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Abstract: Gas Play Opportunities in Deeper Jurassic Sequences of the Neuquen Basin Embayment, Argentina

Fernando Fernandez-Seveso, Daniel E. Figueroa, Hugo Rodriguez

We have defined new gas plays at around 4000 m depth near the giant Loma La Lata gas field. The plays, in lower Jurassic sandstones, were developed using a different approach in stratigraphic signatures as well as deformation styles. Two initial rifting stages led to the Triassic-Early Liassic volcanoclastic deposition (Precuyo s.l.) into a suite of discrete half-grabens. The late rifting stage amalgamated the Precuyo depocenters into notably extended subsiding half-grabens where the Pliensbachian-Toarcian deposits were accommodated. This lower Cuyo sequence-set (LC) consists of basinal marine shales (Molles Formation) and a progradational stacking of slope and shelf sandstones (Lajas Formation), bearing a kerogen type III-II within the gas window with TOC values range 2- %. The LC top matches with a conspicuous regional unconformity related to the thermo-mechanic subsidence. The overlying Bajocian-early Callovian upper Cuyo sequence set exhibits outer shelf argillaceous sediments at the base. The identified plays are related to two deformation mechanisms: mud diapirism and tectonic inversion. The thick, rapidly deposited LC sandstones triggered the ductile flow of the underlying, overpressured shales. Soon after, the tectonic inversion of the Precuyo half-grabens produced a series of aligned anticlines parallel to Huincul Arch. Scattered incipient diapirism toward the embayment resulted in dome-like structures. Sandstones with gas shows could act as "tight gas reservoirs." However, increased permeability through natural fracturing in the structures would increase their viability. The estimated resources of several TCF in untested closures and the industry infrastructure make these plays particularly attractive for gas exploration.

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