Laboratory for Organic Geochemistry and Petrology

GEUS’ Laboratory for Organic Geochemistry and Petrology has extensive experience within organic geochemical and petrological analysis of source rocks, oil, coals. The laboratory conducts pure research projects, offers its services on fully commercial terms, or participates in collaborative projects.

Founded in 1978, the laboratory has developed from a primarily coal-oriented unit into a full-fledged organic geochemical laboratory and a petrological laboratory that now features a range of "state of the art" instrumentation for the detailed characterisation of geologically occurring organic substances, including coal, oil and petroleum source rocks. Contact us to hear more about our expertise.

Work fields

Prominent fields of work include the detailed characterisation of crude oils for use within mapping of petroleum type occurrence, correlation between oils and between oils and their sources, mixing problems in oil wells and pipelines, reservoir geochemistry studies, petroleum generation from coals, petrographic and geochemical characterisation of terrestrial, lacustrine and marine source rocks, organic maturity assessment by vitrinite reflectance, and petrological studies of coals and chars.

In addition, synthesis of authentic biomarker standard compounds is carried out as part of a long-lasting collaboration with an industry partner.

Organic geochemical services

Geochemical services offered include organic geochemical screening analysis as well as advanced analyses. Screening analyses available include Total Carbon (TC), Total Organic Carbon (TOC), Total Sulphur (TS), and Rock-Eval-type pyrolysis using the Source Rock Analyzer instrument (Humble Instruments, presently Weatherford) or the HAWK (Wildcat Technologies) that yield data corresponding to those produced by the Rock-Eval™.

Further analyses include solvent extraction using a Soxtec™ apparatus and group type fractionation by Medium Performance Liquid Chromatography (MPLC), Gas Chromatographic analysis (GC) of both saturated and aromatic compounds, and biological marker analysis by coupled Gas Chromatography – Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS and GC-MS-MS). Furthermore, for identification of unknown compounds, isolation of individual biological markers by means of High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) is carried out.

Organic petrology services

The Organic Petrology section of the laboratory is dedicated to the petrographic study of organic matter in sedimentary rocks and coals. The laboratory has been awarded full accreditation (certificate nos. ICCP/FA/33.1/0043AB & ICCP/FA/33.2/0044AB) in vitrinite random reflectance analysis of coals and dispersed organic matter (DOM), and maceral analysis by the International Committee for Coal and Organic Petrology (ICCP).

The laboratory is equipped with several incident light microscopes with facilities for determination of the rank/maturity and petrographic composition of coals and kerogens by means of vitrinite reflectance measurements, and combined white/blue light maceral analysis. For vitrinite reflectance analysis, the Hilgers Diskus system is used.

Over the years, the laboratory has gained extensive expertise within organic facies analysis of organic-rich deposits, source rocks and coals related to the interpretation of the original depositional environment and to the evaluation of source rock potential.

Extensive service to authorities and industry

The laboratory has contributed to both basic and applied research within a variety of fields in more than 30 different countries on five continents, provided extensive service to Danish authorities and carried out numerous consultancy projects for the petroleum industry and others.

Henrik Ingermann Petersen
Senior Researcher
Geo-energy and Storage
Charlotta Jenny Lüthje
Head of Department
Geo-energy and Storage


Please contact the laboratory manager for information.