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R. Paul Philp

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R. Paul Philp

R. Paul Philp

Professor Emeritus

D.Sc., 1998, University of Sydney, Australia
Ph.D. 1972, University of Sydney, Australia
B.S. (Hons), 1968, University of Aberdeen, Scotland

Office: SEC 956
Phone: 405-325-4469
Fax: 405-325-3140

Areas of Interest

Petroleum and Environmental Geochemistry


My research interests are centered on the study of organic material as it is deposited in the sedimentary environment and undergoes a number of changes resulting from diagenesis, microbial degradation, and thermal maturation at higher temperatures in older sediments. Particular attention is given to studying the fate of individual organic compounds that can be related to specific sources of organic material and used to provide information on the type of hydrocarbon products a source rock will produce, its maturity, whether an oil has been biodegraded, and relative migration distances of oils. In addition, biomarkers have been shown to be useful in basin modeling studies. Development of pyrolysis techniques for the characterization of the insoluble organic matter in a known source rock is another area of research.

In a recent study funded by the US Coastguard, my students and I have been examining the use of combined gas chromatography-isotope ratio mass spectrometry as a means of correlating oil spills with the source of the spill. This study is also being expanded to demonstrate that the same technique can be used to determine the source of oil which may have contaminated birds or other wild life in the area of a spill.

Other research projects include:

  • Assessment of biomarkers for use as paleoclimatic and depositional environmental indicators.
  • Correlation of crude oils and suspected source rocks from basins around the world including China, Africa, South America, Australia and New Zealand.
  • Exploitation of geochemical techniques in environmental monitoring studies.

Selected Publications

Philp, R.P., 1997, Forensic Geochemistry, Natural Resources and Environment, 67-69.

Coates, J.D., Woodward, J., Allen, J., Philp, R.P. and Lovley, D.R., 1997, Anaerobic degradation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and alkanes in petroleum-contaminated marine harbor sediments. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 63, (9), 3589-3593.

Philp, R.P., and Mansuy, L., 1997, Petroleum geochemistry: concepts, applications and results. Energy and Fuels, 11, 749-760.

Masfield, C.T., Barman, B.N., Thomas, J.V., Mehrotra, A.K. and Philp, R.P., 1997, Petroleum and Coal. Anal. Chem. Application Reviews, 59R-94R.

Hwang, H.D. and Philp, R.P., 1997, Geochemical study of potential source rocks and crude oils in the Anadarko Basin, Oklahoma, AAPG Bull., 81(2), 249-275.