Definition of the Geological Framework of the Neogene Hydrocarbon Plays
in the Salina Del Istmo Basin, Southeastern Mexico

William A. Ambrose, principal investigator; Khaled Fouad, Renaud Bouroullec, Shinichi Sakurai, Mark H. Holtz, Rebecca H. Jones, L. Frank Brown, Jr., Edgar H. Guevara, Suhas C. Talukdar, Dallas B. Dunlap, Michael R. Hudec, Martin P. A. Jackson, Luis Sánchez-Barreda (BEG), Jaime Patiño Ruiz, Alejandro Alberto Sosa Patrón, and Juan de Guadalupe Cárdenas López (PEMEX Exploración y Producción)


BEG and PEMEX Exploración y Producción in Villahermosa are jointly conducting a 24-month evaluation of basin-scale, Neogene oil and gas plays in the 15,300-km 2 Salina Basin, located between the Veracruz and Macuspana Basins. The Salina Basin contains more than 50 oil and gas fields, 26 of which are still active; cumulative gas production is almost 2 Tcf (trillion cubic feet).

The objectives of the study are to define, map, and assess a wide variety of shelf, slope, basin-floor, minibasin, and subsalt plays in the onshore part of the basin, as well as the offshore part of the basin, as far as the present-day 200-m isobath. Additional project goals include lead and prospect characterization, as well as exploration recommendations. Technology exchange is also an important component of the project, which will be carried out through a variety of workshops and focused work sessions with Bureau and PEMEX technical teams.

The project is using an extensive database consisting of eight 3-D seismic surveys comprising >5,000 km 2, five of which are in the offshore part of the basin. In addition, the database contains more than 280 2-D seismic lines, more than 300 wells with velocity, log-curve, core, and biostratigraphic data, and a variety of production test data from 103 wells, as well as gas shows and gas-seep data. The Neogene plays defined in the study will be characterized and ranked with a variety of play elements, including reservoir presence and quality, trap, seal, source, migration, and timing. The play element trap is especially important in the Salina Basin because a great diversity of salt structures occurs in the basin. The study will also provide a comprehensive structural, stratigraphic, and play-element framework for existing prospects and for future exploration activities, especially in untested fairways.


For more infomation, please contact William A. Ambrose, principal investigator.
Telephone 512-471-0258; e-mail

July 2005