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Colombia Caribbean Basin: From a Frontier Area to a New Hydrocarbon Province


Colombia Caribbean Basin is probably one of the last remaining and accessible frontier hydrocarbon provinces in the world. Despite its easy accessible geographic location, Caribbean of Colombia has been barely explored. In more than 60 years of exploration only around 40 wildcat wells have been drilled in the region, with 5 of them drilled in the last decade and only 4 in deep waters. In Colombia, out of these drilling campaigns, only 6 hydrocarbon discoveries have been reported up to 2015, including Chuchupa-Ballena fields in the 70's by Texaco (now Chevron), Santa Ana in early 80's by Mobil and Cartagena-Mapale (Cartagena wells were drilled in 1980 by Texaco and Mapale in 2012 by Equion), Orca in 2014 (operated by Petrobras), and Kronos in 2015 (operated by Anadarko). Recent and future exploratory drilling campaigns have been technically supported with the integration of modern 3d and 2d seismic, geochemistry, basin modeling, biostratigraphy and rock properties. Exploration in the Caribbean received positive momentum after the discovery in 2008 of Perla gas and condensate giant field, by a Repsol-ENI consortium in Venezuelan shallow waters. Recent public data indicates that Perla field can amount to more than 20 TCF, with first production started by mid 2015. Exploratory efforts during the last decade, with active presence of Ecopetrol, have been conducted by world class Deepwater players such as Petrobras, Anadarko, Repsol, Shell, Statoil and ONGC. A continuous effort of data gathering and interpretation, including seismic, piston coring, gravity and magnetics, have led to the identification of several sizeable subsurface features, worthy of being tested by the bit. Ecopetrol and its partners have put significant effort to reduce the exploratory risk and uncertainties pertaining to the petroleum systems elements and operational challenges. Interpretation of new well and seismic data along with play based exploration approach have led to a better understanding of the hydrocarbon systems. Piston coring and high resolution geochemistry have provided evidences of the existence of both biogenic gas system and the presence of an active thermogenic system, potentially tied to Mesozoic-oil prone source rocks. Sediment source provenance studies have also provided the constraints for paleogeographic models and quality of possible reservoirs. Victor, character limit 2500 will add the balance once accepted