Kerogen is a mixture of organic compounds found in Source Rocks.
Typically the organic matter within Kerogen includes plant materials and algae, and therefore is often seen as undeveloped Hydrocarbons.
Due to their high molecular weights, Kerogens cannot be extracted using organic solvents, instead, heat is used (oil 50 – 150°C and gas 150 – 200°C) , replicating the heating process from within the earths crust, known as the Oil Window and the Gas Window that allows the hydrocarbon release.
Kerogens are classes as three different types:
Type 1- Sapropelic:
- Most likely to contain hydrocarbons, with high yields of oil.
- Mainly marine organic matter- alginite, amorphous and cyanobacteria.
Type 2 – Planktonic:
- Likely to contain hydrocarbons, both Gas and oil.
- Organic matter from both land based and marine environments.
Type 3 – Humic:
- Less Likely to contain hydrocarbons, most likely to produce gas.
- Mainly land based organic matter- woody plant.
Type 4 – Residue:
- Unlikely to contain hydrocarbons.