Salt tectonics were responsible for the development of optimum conditions for accumulation of large hydrocarbon reserves in Campos basin.
The salt movements, triggered by basin tilting and differential loading, initially formed low-relief salt pillows that controlled the porous facies of the shallow-water Macaé limestones. The continuous evolution of halokinetic processes produced growth faults, rollover crests, and faulted anticlines. Upper Cretaceous turbidite sandstones were channelized in the downthrown blocks of growth faults. Salt-collapse, residual, and reliefinversion features were formed in areas where the salt was sufficiently thick.
The oil, generated in the Neocomian shales of Lagoa Feia Formation, migrated to upper formations through normal faults associated with the rift phase, stratigraphic conduits such as porous rocks and regional unconformities, and gaps created by salt flowage in the Aptian evaporite section. Oil migration to the post-salt rocks was favored by active growth faults and by the presence of a regional unconformity developed at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary and covered by turbidite sheet sands.
The oils underwent progressive alteration along their paths to the post-salt reservoirs. Oil-oil and oil-source rock correlations suggest that the hydrocarbons trapped in many diverse plays, although affected by bacterial degradation and water washing, belong to only one oil family. The oil degradation was probably enhanced by meteoric water invasions during Tertiary low stands of sea level in areas close to the paleocoastline. These phenomena resulted in large amounts of oil becoming heavier and enriched in sulfur, resins, asphaltenes, and cycloparaffins.