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BLACK, BRUCE A., Black Oil Co., Farmington, New Mexico

ABSTRACT: Effects of Laramide Compression and Tertiary Extension on Hydrocarbon Exploration in The Rio Grande Rift

Laramide compression, followed shortly after by Tertiary extensional tectonics in the Rio Grande rift, dictate both the structural styles and the locations of potential structural traps in the rift.

A careful analysis of the wells drilled for hydrocarbons in the rift's various basins since the early 1900's have given us important clues to the. structure and the stratigraphy in each of these basins, and helps us to define intelligent strategies for locating future oil and gas wildcat tests.

The great majority of hydrocarbons found in rift basins around the world are found on, or associated with, structural highs. However, the potential for fractured shale reservoirs, stratigraphic traps, and Cretaceous coal gas plays in certain areas of the Rio Grande rift are also considered to be good. These may provide attractive secondary targets in basins where the stratigraphy and fracturing are optimum.

To date, the Santa Fe embayment of the Espanola basin and the Albuquerque basin in the New Mexico portion of the rift have been the most heavily explored. Other basins in the rift both north and south of these basin also have good potential for oil and gas discoveries. However, the stratigraphy, and hence the potential reservoirs and source rocks, change significantly and give these basins their own unique parameters that must be considered for future hydrocarbon exploration.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90915©2000 AAPG Rocky Mountain Section, Albuquerque, New Mexico