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AAPG Bulletin


(Begin page 279)

AAPG Bulletin, V. 86, No. 2 (February 2002), P. 279-300.

Copyright ©2002. The American Association of Petroleum Geologists. All rights reserved.

High-impact palynology in petroleum geology: Applications from Venezuela (northern South America)

Valenti Rull1

1PDVSA Exploration, Production and Upgrading-Caracas, Venezuela, PA1394, P.O. Box 02-5304, Miami, Florida, 33102-5304; email: [email protected]


Valenti Rull has worked in Venezuela since 1981. He is a biologist and holds an M.S. degree and a Ph.D. in paleoecology. He worked at Venezuelan Institute for Scientific Research-IVIC as a palynologist from 1981 to 1989 and at Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA) Exploration and Production as a senior palynologist since 1990. He has been chairman of Past Global Changes (PAGES) at the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP) for Venezuela since 1997. He has conducted basic and applied research in ecostratigraphy, biogeography, evolution, paleoclimatology, and paleoecology of the Neotropics, from Late Cretaceous to Quaternary. He has taught palynology, paleoecology, and ecostratigraphy at the IVIC and the Central University of Venezuela (UCV). Rull has published approximately 65 journal articles, 50 congress abstracts, and 60 technical reports. His personal Web site is <http://mipagina.cantv.net/valenti/vrchome.htm>


This article is dedicated to the memory of Fernando Cassani. I feel especially indebted to M. Antonieta Lorente for constant support and encouragement. Special thanks to Estela Di Giacomo and Mercedes Hidalgo for their help in palynology, and Carlos de Sousa in computation. Many people contributed during the development of the case studies presented. Among them, I would like to mention J. F. Arminio, F. Cassani, I. Duran, A. Fasola, F. Galea, H. Gamero, S. Ghosh, M. C. Gomez, R. Higgs, S. Mederos, G. Norris, P. Pestman, R. Pittelli, C. Poumot, O. Quintero, M. Ruiz, J. Schiller, I. Truskowski, and M. Velasquez. The critical review of three referees (L. Maher and two anonymous reviewers) and the associate editor (J. Kupecz) notably contributed to the improvement of the manuscript. I am also grateful to J. Crux for grammatical revision.


This article documents the application of high-impact palynology (HIP) in the Maracaibo Basin of Venezuela and its influence on such exploration and production aspects as regional planning and strat egies, risk reduction, optimal drilling decisions and investment, pe troleum-system modeling, new discoveries, and secondary recovery by fluid injection, among others. High-impact palynology has been defined as the coupling of high-resolution sequence biostratigraphy, multidisciplinary work, and the alignment of palynology with the attainment of business goals. The first part of this article explains the high-resolution ecostratigraphic methods used and the concept of integrated work applied. The second part of the article shows the results obtained in selected case studies, which illustrate the advantages of HIP. Among the most relevant studies are high-res olution ecostratigraphic frames at a basin level, timing between structural trap formation and oil migration, differentiation of pe troleum systems in adjacent reservoirs, the concept of palynoblocks in structurally complex areas to estimate missing sections, strati graphical models for exploratory wells with better predictions of target horizons, fine-scale reservoir correlations, and discovery of new reservoirs. The use of HIP in other areas is recommended, with palynology as a common in-house practice within multidisciplinary teams formed especially for each specific task.

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