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Justin E Birdwell

Research Engineer

Central Energy Resources Science Center

Office Phone: 303-236-1534
Fax: 303-236-3202
ORCID: 0000-0001-8263-1452

Supervisor: Rand D Gardner
Inorganic compositions of flowback and co-produced waters from hydrocarbon extraction have been studied directly and through laboratory experiments that seek to replicate subsurface water-rock interaction. Here a broad analysis is made of compositions from the U.S. Geological Survey Produced Waters Database (v2.3) and leachates (water, hydrochloric acid, artificial brine) for 12 energy-resource related shales from across the United States. The database illustrates common ranges for 26 elements in 4 produced water types and enhanced solubility with increasing ionic strength is observed for Al, Ba, Fe, Li, Mn, Rb, Sr, and possibly 11 other elements. Differences are observed between laboratory leachates and produced...
Geological models for petroleum generation suggest thermal conversion of oil-prone sedimentary organic matter in the presence of water promotes increased liquid saturate yield, whereas absence of water causes formation of an aromatic, cross-linked solid bitumen residue. To test the influence of exchangeable hydrogen from water, organic-rich (22 wt.% total organic carbon, TOC) mudrock samples from the Eocene lacustrine Green River Mahogany zone oil shale were pyrolyzed under hydrous and anhydrous conditions at temperatures between 300 and 370°C for 72 hrs. Petrographic approaches including optical microscopy, reflectance, Raman spectroscopy, and scanning electron and transmission electron microscopy, supplemented...
The nanoscale molecular composition of kerogen is a challenging parameter to characterize given the chemical and structural complexity exhibited by this important biopolymer. However, kerogen composition will strongly impact its reactivity and so is a critical parameter to understand petroleum generation processes during kerogen catagenesis. The recent advent of tip-enhanced analytical methods, such as atomic force microscopy-based infrared spectroscopy (AFM-IR), has allowed for the major compositional features of kerogen to be elucidated at spatial resolutions at or below 50 nm. Here we apply AFM-IR to examine inertinite, an important kerogen maceral type, from an immature Eagle Ford Shale sample. Our data show...
Solid bitumen is a petrographically-defined secondary organic matter residue produced during petroleum generation and subsequent oil transformation. The presence of solid bitumen impacts many shale reservoir properties including porosity, permeability, and hydrocarbon generation and storage, amongst others. Furthermore, solid bitumen reflectance is an important parameter for assessing the thermal maturity of formations with little to no vitrinite. While the molecular composition of solid bitumen will strongly impact associated parameters such as the development of organic matter porosity, hydrocarbon generation, and optical reflectance, assessing the molecular composition of solid bitumen in situ within shale reservoirs...
This legacy database lists occurrences of minerals identified in the Green River Formation in the Uinta and Piceance Basins, Utah and Colorado using X-ray diffraction (XRD). The database was compiled from data collected by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and former U.S. Bureau of Mines (USBM). The database includes 1200 samples from 14 cores in the Uinta Basin and 9443 samples from 30 cores in the Piceance Basin; within that dataset over 40 mineral phases are represented between the two basins. Quartz, dolomite, and feldspars are the most common minerals. For nearly a century, these two agencies conducted extensive research on the oil shale deposits of the Eocene Green River Formation, Utah, Colorado, and Wyoming....
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