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The Falcon basin, located in northwestem Venezuela, has been intermittently explored since 1912. Since 1912, 200 exploratory wells have been drilled and 12,000 km of seismic lines have been acquired. This exploration effort has resulted in the discovery of eight small producing fields in both onshore and offshore areas.

The geologic history of the basin began in the late Eocene, and deposition continued through the Pliocene to the Recent. Because the basin is located at the boundary between the Caribbean and South American plates, sedimentation was controlled primarily by tectonism as evidenced by seismic and well data.

Three structural systems developed as a result of east-west dextral crustal movement. The first, consisting of a set of normal faults and associated horsts and grabens, forms the northern extension of the Oligocene-Miocene basin. The second system, known as the Falcon anticlinorium, includes east-northeast- striking parallel folds located in the center of the basin. The third structural system encompasses the active east-striking right-lateral strike-slip faults of which the Oca fault is the most relevant, owing to its regional extent.

The stratigraphic discontinuity within the basin is one of its principal features. The two stratigraphic stages that have been recognized are the result of a late Eocene to early Miocene transgression and a middle Miocene to Recent regression.

The northern flank of the basin, including the offshore area, has generated hydrocarbons from Oligocene and lower Miocene marine source rocks. However, small quantities of crude oils of terrigenous origin have been generated from Eocene source rocks.

Based on the tectonic and stratigraphic framework of the Falcon basin, a new conceptual model is proposed that can be applied to future hydrocarbon exploration in the area.

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