Skip to Main Content
Book Chapter

Regional Hydrocarbon Systems of Colombia and Western Venezuela: Their Origin, Potential, and Exploration

By
Tomas Villamil
Tomas Villamil
ECOPETROL, Bogotá, Colombia
Search for other works by this author on:
Published:
January 01, 2003

Abstract

This paper synthesizes technical, commercial, and strategic issues regarding the petroleum systems and exploration of the northwest corner of South America in three parts: a technical analysis of the presence and distribution of the hydrocarbon systems; analysis of the areas with the largest remaining potential; and Colombia’s exploration strategy in relation to its geology and potential.

The technical portion outlines, with the use of countrywide paleogeographic maps, the main reasons for the presence and distribution of hydrocarbons in the region. Regional petroleum systems are described using a process and genesis methodology. The proposed hypothesis for source-rock quality and distribution combines regional plate tectonics with the formation of a large igneous province, global warming, increased upwelling, widespread anoxia-dysoxia, and sea-level rise. The hypothesis for reservoir distribution and quality comprises details of a regional orogenic event that affected the northwest margin of South America. The distribution of different reservoir qualities is determined by the erosion of an elongated mountain belt formed by this orogeny, the associated synorogenic sedimentation, and the evolution of a closing foreland basin that received sediments from the west from a mountain chain with varied basement stratigraphy, and from the east, sediments from the Guyana Shield. The explanation for regional seal deposition lies in the tectonic extension and foundering of large portions of Colombia and western Venezuela, the regional subsidence associated with diminished plate-tectonic convergence, and the associated increase of accommodation space. The inversion of the Eastern Cordillera and the development of doubly verging thrust belts bounding the mountain belt explain the formation of most traps. Adjacent forelands and foredeeps to the mountain belt and thick molasse packages combined with tectonic burial of the source rock explain generation and migration patterns. This paper also considers where the largest volumes of hydrocarbons will be found in the future, based on technical issues, and on the exploration history of different play areas in Colombia.

You do not currently have access to this article.

Figures & Tables

Contents

AAPG Memoir

The Circum-Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean: Hydrocarbon Habitats, Basin Formation and Plate Tectonics

Claudio Bartolini
Claudio Bartolini
Search for other works by this author on:
Richard T. Buffler
Richard T. Buffler
Search for other works by this author on:
Jon F. Blickwede
Jon F. Blickwede
Search for other works by this author on:
American Association of Petroleum Geologists
Volume
79
ISBN electronic:
9781629810546
Publication date:
January 01, 2003

GeoRef

References

Related

Citing Books via

Close Modal
This Feature Is Available To Subscribers Only

Sign In or Create an Account

Close Modal
Close Modal