Roger Sassen

Roger Sassen

Visting Scholar

Resource Geosciences

  (979) 862-2323



Organic Geochemistry

Origin of hydrocarbons in the earth, rock and petroleum geochemistry in geologic and seismic context; geochemistry and economic geology of gas hydrate in the deep sea; geochemistry and geology of hydrocarbon migration and sea-floor seeps; rate and trajectory of oil biodegradation at low temperatures and high pressures of the deep sea; relationship of hydrocarbons to deep-sea chemosynthetic communities; study of diamondoids from condensate and dry gas, reservoir geochemistry; served as an energy advisor to the U.S. National Research Council, various governments including Canada, Colombia, Japan, India, Korea, and multiple energy companies.

Selected Oil and Gas Petroleum Systems

Exploration of the Gulf of Mexico Slope, shelf, northern Gulf Coast from the Late Jurassic to the Lower Tertiary, Campeche Shelf, Miocene Monterey and Eocene Shale in California, North Slope of Alaska, Chukchi Sea, offshore U.S. Atlantic and Canada. Exploration for gas from fracturing of Appalachian Devonian Black Shale, Mississippian Barnett Shale in Texas, Atokan Black Shale in southern U.S., Mississippian Black Shale in New Brunswick, and Upper Jurassic Smackover carbonate of the Gulf Coast. Explored offshore Nigeria, Angola, Namibia, East African Rift Zone in Kenya, and in Indonesia using seeps as a guide to the subsurface petroleum system. Presented courses on petroleum systems, source rocks, thermal maturity, oil and gas seeps, and on shale exploration. Research on proppant failure during fracturing.

Microbial Methane from Deep Biosphere

Publications on prolonged methanogenesis in rapidly subsiding basins, microbial oxidation of oil and gas in reservoirs, novel biogeochemical tracers (biomarkers) of chemosynthetic life from extreme environments in sediment, gas hydrate, brine, and ancient rocks; biogeochemistry and geology of authigenic carbonate rock depleted in 13C, uranium deposits, and Deep-Sea Red Beds.

Deep Ocean Exploration for Energy

Scientist or Chief scientist on research cruises of the Pisces II, Johnson Sea-Link I and II research submersibles, deep submergence vehicle ALVIN, and U.S. Navy NR-1 nuclear research submarine. Dr. Sassen has made >55 dives to the deep sea floor to study hydrocarbon seeps, vents, life in extreme environments, and the gas hydrate system from 1988-2006). Maximum sustained deep-submergence at >3,000 ft depth of 162 hours in the NR-1.

Selected Publications

  • Mansour, A.S. and R. Sassen (2011) Mineralogical characterization from a hydrocarbon seep site, Gulf of Mexico slope: Possible relation to crude oil degradation. Marine Geology v. 281, p. 58-69.

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