Where: The Petroleum Club of Lafayette

When: 11:30am

Lunch: $20.00 for members ** Be Sure to Bring Your 2015-2016 Membership Dues!**

Luncheon Talks:  

Light Hydrocarbon Geochemical Changes during Migration through Overburden


Fluid compositions evolve during migration through geologic media. While there have been previous studies documenting fluid compositional changes between reservoirs and the surface, understanding alteration is difficult with limited sampling separated by kilometers of geologic media. Lab experiments, numerical simulations, and core studies have concluded that a wide range of processes influence light hydrocarbon and CO2 compositions (sorption, diffusion, oxidation, mixing, and solubility effects). Yet, identifying these processes in the field remains elusive without extensive geologic characterization and fluid sampling in overburden intervals.

This research evaluated light hydrocarbon geochemical compositions in the near-surface, overburden, and reservoir intervals at three CO2 Enhanced Oil Recovery (CO2-EOR) sites along the Gulf Coast. At site A, high concentrations of CO2 and CH4 were observed in soil gas adjacent to a producing well. However, a variety of geochemical parameters (radiocarbon, methane stable isotopes) indicated natural microbial formation rather than well leakage. A work flow is presented to attribute fluid sources for future leakage accusations from CO2-EOR or shale gas operations.

At site B, natural hydrocarbon seepage to the surface was documented before initial field production. Geochemical changes during migration will be compared with numerical simulations of alteration processes. High concentrations of groundwater methane are observed at site C, and further data collection is proposed to understand fluid sources. Given that buoyancy-driven fluid migration through earth materials is relevant to numerous applied disciplines, numerical models and fluid source attribution methods proposed in this research are designed to be adapted to other environmental and industrial problems.



Jacob Anderson has worked on a wide range of geoscience and engineering problems in industry, academia, and a non-profit organization. He received a bachelor’s of science in Petroleum Engineering from LSU and completed undergraduate internships at ExxonMobil and BP. After graduation, he worked as a petrophysical engineer on deepwater Gulf of Mexico projects for Shell. However, Jacob left the oil and gas industry to volunteer for a year on potable water projects in South America with Engineers without Borders. After returning to the US, Jacob received a master’s degree in Geology at Boston College. His MS thesis addressed groundwater contamination in a public water supply wellfield.

Jacob is currently pursuing a PhD in Geology at the University of Texas at Austin. He is funded through Carbon, Capture, & Storage projects in collaboration with the Texas Bureau of Economic Geology. Jacob’s PhD research investigates hydrocarbon geochemical changes during upward migration. Results of his work have implications for Carbon, Capture, & Storage and the oil & gas industry.

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