Jurassic source rocks in the Vienna Basin (Austria): Assessment of conventional and unconventional petroleum potential

Bernhard Rupprecht, Reinhard Sachsenhofer, Hans-Jürgen Gawlick, Madalina-Elena Kallanxhi, Friedrich Kucher

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10 Citations (Scopus)


The Upper Jurassic marlstones (Mikulov Fm.) and marly limestones (Falkenstein Fm.) are the main source rocks for conventional hydrocarbons in the Vienna Basin in Austria. In addition, the Mikulov Formation has been considered a potential shale gas play. In this paper, organic geochemical, petrographical and mineralogical data from both formations in borehole Staatz 1 are used to determine the source potential and its vertical variability. Additional samples from other boreholes are used to evaluate lateral trends. Deltaic sediments (Lower Quarzarenite Member) and prodelta shales (Lower Shale Member) of the Middle Jurassic Gresten Formation have been discussed as secondary sources for hydrocarbons in the Vienna Basin area and are therefore included in the present study.

The Falkenstein and Mikulov formations in Staatz 1 contain up to 2.5 wt%TOC. The organic matter is dominated by algal material. Nevertheless, HI values are relative low (<400 mgHC/gTOC), a result of organic matter degradation in a dysoxic environment. Both formations hold a fair to good petroleum potential. Because of its great thickness (∼1500 m), the source potential index of the Upper Jurrasic interval is high (7.5 tHC/m2). Within the oil window, the Falkenstein and Mikulov formations will produce paraffinic-naphtenic-aromatic low wax oil with low sulfur content. Whereas vertical variations are minor, limited data from the deep overmature samples suggest that original TOC contents may have increased basinwards. Based on TOC contents (typically <2.0 wt%) and the very deep position of the maturity cut-off values for shale oil/gas production (∼4000 and 5000 m, respectively), the potential for economic recovery of unconventional petroleum is limited. The Lower Quarzarenite Member of the Middle Jurassic Gresten Formation hosts a moderate oil potential, while the Lower Shale Member is are poor source rock.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1327-1356
Number of pages30
JournalMarine and petroleum geology
Issue numberSeptember
Early online date26 Jul 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2017

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