Abstract: Petroleum Plays in some French Overseas Departments and Territories (French Guyana, West Indies, New Caledonia)
French overseas departments and territories are widespread throughout the world. Some of them are of no interest for the purpose of oil exploration because of their volcanic origin and the excessive depths of the surrounding waters. Three of them, however, should be considered as prospective areas in the near future.
The French Guyana Margin is an Atlantic Passive Margin of Mesozoic-Tertiary age. Two dry wells have been drilled twenty years ago on the western segment of the margin. Expected plays were Jurassic-early Cretaceous series but only the youngest ones have been tested. The eastern segment of the margin is unexplored but seismic lines show a three second thick sedimentary wedge of presumed Cretaceous to recent age.
The French West Indies belong to the volcanic arc of the Lesser Antilles Active Margin. The islands are thus built from volcanic rocks and intervening sediments of late Paleocene to recent age. Offshore basins of presumed Tertiary age and up to three seconds thick have been discovered by seismics in waters of shallow to moderate depths.
The present day structure of New Caledonia results from the collision and related obduction of ophiolites between a Mesozoic rifted fragment of Australia and an early Tertiary Pacific island arc. Sedimentary basins of late Cretaceous-Eocene age are preserved below allochtonous ultrabasic rocks. They contain a significant amount of coal measures possibly at the origin of several oil and gas shows.
AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90956©1995 AAPG International Convention and Exposition Meeting, Nice, France