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MANN, PAUL, University of Texas, Institute for Geophysics, Austin, TX, and RADIM KOLARSKY, Texaco, USA, New Orleans, LA

ABSTRACT: Late Cretaceous-Cenozoic Basin Framework and Petroleum Potential of Panama and Costa Rica

Despite its location between major petroleum provinces in northwestern South America and northern Central America, there is a widespread negative perception of the petroleum potential of Panama and Costa Rica in southern Central America. Several factors may contribute to this perception: (1) the on- and offshore geology of many areas has only be studied in a reconnaissance fashion; (2) sandstone reservoirs and source rocks are likely to be of poor quality because Upper Cretaceous-Cenozoic sandstones are eroded from island arc or oceanic basement rocks and because oil-prone source rocks are likely to be scarce in near-arc basins; and (3) structural traps are likely to be small and fragmented because of complex late Cenozoic thrust and strike-slip tectonics. On the other hand, onshore o l and gas seeps, shows and small production in wildcat wells, and source rocks with TOC values up to 26% suggest the possibility of future discoveries. In this talk, we present the results of a regional study using 3100 km of offshore seismic lines kindly provided by industry. Age and stratigraphic control of offshore lines is constrained by limited well data and detailed field studies of basin outcrops in coastal areas. We describe the major structures, stratigraphy, and tectonic history of the following areas: Gulf of Panama and Gulf of Chiriqui of Panama and the Pacific and Caribbean margins of Costa Rica.

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