Thiadiamondoids as proxies for the extent of thermochemical sulfate reduction
Thiadiamondoids have been analyzed in a suite of Smackover-derived oils from the US Gulf Coast to determine whether their abundance and distribution reflect alteration by thermochemical sulfate reduction (TSR). The sample suite includes oils and condensates having various thermal maturities that are characterized as being unaltered by TSR, altered by TSR, or of uncertain affinities due to inconsistencies between conventional geochemical indicators of TSR. Nearly all samples contain thiadiamondoids, indicating that small amounts of these compounds can be generated from sulfur rich kerogen. TSR results in the generation of H2S, sulfides and thiophenic aromatic hydrocarbons, either by reaction with sulfate or by back reactions with the evolved H2S. Evidence shows that thiadiamondoids originate exclusively from reactions involving TSR. Once generated, their high thermal stability permits thiadiamondoids to accumulate with little further reaction and their abundance reflects not only the occurrence of TSR, but the extent of the alteration. The abundance of thiaadamantanes (1-cage structures) is particularly diagnostic of the onset of TSR. Examination of condensates from reservoirs >180 °C indicates that the thiadiamondoids can be thermally degraded. They are more thermally stable than the dibenzothiophenes, but are less stable than diamondoid hydrocarbons. Their stability appears to increase with increasing cage number, suggesting that the thiatriamantanes are the best proxy for the extent of TSR alteration in very high temperature reservoirs. Polythiadiamondoids (diamondoids with multiple sulfur substitutions) were detected in trace amounts and are also indicators of TSR. âº Thiadiamondoids are more reliable proxies for determining the extent of TSR reactions. âº Thiadiamondoids do not appear to be formed by back- reaction with H2S. âº The thermal stability of thiadiamondoids is between that of DBTs and diamondoids. âº The presence of polythiadiamondoids is also an indicator of TSR.