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Offshore Mexican Gulf of Mexico Stratigraphic and Structural Framework from Late Jurassic to Recent and Implications for Hydrocarbon Potential

Anthony Rodriguez¹ and Paul Mann²
¹ Chevron Corporation, Houston, Texas 77007
² University of Houston, Houston, Texas 77004

The ~850,000 sq km US sector of the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) currently produces 1.97 BBOE per year or ~2.7 times the amount produced in the ~700,000 sq km Mexican sector of the GOM (730 MMBOE per year). The main reason for this production discrepancy is the current lack of deepwater wells in the Mexican sector in contrast to the U.S. sector where deepwater wells drilled over the past 20+ years now provide 70% of the U.S. sector’s current GOM production. I have created a modern regional framework for future deepwater exploration of the Mexican Gulf of Mexico (MGOM) from Late Jurassic to Recent derived from a Landmark seismic reflection database that includes ~20,000 km of UTIG seismic reflection data collected in the 1970s and ~5000 km of PEMEX seismic data from the MGOM shelf and slope that I have scanned from published papers, converted to SEG-Y format, and loaded into my Landmark project. Based on the seismic character and sequence boundaries of 20 sequences recognized on the shelf, slope and deep basin, I define four tectonosequences that can be linked to the main tectonic stages of the GOM: 1) Late Jurassic to Late Cretaceous passive margin phase; 2) Late Cretaceous to late Eocene Laramide orogenic phase; 3) late Eocene to middle Miocene passive margin phase; and 4) late Miocene to Recent deformational phase. Hydrocarbons are mainly confined in carbonate rocks deposited during tectonosequence 1 on the shelf but slope and deep basin equivalents of tectonosequences 2 through 4 remain untested by deepwater drilling. Future exploration into the deep basin is critical for increasing production in Mexico and it is likely that hydrocarbons are present in clastic rocks of a 500-km-wide, 3.5-km-thick Laramide submarine fan that deposited during tectonosequence 2.


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90158©2012 GCAGS and GC-SEPM 6nd Annual Convention, Austin, Texas, 21-24 October 2012