Transgressive-Regressive Cycles: Application to Petroleum Exploration for Hydrocarbons Associated with Cretaceous Shelf Carbonates and Coastal and Fluvial-Deltaic Siliciclastics, Northeastern Gulf of Mexico
Ernest A. Mancini, Puckett T. Markham, 2002. "Transgressive-Regressive Cycles: Application to Petroleum Exploration for Hydrocarbons Associated with Cretaceous Shelf Carbonates and Coastal and Fluvial-Deltaic Siliciclastics, Northeastern Gulf of Mexico", Sequence Stratigraphic Models for Exploration and Production: Evolving Methodology, Emerging Models and Application Histories, John M. Armentrout, Norman C. Rosen
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Stratigraphic analysis of sedimentary basins is critical for correlation in a basin, for reconstructing the geohistory of a basin, and for developing a successful petroleum exploration strategy for a basin. In studying only the shelfal areas of basins that are characterized by carbonate or mixed carbonate and siliciclastic deposition and in which stratal patterns are driven by low-frequency, tectonic-eustatic events, a stratigraphic analysis based on the cyclicity recorded in the strata (transgressive-regressive cycles) has utility for correlation, for geohistory interpretation, and in formulating petroleum exploration strategies. This is the case for the Cretaceous section in basins of the northeastern Gulf of Mexico.
In utilizing the concept of transgressive-regressive (T-R) cycles, eight T-R cycles are recognized in Cretaceous (upper Valanginian to lower upper Maastrichtian) strata of the northern Gulf of Mexico. The cycles consist of a transgressive (aggrading and backstepping) phase and a regressive (infilling) phase. These T-R cycles are useful for intrabasin correlation of Cretaceous strata in the Mississippi interior salt basin and for interbasin correlation of Cretaceous strata in the Mississippi interior salt basin and the East Texas salt basin. Six regional Cretaceous unconformities and associated hiatuses (late Valanginian, middle Cenomanian, late Turonian to middle Coniacian, middle Campanian, late Campanian to early Maastrichtian, and late Maastrichtian) and nine regional transgressive events (early Aptian, early Albian, middle Albian, early Cenomanian, late Cenomanian to early Turonian, late Santonian, early middle Campanian, early late Campanian, and early Maastrichtian) have been identified as major events in the geohistory of these basins.
Hydrocarbon production from Cretaceous reservoirs in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico can be categorized as to the phase of T-R cycles. Sandstone reservoirs associated with the early transgressive aggrading phase have accounted for 42% of the 7.437 TCF of natural gas produced from Cretaceous reservoirs in this region. Sandstone reservoirs associated with the late transgressive backstepping and regressive infilling phases have accounted for 63% of the 2 BBO produced from Cretaceous reservoirs in this region. These findings indicate that the primary natural gas exploration target in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico should be Cretaceous sandstone reservoirs of the transgressive aggrading phase of T-R cycles and that the principal oil exploration target in this region should be Cretaceous sandstone reservoirs of the transgressive backstepping and regressive infilling phases of T-R cycles. These exploration targets are associated with structural traps related to salt movement.