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Recent drilling results in the Gulf of Mexico and West Africa highlight the vital economic importance of hydrocarbon fluid quality and biodegradation, particularly in deepwater areas, where drilling and development costs are high. Pre-drill prediction of these factors remains a challenge. Oilfield data show a complex distribution of biodegraded oil occurrences in deepwater areas. Some fields, in which present-day reservoir temperature is as high as 80°C, contain biodegraded oils; whereas in other fields, reservoirs which are <50°C contain relatively fresh, unaltered oils.
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