Geochemical characteristics of early Carboniferous petroleum systems in Western Australia

Gemma Spaak, Dianne S. Edwards, Clinton B. Foster, Andrew Murray, Neil Sherwood, Kliti Grice

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


A geochemical study was conducted to establish oil-oil correlations and evaluate potential source rocks within the latest Devonian–earliest Carboniferous succession of the onshore Canning Basin, Western Australia. Aromatic hydrocarbons, together with the routinely used saturated biomarker ratios and stable carbon isotopes, demonstrate that the recently discovered Ungani oilfield located on the southern margin of the Fitzroy Trough are similar, but not identical, to the early Carboniferous Larapintine 4 (L4) oil family present to the north of the Fitzroy Trough on the Lennard Shelf. The L4 oil family has been correlated to a lower Carboniferous (Tournaisian) source rock core sample from the Laurel Formation at Blackstone-1 although its bulk geochemical properties signify that it could generate substantially more gas than liquid hydrocarbons. The Ungani oils can be distinguished from the L4 oils by their higher concentrations of paleorenieratane and isorenieratane, coupled with more depleted δ13C values for n-alkanes, pristane and phytane compared with other components. Hopane isomerisation ratios show distinct grouping of the two oil families that reflect both source and maturity variations. The oil from Wattle-1 ST1 on the Lennard Shelf has an unusual composition, exhibiting some molecular and isotopic features similar to both the L4 and Ungani oils. Source rocks for the Ungani and Wattle-1 ST1 oils are unknown since their geochemical signature does not match that of the Tournaisian Laurel Formation or the Middle−Upper (Givetian–Frasnian) Devonian Gogo Formation which sourced the Devonian-reservoired Larapintine 3 oils at Blina and Janpam North-1. It is postulated that such potential oil-prone source rocks could occur within the Famennian–Tournaisian succession.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104073
JournalMarine and Petroleum Geology
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020


Dive into the research topics of 'Geochemical characteristics of early Carboniferous petroleum systems in Western Australia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this