Habitat and hydrocarbon potential of the Mesozoic strata in the Kraków–Rzeszów area (SE Poland)

Paweł Kosakowski, Dariusz Więcław, Maciej Jerzy Kotarba, Adam Kowalski


The Mesozoic strata in the southeastern Poland were geochemically characterized to determine their hydrocarbon potential on the basis of 483 core samples from 36 boreholes. The Lower and Middle Triassic, Middle and Upper Jurassic, and Lower and Upper Cretaceous turned out to be highly variable. Middle Jurassic rocks represent the highest geochemical quality. Their total organic carbon (TOC) contents range between 0.0 and 17.0 wt.%, with a median of 0.89 wt.%. The highest TOC was observed in the rocks of the Tarnawa 1 borehole. In the remaining boreholes analysed the organic carbon contents were much lower and usually did not exceed 1 wt.%. Gas-prone Type-III kerogen with an admixture of Type-II kerogen is present in the study area. The lowest TOC values  were observed in the Cretaceous rocks, where median values were 0.05 wt.% and 0.04 wt.% for Upper Cretaceous and Lower Cretaceous strata respectively. Low TOC contents were also observed in the Lower Triassic and Upper Jurassic strata. Accordingly, those horizons could not be regarded as effective source rocks. The petroleum potential of these stratigraphic horizons is additionally significantly reduced by low maturity, below the threshold for the generation of hydrocarbons. The Mesozoic organic matter was found to be generally immature, i.e. below 0.5% of vitrinite reflectance.



Carpathian Foredeep substratum, Mesozoic strata, Middle Jurassic source rock, petroleum geochemistry, quality of source rocks.

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