Critical Components

Published: October 13, 2020 | Last updated: July 5, 2023

What Does Critical Components Mean?

The critical components of a petroleum system are its reservoir, seal, and trap. The system comprises a mature rock source, migration pathway, and the critical components.

The process of generation, migration, and accumulation along with the relative timing of formation is necessary for the hydrocarbons to be accumulated and preserved.

Typically, exploration plays and prospects are developed in regions where there is the likelihood of the existence of a complete petroleum system.


Trenchlesspedia Explains Critical Components

Source rock hydrocarbon generation is a critical phase in the development of a petroleum system, while the migration is critical to the formation of a viable petroleum system. Accumulation is the phase in the development of a petroleum system during which hydrocarbons migrate into a reservoir and remain trapped inside.

The critical components are:

  • Reservoir: a sub-surface rock body with sufficient porosity and permeability to store and transport fluids. The most common reservoir rocks are sedimentary rocks because they are more porous than igneous and metamorphic rocks. Sedimentary rocks form under temperature conditions at which hydrocarbons can be preserved.
  • Seal: an impermeable rock such as shale, mudstone, anhydrite, salt, acting as a barrier above and around the reservoir rock to prevent migration of hydrocarbon liquids out of the reservoir.
  • Trap: a configuration of rocks suitable for containing hydrocarbons and sealed by an impermeable formation preventing migration of hydrocarbons. They can be structural traps formed in folds and faults, and stratigraphic traps such as reefs or build-ups.

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