Fluid flow in porous reservoirs and petroleum system evaluation

Hydrocarbon exploration methods traditionally include the study of different surface and near surface expressions of hydrocarbon leakage, as fluid seepages are known as indicators of hydrocarbon fields. Mud volcanoes and natural seepages occur in a wide range of geological and geodynamic settings, such as oceanic and continental thrust wedges, back- and fore-arc basins and passive margins. The different sedimentary systems associated with these geodynamic contexts, play a major role in triggering fluid migration, also governing the stability condition and morphologic evolution of lands and seafloors.

The identification of fluid migration in marine environments shows a wide range of features, varying from hills and mounds to depressions and craters.  They are linked to both seepage and gas formation in shallow sediments and hydrocarbon-enriched fluid and gas, which leaks from deeply buried sediments along the continental margins and slopes. On land exploration has been addressed to the nature of mud volcanism, with respect to degassing of deeply buried hydrocarbon fields or with respect to geological setting. The assessment of lithology of mud breccias and geochemical characters and isotopic signature of fluids and hydrocarbons has also been widely carried out.

Some studies, in particular, were addressed to the geochemistry of the brines that allows definition of the main processes that occurred during burial, expulsion and migration together with the hydrocarbons.

The integration of information on the present bacterial activity and the thermal affinity of bacterial communities is locally useful for the characterization of the typology of the processes involved in fluid migration.

The geological setting and geometry of the reservoirs are investigated, highlighting structural and stratigraphic traps and their hydrological characteristics. Waters of different provenance contribute to the ascending fluids and their geochemical characteristics can help in understanding their evolution during  diagenesis  and migration.

The main challenge of our study is the evolutionary reconstruction of the main steps of the fluid expulsion/migration, based on the integration of various tectono-thermal and geochemical aspects. To   achieve this goal we coupled geochemical study on hydrocarbons, saline waters and brines with structural interpretations of the subsurface geology, to fully characterize the tectono-thermal evolution of the petroleum system.


Selected publications

Capozzi, Rossella, Oppo, Davide, Taviani, Marco, 2017. Cold seepages: an economic tool for hydrocarbon appraisal. AAPG Bull., 101, 617–623.

Oppo, Davide, Capozzi, Rossella, 2016. Spatial association of mud volcano and sandstone intrusions, Boyadag anticline, western Turkmenistan. Basin Research, 28, 827-839.

Oppo D., Capozzi R., Nigarov A., Esenov P., 2014. Mud volcanism and fluid geochemistry in the Cheleken peninsula, western Turkmenistan. Marine and Petroleum Geology, 57, pp. 122 – 134

Oppo, D., Capozzi, R., Picotti V., 2013. A new model of the petroleum system in the Northern Apennines, Italy. Marine and Petroleum Geology, 48, pp. 57 – 76.

Capozzi R.; Guido F.L.; Oppo D.; Gabbianelli G., 2012. Methane-Derived Authigenic Carbonates (MDAC) in northern-central Adriatic Sea: Relationships between reservoir and methane seepages. Marine Geology, 332-334, pp. 174 – 188.

Capozzi R., Artoni A., Torelli L., Lorenzini S., Oppo D., Mussoni P., Polonia A., 2012. Neogene to Quaternary tectonics and mud diapirism in the Gulf of Squillace (Crotone-Spartivento Basin, Calabrian Arc, Italy). Marine and Petroleum Geology, 35, pp. 219 – 234.

Capozzi, R., Picotti, V., 2010. Spontaneous fluid emissions in the Northern Apennines: geochemistry, structures and implications for the petroleum system. From: Goffey, G. P., Craig, J., Needham, T. & Scott, R. (eds) Hydrocarbons in Contractional Belts. Geological Society, London, Special Publications, 348, 115–135.

Picotti V., Capozzi R., Bertozzi G., Mosca F., Sitta  A. and Tornaghi M., 2007. The Miocene petroleum system of the Northern Apennines in the central Po Plain (Italy). In: Lacombe O., Lavé J., Roure F., Vergès J. (Eds): Thrust Belts and Foreland Basins. Special Volume of Frontiers in Earth Sciences, Chap. 6. Springer-Verlag, 117-131.

Capozzi, R., Picotti, V., 2006. Genesis of cold seeps and mud volcanoes of the Northern Apennine foothills. CIESM, 2006. Fluid seepages / mud volcanism in the Mediterranean and adjacent domains. CIESM Workshop Monographs n°29, 59-64.

Capozzi, R., Picotti, V., 2002. Fluid migration and origin of a mud volcano in the Northern Apennines (Italy): role of deeply rooted normal faults. Terra Nova, 14, 5, 363-370.