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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

CSPG Special Publications


Facts and Principles of World Petroleum Occurrence — Memoir 6, 1980
Pages 823-855
Worldwide Petroleum Provinces

Facts and Principles of Latin American Oil Occurrence

J. M. Browning


This paper deals with unusual major hydrocarbon occurrences of Latin America involving principles that may lead to other discoveries.

The unusual deposition and importance of basement (Jurassic) configuration in Tierra del Fuego is discussed. In central Argentina the fields are found in continental rocks and, in addition, show an unusual two-stage tectonic development. The fields of northern Argentina and southern Bolivia occur in tillites of Permo-Carboniferous age. In the Santa Cruz area of Bolivia the fields show marked changes in the age of the producing section, the strike of the fields and the nature of the structures. These accumulations are related to the La Paz-Arica megashear, an example of the importance of global-sized tectonic features.

The fields of the Oriente of Peru, Ecuador and Colombia also show a two-stage tectonic development as well as showing a facies change that results in many major oil fields. Tertiary fields of the Upper Mag-dalena Basin and the Putamayo Embayment may exemplify the importance of paleogeography and geological history in solving the distribution of a formation which may be one of the major new reservoirs of northern South America. The fields of Guatemala and Mexico are an example of the importance of the genetic history of an area.

Finally, the Caribbean plate is discussed and the Dominican Republic is chosen as an area where historically oil has not been found. The reasons for the lack of success are discussed and the area analyzed to see if any favourable areas exist.

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