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BEER, JAMES A., Pecten International Company, Houston, TX, and OSCAR LOPEZ P., YPFB, Santa Cruz, Bolivia

ABSTRACT: Paleozoic Expulsion in Bolivia: Its Influence on Field Size and Distribution

Production within the Chaco Basin of Bolivia may be grouped into three areas: a northern area with several large fields (> 100 MMBOE), a central area nearly devoid of fields, and a southern area with numerous small fields. Models for the timing of hydrocarbon charge suggest that field size and distribution can be tied to spatial variation in the magnitude of a Paleozoic expulsion event. In the central Chaco, the Devonian Los Monos Formation source rock interval was deeply buried beneath a Carboniferous depocenter (1600 to 2000 m of sediment). An in-house thermal modeling program, constrained by vitrinite reflectance data, indicates that the source rock interval entered the oil window as early as 270 Ma. Basal Los Monos kerogen was completely converted to oil prior to Neogene trap f rmation, making oil accumulations impossible. In the southern Chaco, an intermediate Carboniferous thickness (1300-1600 m) resulted in a less pronounced pre-Cenozoic expulsion event. Expulsion began at 150 Ma, with 80% of basal Los Monos kerogen converted to oil prior to trap formation. The southern Chaco thus has limited exploration opportunity for large accumulations. The northern Chaco has a thin Carboniferous veneer (O1300 m), and experienced insignificant pre-Cenozoic expulsion. As a result, 90% of the basal Los Monos kerogen was available for conversion to oil at the time of trap formation, and large accumulations were possible.

Given the relationship between field presence/size and subsidence history, a Carboniferous isopach map is a powerful exploration tool. Where there is a thin Carboniferous section, unconverted Devonian source rocks are able to charge Cenozoic structures. One area that meets this criterium is the western Subandean, a relatively unexplored province adjacent to the Chaco Basin.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90988©1993 AAPG/SVG International Congress and Exhibition, Caracas, Venezuela, March 14-17, 1993.