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The Pacific basins of Ecuador have excellent geologic characteristics for the accumulation of hydrocarbons. Geologic, seismic, gravity, and magnetic surveys provided a basis for exploratory drilling in the provinces of Esmeraldas, Manabi, and Guayas. Drilling has produced evidence of petroleum and gas especially in Manabi and Guayas.
Stratigraphically the Pacific basins of Ecuador contain a sedimentary pile which, in the Guayas depression, is up to 30,000 ft thick. Of these sediments approximately 10,000 ft is of Late Cretaceous age, ranging from the Cenomanian to the Maestrichtian. The remaining part of the sequence is Tertiary ranging in age from Paleocene to Pliocene. The lower Tertiary sediments from the Paleocene to middle Eocene offer the greatest interest in the search for hydrocarbons because euxinic facies are present as source rocks and some strata are suitable as reservoirs. Regionally the sedimentary conditions improve toward the south and with them the possibilities of hydrocarbons.
Structurally the area comprises a block-faulted platform which subsided quickly along high-angle normal faults. This permitted the thick column of sediments to accumulate and rapid facies changes are common. Accumulation and entrapment appear to be associated principally with areas affected by faults rather than with true anticlinal folds.
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