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Competency Statement:

Recognize the global plate tectonic setting of petroleum exploration areas using plate movement maps, paleogeographic maps and ages of structural deformation. Describe the type of basin and its structural evolution determined by tectonic setting. Illustrate resulting styles of structural deformation which may trap hydrocarbons.

Learning Objective:

  • Determine plate tectonic setting and history for prospective geographic area.
  • Describe basin development and structural evolution based on tectonic setting.
  • Define resulting structural styles in basin.
  • Identify potential hydrocarbon traps resulting from structural styles.

Assignment Instruction:

Beta Exploration Inc. has assigned the New Ventures Exploration Team to evaluate a lease sale in the Maracaibo Basin. An accurate understanding of the regional tectonics is necessary for the team to interpret the stratigraphy and petroleum potential of the lease blocks. You will provide an evaluation of the plate tectonics setting, basin development and potential trapping style.

You will apply global plate movement and lithosphere formation and subduction to the genesis, tectonic evolution and structural deformation of the Maracaibo Basin in the Caribbean region. Interpret the development of the main fault systems, their movement, periods of deformation and type of basin formed. Examine the different stages of the paleogeographic evolution of the basin including rifting, foreland basin structural deformation and passive margin development.

You will use sample seismic lines and a structural contour map to interpret the structural style and the type of faulting present in the basin. Identify the hydrocarbon migration routes and potential hydrocarbon traps resulting from this structural style.