Oilfield Glossary
Oilfield Glossary
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source rock

1. n. [Geology, Geochemistry, Shale Gas]
A rock rich in organic matter which, if heated sufficiently, will generate oil or gas. Typical source rocks, usually shales or limestones, contain about 1% organic matter and at least 0.5% total organic carbon (TOC), although a rich source rock might have as much as 10% organic matter. Rocks of marine origin tend to be oil-prone, whereas terrestrial source rocks (such as coal) tend to be gas-prone. Preservation of organic matter without degradation is critical to creating a good source rock, and necessary for a complete petroleum system. Under the right conditions, source rocks may also be reservoir rocks, as in the case of shale gas reservoirs.