Source Rocks in Space & through TimeIn Progress


$87.8k (USD) per Sponsor


In Progress

Principal Investigator(s):

Value to Sponsors

By better understanding the source rock characteristics of regional and local basins based on a user-friendly database, explorationists can mitigate the risk of charge potential and hydrocarbon generation as part of the overall petroleum system.

A quick assessment tool for conventional and unconventional play analysis based on source rocks and for assessing data-poor frontier and/or by-passed plays based on regionally correlatable source rocks.

The Project Report will be delivered on ArcGIS. For a detailed description of Project tasks and deliverables, download the full Project PDF using the download button above.

An enormous body of data on source rocks by new analytical techniques and from various basins around the world has been collected in recent decades. EGI, with its four decades of research work in various basins and regions of the world, holds an archive of thousands of reports and documents, which can constitute a valuable database on global source rocks. This research work is also timely in view of the recent trends in the industry to drill directly into source-rock targets. The project is to be conducted as an industry-funded research consortium. Given the wide scale, expectations and implications of the project, active participation of experts from the sponsoring companies in the project work is greatly encouraged.

The objectives and research plan for this Project were initially discussed with several experts from various companies in mid-2012, and in view of their feedback and comments the following plan of action is adopted here.

  • The geospatial and temporal distribution of source rocks analyzed statistically and paleogeographically in this study has practical implications for the risk/success evaluation of petroleum basins and identifying frontier or bypassed plays.
  • Sponsoring companies can augment their internal database on source rocks with the EGI database provided for in this project.
  • This research study attempts, in a holistic way, to decipher the fundamental controls resulting from tectonic, sedimentologic, geochemical, atmospheric and biotic processes, on the basinal deposition and preservation and the global distribution of hydrocarbon source rocks.
  • The Project will offer a new perspective on world basins classification and mapping based on source- rock deposition, rather than the present-day basin tectonic type. This will, in turn, generate new scheme to evaluate the relationship between basin type and hydrocarbon resources.


The Project will endeavor to balance the efforts for (1) database construction (mainly from EGI data archive) with (2) geologic analysis/interpretation (based on the database) so that the project deliverables are strengthened by both approaches.

We expect this research consortium to be carried out in more than one phase. Phase 1 (Gondwana Continents and Margins, for a period of 18 months) was launched in 2013 with a kick-off meeting for discussing a detailed plan of action, and during which an Advisory Team from the sponsoring companies was formed to oversee the research work. We will hold two project progress meetings to discuss the results.

The final meeting will be held in a location wherein an appropriate field trip to a world-class source rock formation is feasible. The Final Project Report (and any subsequent publication) will reflect the collective effort of EGI and sponsoring industry participants who have substantially contributed to the Project.

The ArcGIS Report of this Consortium will be confidential to sponsoring companies, and after the completion of the project, it will be annually and dynamically updated with new data at a low-range annual fee for the interested sponsoring companies (this follow-up work will have its own agreement).