Liquid-rich unconventional petroleum systems have become a significant worldwide exploration target with increased activity over the past years. Unlike the conventional system which requires off structure generation and migration, the liquid-rich unconventional petroleum system requires little or no migration. The liquid-rich unconventional acts as both source and reservoir (i.e. Eagle Ford); or the source rock is juxtaposed against or inter-bedded within the reservoir requiring minimal migration (i.e. Sprayberry).
There are many similarities to the conventional petroleum system but key fundamental differences are critical in understanding liquid-rich unconventional play potential. One must keep in mind not all organic rich oil generating source rocks will provide an economic liquid-rich unconventional petroleum system. There are several key petroleum system factors which must be in place for a liquid-rich unconventional petroleum play to be economical. Having all of these factors does not guarantee the liquid-rich unconventional system will have sufficient production rates and ultimate recovery for an economic play, but not having one or more guarantees the liquid-rich unconventional system will be marginal or non-economic.