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Petroleum Systems Definition in the Exploratory Basins of Northern Colombia: Relation to the Pre-Neogene Depositional Environment

Vargas, Luz S.1; Nino, Helga N.; and Ramirez, Victor
1[email protected]

The sedimentary basins of northern Colombia, especially those located offshore, are traditionally considered areas of low exploration potential. Indeed, for many decades they were viewed almost exclusively as a biogenic gas province. The results of recent studies (piston core campaigns) conducted and promoted by Ecopetrol have changed the regional vision about the existence of thermogenic petroleum systems. These results allow us to propose the presence of pre-Neogene source rocks intervals that could generate a range of thermogenic hydrocarbons.

The interpretation of field data made in many locations in northern Colombia and regional seismic interpretation allow us to characterize and propose potential reservoirs and seals in the area. The reconstruction of depositional environments is mainly based on rock characterization and outcrop/well samples, making it possible to determine and identify the distribution of petroleum system elements in the Colombian Caribbean basins. The evolution of sedimentary environments is linked to tectono-sedimentary conditions of northern South America. This environment is characterized by calcareous platforms, shallow siliciclastic platforms, and slope and toe slope deposits. Depending on the time interval, geographic, and climatic influences these features can exhibit different facies that we recognize in the sedimentary column.

Available data, regional geological models, and geochemical information support the presence and distribution of petroleum systems elements from the paleoenvironmental interpretation. Integration of these elements allows the construction of a basin model in the study area. The model results show that hydrocarbons have migrated across the analyzed basins, during Middle Miocene to Pliocene, depending on the geographical position of studied intervals. The application of this model results in a new perspective on the petroleum systems in the region and the level of exploration potential. Based upon this new information, the basins covered by our model should become an important focus area in the future for frontier exploration in Colombia.


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