationship between hydrocarbons with copper
deposits has been promoted in many studies listed as follows: Kelly and Nishioka (1985);
Eugster (1985); Jowett (1986); Sverjensky (1984, 1987); Rasilainen (1987); Gorzhevsky
(1987); Schmitt (1988); Mauk and Hieshima (1992); Sawlowicz (1985, 1993); Manning and
Gize (1993); Zentilli et al. (1997); Sun and Püttmann (2000); Rasmussen and Krapez (2000);
Sawlowicz et al. (2000); Wilson et al. (2003); Selley et al. (2005); Hanley et al. (2005);
Wilson and Zentilli (2006); Cisternas and Hermosilla (2006); Scott et al. (2006); El Desouky
et al. (2007); Rieger et al. (2008); Wang et al (2011); Taylor et al. (2013); Box et al. (2013);
Broughton (2014); Oummouch et al. (2017); Oszczepalski et al. (2019); Whitehead (2019);
Rainoldi et al. (2015, 2019) and their associated references. In this study, the significance of
relationships between hydrocarbons and copper deposits in oil and gas exploration was
investigated through the carefully selected references.
2. THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN HYDROCARBONS AND COPPER DEPOSITS
The results of the previous studies (Ozdemir and Palabiyik, 2019a; references in the
introduction part) indicate that copper deposits and hydrocarbon reservoirs are formed in the
same sedimentary basin are formed together by transport and accumulation in a basin of
copper and hydrocarbons formed in the same sedimentary basin by the same fluid (Fig. 1). In
the rift basin, deep-water, organic- and copper-rich rocks have been used as sources for both
copper deposits and hydrocarbon reservoirs (Ozdemir and Palabıyık, 2019b).
Hydrocarbons and copper ores derived from sediment pores during diagenesis are deposited
by the co-transportation process by the same hydrothermal fluid and so, copper ores and
organic matter in host rocks have a common source. In other words, organic- and copper-rich
sediments in a sedimentary basin can be used as a source for both copper deposits and
hydrocarbon reservoirs. Copper- and hydrocarbon-rich fluids derived from sediments
compacted as a result of topographic uplift and the compression of the basin laterally migrate
across aquifers and head towards the boundaries of the basin and paleo-highs through the
faults in the main- and sub-basin. Hence, they constitute copper deposits and hydrocarbon
reservoirs characterized by different deposition and trapping mechanisms in different
compartments. Copper ores are deposited in faults, fracture zones, and unconformity surfaces
in the areas where ore-bearing fluids encounter appropriate geochemical barriers.
Hydrocarbons accumulate in stratigraphic, lithological, and structural traps. Copper- and
hydrocarbon-rich fluids derived from sediments consolidated as a result of topographic uplift
and the compression of the basin laterally migrate across aquifers and head towards the
boundaries of the basin and paleo-highs through the faults in the main- and sub-basin. Thus,
they constitute copper deposits and hydrocarbon reservoirs characterized by different
deposition and trapping mechanisms in different compartments. Young orogenies have caused
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the basin uplift to the surface and folding, and destruction of some hydrocarbon reservoirs in
the basin, and transforming to bitumen in the surface (Figs. 2 and 3).
(a)
(b) (c)
Fig. 1. (a) Schematic representation of the formation of copper deposits and hydrocarbon reservoirs by the
migration of copper- and hydrocarbon-rich basin fluids formed in a sedimentary basin (from Ozdemir and
Palabiyik, 2019a). The proposed models for the relationship between hydrocarbons and copper deposits (b.
Manning and Gize, 1993; c. Warren, 2000’den)
Fig. 2. Relationship between hydrocarbon accumulations and copper mineralization in Neuquén Basin,
Argentina (Rainoldi et al., 2019)
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Fig. 3. Occurrence stages of copper mineralization in Neuquén Basin, Argentina (From Rainoldi et al., 2019)
In the depositions, for a hand sample and on a microscopic scale, copper ores can be spatially
associated with hydrocarbons. Organic matter in sediments can occur in different forms such
as kerogen, bitumen, solid carbon, hydrocarbon gas in addition to free oil in remarkable
amounts in fractures and inclusions (Fig. 4) (Kelly and Nishioka, 1985; Mauk and Hieshima,
1992; Zentilli et al., 1997; Hanley et al., 2005; Wang et al, 2011; Birkeland, 2018; Rainoldi et
al., 2015, 2019). It has been determined that there is a very close paragenetic relationship
between copper mineralization and hydrocarbons/bitumen (Fig. 5) (El Desouky et al., 2007;
Rainoldi et al., 2015, 2019)
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Fig. 4. Hydrocarbons in microscopic scale in copper deposits. Photomicrographs of hydrocarbon-bearing fluid
inclusions (A: Rainoldi et al., 2019; B: Birkeland, 2018) and bitumen (petroleum) globules (C: Zentilli et al.,
1997)
Fig. 5. Summary of paragenesis in Lufukwe copper deposits (Democratic Republic of Congo) (El Desouky et al.,
2007)
3. USE OF Re-Os ISOTOPE SYSTEM FOR DIRECT DATING OF HYDROCARBONS
AND COPPER DEPOSITS AND CORRELATION WITH EACH OTHER
It is important to know the relationship between resources and host rocks when copper
deposits are correlated with hydrocarbons. Ore and hydrocarbon resources may have been
occurred at the same age or at different ages. In this case, the Re-Os (Rhenium-Osmium)
isotope system can be successfully used in areas where metamorphism and orogenesis
destroyed structural relations. The Re-Os isotope system is used to determine the age of both
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copper deposits and organic-rich rocks/hydrocarbons/oils (Cohen, 2004; Marques, 2012; Stein
and Hannah, 2014; Ozdemir and Palabiyik, 2019c). The Re-Os isotope system has been used
in many studies to determine the age of copper deposits (Jingwen and Andao, 2002; Requia et
al., 2003; Selley et al., 2005; Mathur et al., 2005; Zheng et al., 2007; Gregory et al., 2008;
Selby et al., 2009; Box et al., 2013; Mirnejad et al., 2013; Zhang et al., 2015; Akbulut et al.,
2016; Del Rio-Salas et al., 2017; Saintilan et al., 2018; Günay et al., 2019). Furthermore,
Selley et al. (2005) have determined by using the Re-Os isotope system that the age of copper
mineralization is well-matched with the age of hydrocarbon generation.
4. CONCLUSIONS
In this study, it is observed that the tectonic and magmatic processes leading to the formation
of copper deposits and hydrocarbons are very harmonious. Hence, it is also determined that
the formation of copper deposits and hydrocarbons is closely related to each other. Therefore,
it can be deduced that copper deposits in the same basin/region can be used as a shallow and
reliable indicator for hydrocarbon exploration. As a result of Re-Os isotope analyses to be
conducted on copper deposits and hydrocarbons in the same basin/region, geological ages of
both copper deposits and hydrocarbons can be estimated and correlated with each other. This
identified relationship let us better predict the locations of oil and gas reservoirs under the
guidance of copper deposits. That’s why copper deposits formed by Tethyan metallogenesis
can be taken as the main reference in oil and gas exploration since oil formation is associated
with marine environments. Moreover, Re-Os isotope analysis can provide useful information
on tectonic settings where both copper deposits and hydrocarbons are formed. To sum up, in
the exploration of oil and gas reservoirs and the interpretation of the tectonic history of the
basin/region, the usage of the known copper deposits as a guide will be a new and reliable
method for determining shallow and deep structures (traps) involved in oil and/or gas
reservoirs likely to be discovered. For this purpose, in the basins/regions where there is no
surface sign (outcrop of source rocks, oil or gas seeps, oil or gas fields), but there are the
copper deposits in operable scales, TPH (Total Petroleum Hydrocarbons) in water analysis
(Ozdemir, 2018; 2019a,b,c) can be used as a more cost-effective and trustworthy oil and gas
exploration method because it is considered that the proposed new technique (reservoir-
targeted) will be able to increase the success ratio of discovery by decreasing risks and costs
of oil and gas exploration which 10-20% success ratio (very-high risk) with classical organic
geochemical methods (source rock-targeted).
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Chapter
Lineaments play a vital role in mineral and hydrocarbon explorations. In this regard, the chapter delivers a general review about lineaments and how they are formed. The chapter also addresses how the speckle noises can act as obstacles for synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imaging lineaments. Therefore, this chapter delivers automatic detection lineament mapping protocol in coherence SAR data, which is named as the Marghany Adaptive Modification Algorithm. The chapter reviews the relationship between lineament density variations and minerals as well as oil and gas accumulations. To develop the Marghany Adaptive Modification Algorithm as automatic detection of lineament variations, the novel approach of SAR lineament imaging mechanism has demonstrated. Besides the fully understood of the speckle mechanism in SAR data as we can call SAR data as sick images; which is required an accurate filter speckle algorithm to improve the SAR image visualization. In fact, the complected speckle variations are restricted SAR images to be interpreted especially in geological feature investigations such as lineaments.
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Liaoning Province in China is an area known for the occurrence of numerous copper and/or molybdenum deposits of variable size. However, the age of mineralization and tectonic setting in this region are still a subject of debate. In this study we describe the geology of these deposits and apply zircon U–Pb and molybdenite Re–Os isotopic dating to constrain their ages and define the metallogenic epochs of this province. The Huatong Cu–Mo deposit yields molybdenite Re–Os model ages of 127.6–126.3 Ma and an isochron age of 127.4 ± 0.7 Ma. The Dongbeigou Mo deposit yields molybdenite Re–Os model ages of 132.6–127.1 Ma, an isochron age of 128.1 ± 5.1 Ma, and a zircon U–Pb age of 129.4 ± 0.3 Ma for the associated monzogranite. The granodiorite associated with the Wanbaoyuan Cu–Mo deposit yields a zircon U–Pb age of 128.4 ± 1.1 Ma; the plagiogranite associated with the Yaojiagou Mo deposit yields an age of 167.5 ± 0.9 Ma; and the biotite–plagioclase gneiss from the Shujigou Cu deposit yields an age of 2549.4 ± 5.6 Ma. These results, together with previous geochronology data, show that intense Cu–Mo porphyry and skarn mineralization were coeval with Early–Middle Jurassic and Early Cretaceous granitic magmatism. The former was associated with the orogeny that followed the collision of the Siberian and North China plates and the resulting closure of the palaeo-Asian Ocean, and the latter with rifting that followed the subduction of the palaeo-Pacific Plate and associated lithospheric thinning. Volcanogenic massive sulfide Cu deposit. mineralization took place much earlier, in the late Archaean, and was related to continent–continent collision, palaeo-ocean closure, the formation of a united continental landmass, bimodal volcanism, magma emplacement, and subsequent metamorphism and deformation of syn-collisional granites.