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TU Berlin

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Shirin Ismail


"Polar compounds (NSO) in petroleum systems. They are new indicators for source organic matter, depositional environment, and expulsion and migration of petroleum compounds with implications for their environmental impacts. NSO compounds (nitrogen-, sulfur- or oxygen- containing organic compounds), present as significant part of the total organic matter in oils, source and reservoir rocks. Knowledge of the chemical composition of NSO compounds at the molecular level poses a great challenge because of their extreme complexity. Currently, Fourier transform - ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry (FT-ICR MS) is one of the few techniques that can resolve and identify numerous compounds existing in different kind of organic matters at the molecular level."


Biographical Sketch 

With my PhD work at GFZ Potsdam and TU Berlin I investigated the sedimentology and petroleum potential of the Late Cretaceous Shiranish Formation (Campanian-Maastrichtian) in the Euphrates Graben, Syria. These results already set the scene and will deliver an excellent sedimentological and geochemical background for the detailed investigation of the NSO compounds in these source rock samples. In this context, the origin and behavior of NSO compounds will be assessed for samples representing different types of organofacies and thermal maturation. The effects of oil expulsion on NSO compounds will be deciphered additionally.


Research Interests

Organic Geochemistry includes few points:  

1. Distribution and composition of Organic matter.

2.  Petroleum generation characterisation.

3.  Depositional environments.

4. Mineralogy and sedimentology.

5. Carbon and Nitrogen Isotopes.



GFZ Potsdam

FB Explorationsgeologie


IPODI Research Project

Polar compounds in petroleum systems – new indicators for source organic matter, depositional environment, expulsion and migration of petroleum compounds with implications for their environmental impacts.

Duration: 15 June 2018 - 31 October 2019

Mentor: Prof. Dr. Wilhelm Dominik

Abstract: The Shiranish was deposited during the pre- to synrift phase of the Euphrates graben formation, and can reach a thickness of more than 1,000 m. The calcareous to marly sediments are rich in organic carbon and are potential source rocks in the Euphrates Graben (Syria). The major controls on the heterogeneities of organofacies are variations of the depositional environment and bottom water oxygenation. A strong input of terrestrial organic matter under shallow marine conditions prevailed during deposition of LSF sediments. This terrestrial organic matter input delivered gas-prone material in contrast to the predominance of oil-prone organic matter in the USF. During sedimentation of the USF extended bottom water anoxia prevailed. Maturity varies laterally from immature organic matter in the eastern and northeastern graben to mature organic matter towards the central and northwestern graben that plot in the oil window zone and generated good petroleum potential. The main aim of this study is the characterisation of NSO compounds by conventional GC-MS-MS as well as ultra-high resolution FT-ICR-MS in samples from Shiranish Formation in Syria.  Especially the new analytical window of FT-ICR-MS will provide new insight into these compounds and their role and behavior in petroleum systems over geological times leading to improved process understanding of petroleum systems.

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