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Exploration Ramifications of Subsurface Fluid Migrations in the Lake Borgne-Valentine Area of Southeastern Louisiana
Glen M. Gatenby
An area in southeastern Louisiana is studied to determine possible areas of subsurface fluid migrations. The lithology and structural geology are determined so as to identify potential pathways of these migrations. The borehole readings are also used to determine the patterns of temperature, pressure, and salinity parameters. Where vertical subsurface fluid migrations have taken place, the fluids at shallow depth have temperature and salinity characteristics of fluids at greater depth, i.e., anomalously high temperatures and low salinities. In addition, the mass movement of the water from depth (out of the abnormally pressured zone) reduces the pressure and lowers the top of this zone.
Areas where the parameters measured indicate that migrations have taken place are economically important because the migrating waters are theoretically capable of carrying hydrocarbons. Traps in the vicinity of these migrations are of special interest to the hydrocarbon explorationist. Anomalously high temperatures and low salinities are also of interest to the geotherinal explorationist.
The part of southeastern Louisiana studied has twelve areas of possible subsurface fluid migrations. Eight hydrocarbon fields and a geothermal prospect are in the vicinity of these areas and the other two are viable prospects. The areas-of-migration are most likely to occur at areas of structural expansion, i.e., at grabens, crests of diapirs, or at the intersections of faults. The latter appears to be especially important as eight of the twelve areas of migrations are near fault intersections.
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