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Late Jurassic Source Rock Distribution and Quality in the Gulf of Mexico:

Inferences from Plate Tectonic Modeling

By

Jacques, John M., and Clegg, Heather

Tellus Division, Robertson Research International Limited, Llandudno, North Wales, United Kingdom

 

The Gulf of Mexico basins study (TellusTM) provides a petroleum geological review for the assessment and prediction of the hydrocarbon potential of each basin. This has been achieved by synthesising their tectonic, structural and depositional history in order to summarise proven plays and identify new play concepts as a predictive tool for the assessment of their future prospectivity and the identification of regional play fairway trends.

Integrated with field and well data, the structure, stratigraphy and deformational state of each basin are stored in GIS format, providing a powerful means for spatial and temporal relationships associated with petroleum systems in the Gulf of Mexico to be observed.

Unresolved problems and alternative models for the tectonic evolution of the Gulf of Mexico have been reviewed in an attempt to identify what is known and evaluate what is presumed about the infrastructural framework of the region. The resultant composite palaeotectonic model has been assessed and modified by using potential field data to define original pre-rift and pre-drift continental block outlines and configurations. Important information on Mesozoic source rock distribution and quality throughout the region has been synthesised and rotated onto the relevant palaeodepositional time-slice maps. Enhanced with field, well, DSDP and seep data, the hydrocarbon potential of sub-salt and deep (200m to 1750m) to ultra-deep (>1750m) water areas have been investigated. Palaeo-temperature gradients, and the influence of sediment loading on the shelf and upper slope are also considered to provide an improved understanding of the maturation history of the source rocks.