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Frank J. Picha1
(1) International Petroleum Consultant, Walnut Creek, CA

Abstract: Sedimentary basins and petroleum systems in terms of global tectonic cycles

Worldwide exploration for remaining undiscovered hydrocarbons requires good understanding of geology and petroleum systems of many diverse provinces on the world. In order to predict potential new plays, various concepts and models must be integrated and related to existing natural systems. Obviously, the sedimentary basins, their tectonic and depositional history, represent such a principle category to which all other aspects, including elements of the petroleum system, such as source rock, generation, migration, and entrapment of hydrocarbons, are related.

The modern definition and classification of sedimentary basins and associated petroleum systems is in principal based on concepts of plate tectonics. Various types of sedimentary basins and associated petroleum systems evolved during the succession of critical stages of the plate tectonic cycle such as rifting, sagging, drifting, subduction, and collision. The petroleum systems, including all processes from source rocks deposition to final entrapment of hydrocarbons, evolve in a single stage of a plate tectonic cycle, e.g., in a simple intracratonic rift basins; during two or more stages of a cycle, e.g., on passive continental margins with stages of rifting, sagging, and drifting; or even extend over two successive plate tectonic cycles. These various settings are demonstrated on examples of sedimentary basins from South America, Africa, Europe, and Asia.

Comprehensive evaluation of sedimentary basins and petroleum systems in terms of global tectonic cycles broadens explorationists' ability to generate new plays and prospects.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90914©2000 AAPG Annual Convention, New Orleans, Louisiana