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Evaluation of the Thermal Regime in the Curaçao Basin and its Impact on the Prospectivity of Potential Petroleum Systems in the Basin

Abdul Fattah, Rader1; de Bruin, Geert; Van Wees, Jan Diederik; Verweij, Hanneke; and Pagnier, Henk
1[email protected]

The Curaçao Basin, located to the south of Curaçao, evolved during the Tertiary as a pull apart basin at the boundary of the South Caribbean Plate and the South American Plate.

The basin is marked by considerable Tertiary sediment thickness and the sea water depths in the basin ranges up to about 1500 m. The basin is a frontier area for exploration and no wells have been drilled in the basin. The stratigraphy of the basin is usually correlated to neighboring pull apart basins (such as the Aruba basin). Geothermal gradient measurements in wells from the Aruba basin indicate, when applied to the Curaçao basin, a lower heat flow of ca. of 31 mW/m2. This value is consistent with the oceanic nature of the Cretaceous basement of the basin. It is probably not sufficient to generate hydrocarbons under the known geological settings of these basins.

In this study we show that heat flow can remarkably vary in the Curaçao basin that in some parts of the basin the source rocks can enter the hydrocarbon generating windows. The main playing factors are sea water depth variations and sediments thickness in the basin.

Depending on the type of the source rock, it is even possible that considerable amounts of oil and gas could have been generated in the basin. We implement a tectonic heat flow modeling approach to model heat flow variations in the region and though time.

We rely on public data and available compilation of 2D seismic lines to build a geological model of the basin.


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90166©2013 AAPG International Conference & Exhibition, Cartagena, Colombia, 8-11 September 2013