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Abstract

The Colorado Basin is a large (100,000-km2), deep (15,000-m) Cretaceous and Tertiary clastic sedimentary basin located offshore from southern Buenos Aires Province, Argentina. Static components of the petroleum systems—source, reservoir, seal, and overburden—are either present or can be reasonably predicted from well and seismic data. However, the best structural traps are buried beneath 7000 m of sedimentary rocks. Basin-edge stratigraphic traps are suggested in the geometry of the seismic data but are difficult to delineate stratigraphically. Exploratory drilling has so far been unsuccessful.

It is the timing of the dynamic petroleum system factors that has negatively impacted the success of the potential petroleum systems in the basin. A 4000-m Cretaceous sandstone section has pushed the most likely source rock candidate completely through the oil window before deposition of the regional seal. Any hydrocarbons that might have been expelled would have migrated vertically to the surface and been lost. Migration paths, although simple and easily delineated, tend to be dispersive near the central basin but focus on broad areas of the basin flanks.

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