Definition - What does Maturation mean?
Maturation is the process of a source rock being able to generate oil or gas by converting organic matter to hydrocarbons when subjected to appropriate pressure and temperature. As a source rock begins to mature, it generates hydrocarbons and the generation of heavy oil is succeeded by medium and light oil and condensates. The maturity of a source rock reflects the ambient pressure, temperature and the time period of conditions favorable for hydrocarbon generation.
Petropedia explains Maturation
Petroleum is formed by the organic matter that was buried under anoxic conditions over millions of years. Layers of silt, sand and other sediments settle over the buried organic matter over a long period of time. This leads to an increase in pressure and temperature over the organic matter which slowly transforms the organic matter into hydrocarbons in the source rocks. This process of conversion of organic matter into hydrocarbons in the source rock when exposed to appropriate temperature and pressure is called maturation. Temperature is the most important factor for thermal maturation since it determines the resultant hydrocarbon type. Time is the second most important factor for thermal maturation.