AAPG/SEG International Conference & Exhibition

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Structural Styles and Regional Play Types in the Mexican Offshore From New Seismic Data



A complex tectonic history has resulted in numerous structural provinces throughout the Gulf of Mexico (GOM), each with characteristic structural styles and sedimentary sequences. This presentation will provide seismic examples of these various terrains with the new 180,000 km TGS Gigante 2D seismic survey that covers the entire Mexican GOM (MGOM).

Geological evolution of the GOM began with Late Triassic rifting followed by Late Jurassic oceanic spreading and then transition to a passive margin. Thick Middle Jurassic salt deposited in rift basins began to move by the Late Jurassic. A stable tectonic setting developed from the Late Jurassic, characterized by carbonate deposition on shallow water structural highs fringing the subsiding oceanic basin. Large Late Cretaceous to Miocene clastic sediment inputs related to events like the Laramide and Chiapas orogenies resulted in gravity sliding and high amplitude fold belts along the western flanks of the basin. Complex compressional terrains in the southern GOM (Campeche) are overprinted by halokinesis, which also sets up deep water play possibilities in the Isthmus Saline Basin.

The regional survey is ideally suited to creating a catalogue of structural styles, depositional characteristics, and trap and play types for each of the MGOM structural provinces. Examples of transitions between the provinces and petroleum systems are also afforded via the continuous regional grid. Seismic integration with potential field data helps constrain the tectono-stratigraphic framework and provides insights to deep structure and the extent of oceanic - continental crust boundaries.

The Gigante survey also ties regional 2D US GOM data. Although the US GOM is a mature province with over 19,000 exploration wells and extensive seismic coverage, new technologies and play concepts have provided a catalyst to new discoveries of giant fields like Great White and Tobago in the Perdido foldbelt and Jack and St. Malo in the deepwater Wilcox. US GOM learnings can be applied to the underexplored MGOM with only ∼ 600 exploratory wells. Trion and Maximino are examples of successes in the Perdido in Mexican waters. Observations of play extensions from the GOM to the MGOM are presented.