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Roure, François, Institut Français du Pétrole, Rueil-Malmaison, France

Abstract: Kinematics of the Deformation and Petroleum System Appraisal in Mobile Belts

Structural interpretation integrating both surface and subsurface data, analog models (sandbox experiments), and cross section balancing techniques help in reconstructing the kinematic evolution of foreland fold and thrust belts. Deep seismic profiling and thermomechanical models accounting for the lithospheric architecture and dynamics are also helpful in the study and exploration of foothills areas.

More specifically, forward kinematic modeling, which simulates the structural evolution from the onset of compression to the present, is an aid in reconstructing the burial maturation and diagenetic history of potential source rocks and reservoirs. Erosion and uplift are two competing factors that can delay hydrocarbon generation and must be accounted for in these simulations. Forward modeling is also helpful in testing the validity of assumed migration pathways and traps.

Coupling the kinematics of deformation of folded belts with thermal maturation and expulsion modelings is possible. Future implementations are still required to address such important processes as fluid circulations and hydrocarbon migration, or dewatering and compaction of potential reservoirs.

The use of these integrated techniques in regional examples is described in selected European and South American foothills to account for the lithospheric dynamics and explain the various habitats of oil and gas in mobile belts.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90934©1997-1998 AAPG International Distinguished Lecturers