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Abstract: South Atlantic Sag Basins: New Petroleum System Components

Steven G. Henry, Webster U. Mohriak, Marcio R. Mello

Newly discovered pre-salt source rocks, reservoirs and seals need to be included as components to the petroleum systems of both sides of the South Atlantic. These new components lie between the pre-salt rift strata and the Aptian salt layers, forming large, post-rift, thermal subsidence sag basins. These are differentiated from the older rift basins by the lack of syn-rift faulting and a reflector geometry that is parallel to the base salt regional unconformity rather than to the Precambrian basement. These basins are observed in deep water regions overlying areas where both the mantle and the crust have been involved in the extension. This mantle involvement creates post-rift subsiding depocenters in which deposition is continuous while proximal rift-phase troughs with l ttle or no mantle involvement are bypassed and failed to accumulate potential source rocks during anoxic times. These features have been recognized in both West African Kwanza Basin and in the East Brasil Rift systems.

The pre-salt source rocks that are in the West African sag basins were deposited in lacustrine brackish to saline water environment and are geochemically distinct from the older, syn-rift fresh to brackish water lakes, as well as from younger, post-salt marine anoxic environments of the drift phase. Geochemical analyses of the source rocks and their oils have shown a developing source rock system evolving from isolated deep rift lakes to shallow saline lakes, and culminating with the infill of the sag basin by large saline lakes to a marginally marine restricted gulf. Sag basin source rocks may be important in the South Atlantic petroleum system by charging deep-water prospects where syn-rift source rocks are overmature and the post-salt sequences are immature.

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