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The Same but Different: Extrapolated Exploration for Brazil's Southeast Basins. What Still Applies, What Needs New Thinking, and What About Pelotas?

South Atlantic Basins Research Symposium Presentation
AAPG Distinguished Lecture

Authors: William Dickson, DIGs (Dickson International Geosciences) (presenter); Craig Schiefelbein, Geochemical Solutions International (GSI); Mark E. Odegard, GrizGeo LLC

TWe review basins along Brazil's southeast margin, considering past, present and future exploration plays for the Sergipe, Campos and Santos basins with a comment on Pelotas where success yet awaits. Reasonable extrapolation begins by examining success elements (such as source and reservoir depositional environments, structural configuration, burial history, thermal regime) that show continuity. Changes to basin configurations from early- to late-rift to sag to drift are visible from inboard to distal basin regions, affecting both generation and charge stories. This reorders the success elements with some new and some disappearing.

A new outboard play risk will be adequate burial for generation and to minimize risks of bio-degradation in the reservoir. Sources will inhabit the oldest sag to drift sections, possibly also interfingering with SDRs. CO2 flushing is a risk for carbonate reservoirs which will be more localized than in the main pre-salt region. Carbonates are likely also as isolated buildups atop volcanic highs associated with crustal spreading and hot spot features. Clastic reservoirs will improve where deepwater delivery systems fed basin floor fans or where deepwater turbidites were winnowed and reoriented into contourite stacks.

We will traverse each basin going from same-same to same-but-different, illustrating each Phase with multi-disciplinary examples. We conclude with the admonition, based on our 2020 gravity imagery, that Pelotas holds surprises, beginning with evolution and makeup of its sediment floor. Which region will become the next super-super-giant or must Brazil adjust to just regular exploration success?


William Dickson, DIGs (Dickson Int'l Geosciences)

William earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Manitoba.

He has more than 40 years of experience in the industry, working at majors and independents and, since 1998, at DIGs in Houston. He has worked frontier and producing basins around the Atlantic margins, EAME region, SE Asia & Canadian arctic and coordinated projects with subject matter experts across multiple disciplines. Peer-reviewed publications are primarily on petroleum systems analysis of Atlantic margin basins. Currently, as owner and VP Technology at DIGs, he is in charge of R&D, project coordination and fulfillment.

William is member AAPG, EAGE, SEG, SPE and local societies in Houston, England, SE Asia & Australia.

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