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Oil Origin and Age

A.A. Barenbaum

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The question of oil age is discussed on the basis of the biosphere concept of oil and gas formation. It considers oil and gas deposits as underground carbon traps circulating through the Earth’s surface in the three main cycles of the circulation. A theoretical model has been developed that makes it possible to explain from these positions the phenomenon of replenishment of oil and gas deposits in the process of field development. The model provides a balance between carbon flows on the ascending and descending branches of its circulation through the Earth’s surface. In this model, the ascending flow of carbon is represented by the products of subsoil degassing (СН4, СО2) and extracted by the person from the depths of oil, gas and coal. A descending flow is an organic matter and carbonates that are submerged in the subsoil in the processes of sedimentation and subduction of lithospheric plates, as well as atmospheric COsub>2, entering the Earth’s surface with meteoric waters in the process of their climatic circulation. Since the fields are filled with hydrocarbons formed in cycles of carbon with widely differing circulation times, instead of the term ‘age of oil’, it is suggested to use the terms ‘trap formation time’ and ‘hydrocarbon life time in the trap’. This approach to the question of oil age in the biosphere concept leads to a number of conclusions, from which it follows that: 1) the ‘old’ petroleum of biogenic genesis is extracted at the initial stage of the development of deposits, whereas in the depletion stage the ‘young’ hydrocarbons of abiogenic synthesis prevail; 2) the age of industrial accumulations of oil on our planet is hardly older than the Pleistocene, while gaseous, liquid and bituminous fractions of oil have different lifetimes in traps.

Oil age, oil and gas formation, biosphere cycle of carbon, balance problems of carbon circulation

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Institute of Oil and Gas Problems of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia

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Barenbaum A.A. Oil Origin and Age. Georesursy = Georesources. 2017. V. 19. No. 1. Pp. 30-37. DOI: