Abstract: Concentrations of organic acids ranging up to several thousand parts per million have previously been found in oil-field waters. These acids are of interest because of their potential to enhance porosity by the dissolution of carbonates and aluminosilicates. They are believed to be generated from organic geopolymers (kerogen) in the late-diagenetic-early-catagenetic stage of thermal maturation.
During the course of artificial maturation experiments in which kerogens of varying type were heated in the presence of water (so-called ‘hydrous pyrolysis’) and different minerals, the distribution and abundance of low molecular weight water-soluble acids were determined by gas chromatography and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Preliminary results suggest that significant quantities of mono- and di-carboxylic acids are produced during hydrous pyrolysis. The amounts and types of acid appear to vary as a function of kerogen type, maturity and mineralogy. Implications of these findings regarding the development of secondary porosity are discussed.