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ABSTRACT: The Habitat of Petroleum in the Brazilian Marginal and West African Basins: A Biological Marker Investigation

M. R. Mello, J. R. Maxwell, A. L. Soldan, J. Figueira

A geochemical and biological marker investigation of a variety of oils from offshore Brazil and west Africa, ranging in age from Lower Cretaceous to Tertiary, has been done, with the following aims: (1) assessing the depositional environment of source rocks, (2) correlating the reservoired oils, (3) comparing the Brazilian oils with their west African counterparts.

The approach was based in stable isotope data; bulk, elemental, and hydrous pyrolysis results; and molecular studies involving quantitative geological marker investigations of alkanes using GC-MS and GC-MS-MS.

The results reveal similarities between groups of oils from each side of the Atlantic and suggest an origin from source rocks deposited in five types of depositional environment: lacustrine fresh water, lacustrine saline water, marine evaporitic/carbonate, restricted marine anoxic, and marine deltaic. In west Africa, the Upper Cretaceous marine anoxic succession (Cenomanian-Santonian) appears to be a major oil producer, but in Brazil it is generally immature. The Brazilian offshore oils have arisen mainly from the pre-salt sequence, whereas the African oils show a balance between origins from the pre-salt and marine sequences.

The integration of the geochemical and geological data indicate that new frontiers of hydrocarbon exploration in the west African basins must consider the Tertiary reservoirs in the offshore area of Niger Delta, the reservoirs of the rift sequences in the shallow-water areas of south Gabon, Congo, and Cuanza basins, and the reservoirs from the drift sequences (post-salt) in the deep-water areas of Gabon, Congo Cabinda, and Cuanza basins.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #91003©1990 AAPG Annual Convention, San Francisco, California, June 3-6, 1990