The molecular and sulfur isotope distribution of volatile compounds in natural gases and condensates from Alberta, Canada

Ilya Kutuzov, Ward Said-Ahmad, Courtney Turich, Chunqing Jiang, Nathalie Luu, Tracey Jacksier, Alon Amrani*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Compound-specific S isotope analysis (CSSIA) of volatile organic sulfur compounds (VOSC) in petroleum gases was applied for the first time to two natural gas samples from the Triassic section of the Alberta Basin in Canada. For comparison, CSSIA was conducted for five condensate samples from adjacent wells. The analysis of VOSC in the gas samples revealed similarity in the sulfur isotope composition for thiols, sulfides, and H2S suggesting an isotopic equilibrium during the reaction between H2S and hydrocarbons in the reservoir. In contrast, one of the gas samples contained alkyl thiophenes with distinct δ34S values that suggest a different source, probably from oil or bitumen. The molecular and isotopic analysis of condensates revealed several phases of thiol interaction with H2S bearing similar δ34S value as the H2S in Gas A and B. Thermally stable OSC such as alkyl-, benzo- and dibenzo- thiophenes of all condensate samples kept their previous δ34S values and not the ones expected in isotopic equilibrium, indicating a recent migration of H2S to the reservoirs. The δ34S value of the H2S reacting with the gas and condensate samples is isotopically similar to H2S which could have generated during complete microbial or thermochemical sulfate reduction of the Charlie Lake anhydrite in the Triassic section, therefore making this process the likely source of the H2S. This study demonstrates the potential of sulfur isotope analysis of VOSC to interpret origin, migration pathways and provide a relative time frame for in-reservoir processes impacting present day natural gas properties.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number104129
JournalOrganic Geochemistry
StatePublished - Jan 2021

Bibliographical note

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© 2020 Elsevier Ltd


  • Condensate
  • Hydrogen sulfide
  • Natural gas
  • Sulfur isotope
  • Volatile organic sulfur compounds


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