Petroleum System Analysis: Middle Magdalena Valley Basin, Colombia, South America
The purpose of this study is to create a petroleum system model and to assess whether or not the La Luna Formation has potential for unconventional exploration and production in the Middle Magdalena Valley Basin (MMVB), Colombia. Today, the Magdalena River valley is an intermontane valley located between the Central and Eastern Cordillera of Colombia. The underlying basin, however, represents a major regional sedimentary basin that received deposits from the Triassic through the Cenozoic. In recent years Colombia has been of great exploration interest because of its potentially vast hydrocarbon resources, existing petroleum infrastructure, and skilled workforce. Since the early 1900s when the MMVB began producing, it has led to discoveries of 1.9 billion barrels of oil (BBO) and 2.5 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of gas (Willatt et al., 2012). Colombia is already the third largest producer of oil in South America, and there is good potential for additional unconventional exploration and production in the Cretaceous source rocks (Willatt et al., 2012). Garcia Gonzalez et al. (2009) estimate the potential remaining hydrocarbons in the La Luna Formation in the MMVB to be between 1.15 and 10.33 billion barrels of oil equivalent (BBOE; P90 and P10 respectively), with 2.02 BBOE cumulative production to date. Throughout the 1900s and early 2000s, Cenozoic continental and transitional clastic reservoirs were the primary exploration interest in the MMVB (Dickey, 1992). The Cretaceous source rocks, such as the La Luna Formation, are now the target for unconventional exploration and production. In the MMVB, the La Luna formation is characterized by relatively high total organic carbon (TOC) values, moderate maturity, and adequate thickness and depth (Veigal and Dzelalijal, 2014). The La Luna Formation is composed of Cenomanian-Santonian aged shales, marls, and limestones (Veigal and Dzelalijal, 2014). In addition to the in-situ hydrocarbons, the fractured limestones in the La Luna formation act as secondary reservoirs for light oil from other formations (Veigal and Dzelalijal, 2014). Thus the system can be considered more of a hybrid play, rather than a pure unconventional play. The Cretaceous source rocks of the MMVB exhibit excellent potential for unconventional exploration and production. Due to the complex structural nature of the MMVB, an understanding of the distribution of rocks and variations in rock qualities is essential for reducing risk in this play.