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Abstract: Regional Evaluation of the Hydrocarbon Potential for the South American Thrust Belts and Adjacent Foreland Basins

J. Coleman, J. Cook, M. Davis, L. Eggers, S. Spencer, S. Toadvine

The hydrocarbon potential of the Andean thrust belts and adjacent foreland basins is varied and made complicated by regional-scale changes in stratigraphy and accompanying structural style. These changes appear to be controlled by an inherited Paleozoic structural grain and an early Mesozoic rifting fabric. Accompanying these factors are variations in source rock and evaporite distribution.

Understanding the variability in the exploration and exploitation potential of the Andes is facilitated by a comparison with other thrust and fold belts from around the world. Using an integrated, modular approach, we have analyzed 27 petroliferous thrust belts and adjacent foreland basins from around the world to study the wide variety within these petroleum systems and their associated geotechnical risks.

This global study indicates that the essential factors of productive systems are the volume and distribution of effective source rocks in conjunction with the timing of hydrocarbon generation, migration, and entrapment. This timing varies extensively from north to south. Hence, what works in one portion of the belt may not work in another. Integration of a global study of well-documented thrust belts and foreland basins systems with an Andean exploration or exploitation study helps narrow the range of possible interpretations developed from minimal data commonly available prior to bid rounds. It also helps in field exploitation and deeper pool wildcat exploration by suggesting new trap type potential.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90951©1996 AAPG International Conference and Exhibition, Caracas, Venezuela