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Structural Transition From Cordoba Platform to Veracruz Basin (Mexico)

Abstract

Recent liberalization of Mexico's petroleum laws led to a great increase in exploration activities both offshore and onshore. Both legacy and newly-collected data and information is being analyzed in effort to make new discoveries and optimize production from known fields. This study illustrates the early stage of new exploration program targeting an understanding of structural architecture along the eastern edge of the Cordoba Platform.

The platform is built by Jurassic and Cretaceous strata and originally formed along passive margin, which experienced Late Cretaceous compression, uplift and erosion. As a result fold and thrust belt was formed along the platform edge. Eroded sediments were supplied to the structural lows within the platform (piggy-back basins) and into Veracruz basin to the east filling it up with a thick section of Cenozoic clastics and burying older fold and thrust system underneath. Majority of known fields here are related to the structural highs (anticlines) bounded by predominantly west-dipping thrust faults.

There was a number of oil and gas fields discovered along the Cordoba platform edge within the study area, including Mecayucan, Mata Pionche, Manuel Rodriguez Aguilar, Copite, Mirajoles, Tres Higueras, Plan de Oro, and Lagarto. All of them have petroleum reservoirs within Cretaceous platform carbonates. For example, oil has been produced from Guzmantla (Turonian-Santonian) formation of the Tres Higueras and Plan de Oro fields. Cretaceous Orizaba (Albian-Cenomanian) and Mendez (Campanian-Maastrichtian) formations are other proven hydrocarbon-bearing reservoirs in the area.

In this work geophysical and geological data were analyzed to create a regional structural map of the transition zone between Cordoba Platform and Veracruz Basin (its northern part). While illustrating some aspects of the early-stage exploration, this project has provided better understanding of structural features, controlling known-fields’ distribution and identified prospective areas for further exploration.