One of the last remaining hydrocarbon exploration frontiers of the Gulf of México (GoM) “Super-Basin” is the Early Mesozoic and Paleozoic sedimentary section stratigraphically below the autochthonous Middle Jurassic Louann Salt and its equivalents.
The major pre-salt discoveries of offshore Brazil have spurred the search for analogous plays in other parts of the world where syn-rift and post-rift sag deposits may contain viable hydrocarbon source and reservoir rocks. Though older than the Brazilian pre-salt section (Triassic-Middle Jurassic vs. Lower Cretaceous) and virtually unexplored, the rift-related sedimentary section of the greater GoM region has been penetrated by a number of wells and crops out in various places around the rim of the basin, most notably in the Sierra Madre Oriental of eastern México. Numerous, unexplored rift basins have been identified on seismic reflection datasets from all three sectors of the GoM, in the US, México, and Cuba. Both terrigenous clastic and carbonate units have been described that are possible reservoir targets, and organic-rich, oil-prone lacustrine source rocks may reasonably be expected to occur. Traps are likely to be both stratigraphic and normal fault-related. According to press releases, Pemex recently drilled the first pre-salt test in México, Yaaxtaab-1, and many of the offshore areas in México slated to be offered in future license rounds are interpreted to be underlain by rift basins. In addition, a variety of companies have leased acreage offshore Florida with pre-salt objectives.
Beneath the rift-related section in the GoM, in various parts of the basin there are unmetamorphosed carbonates and siliciclastics of Paleozoic age that constitute yet another unexplored frontier in the pre-salt section. The geology of these units is poorly understood, but they have been encountered by the drill beneath the US Gulf coastal plain from Texas to Alabama, in the Maya Mountains of Belize on the Yucatan Platform, as well as in many wells and outcrop localities in México.
Potential presenters have been (and will continue to be) invited from both industry & academia, and significant international participation is expected.
|Graduate Students presenting posters
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