USGS - science for a changing world

Open-File Report 2007–1312

Thermal Maturity of Pennsylvanian Coals and Coaly Shales, Eastern Shelf and Fort Worth Basin, Texas

By Paul C. Hackley, Edgar H. Guevara, Tucker F. Hentz, and Robert W. Hook

Photomicrograph of lower Atoka Group sample and link to report Fluorescing mineral-bituminous groundmass with dark vitrinite-inertinite fragments in potential hydrocarbon source rock, Lower Pennsylvanian Atoka Group, western Fort Worth basin.

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The U.S. Geological Survey and the Texas Bureau of Economic Geology are engaged in an ongoing collaborative study to characterize the organic composition and thermal maturity of Upper Paleozoic coal-bearing strata from the Eastern Shelf of the Midland basin and from the Fort Worth basin, north-central Texas. Data derived from this study will have application to a better understanding of the potential for coalbed gas resources in the region. This is an important effort in that unconventional resources such as coalbed gas are expected to satisfy an increasingly greater component of United States and world natural gas demand in coming decades. In addition, successful coalbed gas production from equivalent strata in the Kerr basin of southern Texas and from equivalent strata elsewhere in the United States suggests that a closer examination of the potential for coalbed gas resources in north-central Texas is warranted. This report presents thermal maturity data for shallow (<2,000 ft; <610 m) coal and coaly shale cuttings, core, and outcrop samples from the Middle-Upper Pennsylvanian Strawn, Canyon, and Cisco Groups from the Eastern Shelf of the Midland basin. Data for Lower Pennsylvanian Atoka Group strata from deeper wells (5,400 ft; 1,645 m) in the western part of the Fort Worth basin also are included herein. The data indicate that the maturity of some Pennsylvanian coal and coaly shale samples is sufficient to support thermogenic coalbed gas generation on the Eastern Shelf and in the western Fort Worth basin.

For more information concerning the report, please contact the author.


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