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Bolivia – The “ChaCo-Stack”: An Unconventional Resource Play of National Significance?

LACR Andes Basins Research Symposium 2020
AAPG Distinguished Lecture

Authors: Chris Cornelius (presenter), Paul Clarke, Miguel Palma, Lech Powichrowski, Russell Sharp, Peter Turner, CanCambria Energy Corporation

Bolivia faces an uncertain future as one of Latin America’s major natural gas producers due primarily to rapidly declining production from its large naturally fractured reservoirs in the Sub-Andean thrust belt. A position compounded by limited “conventional” exploration success over the past decade, a punitive tax regime, and precipitous drop in global energy prices.

In order to help address potential reserve short-falls and support the country’s major export industry, a comprehensive study of Bolivia’s unconventional hydrocarbon potential was undertaken to help identify any unconventional resource that could be rapidly explored for, feasibly developed, and of sufficient scale to “move the needle” (multi-TCFE).

Following regional screening and a comprehensive technical review of existing data sets, we identify an active tight gas/liquids rich petroleum system in thick (>2km) laterally continuous (> 100 km) over pressured (> 0.62 psi/ft) gently dipping (2°) “stacked” Siluro-Devonian siltstones and fine sandstones underlying the foreland basin of the southern Chaco plain, which we term the “ChaCo-Stack”. The scale of the play is comparable to many of the world’s largest continuous unconventional petroleum systems, and directly analogous to the super giant Montney resource play of western Canada.

The presentation will highlight many aspects of the ChaCo-Stack, including structural and basinal setting, depositional models and sedimentology. The prospective in-situ resource will be discussed in the context of the region’s burial history, thermal regime, pore pressures, mud logs and direct hydrocarbon indicators, log analysis, mineralogy and XRD, poro-perm and MCIP, VR and TOC.


Chris Cornelius

Chris earned a BSc from the Manchester University and a PhD from the Aston University, both in Geology.

With 30 years of experience in the industry, Chis has been Founder & CEO at Cuadrilla Resources, Technical Director Upstream at AGL Energy, Techncial Director at Evergreen Resources and Engineering Manager at NOWSCO Well Services Inc. Currently, he is CEO & President at CanCambria Energy Corp. at Vancouver, Canada, where he leads a team of industry professionals pursuing frontier unconventional resource plays in various parts of the world.

Chris is a member of AAPG, SPE and Fellow Geological Society of London.

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