Completed Study

Definition of the Geological Framework and Exploration Plays of the
Miocene of the Burgos Basin, Northern Mexico

Tucker F. Hentz, principal investigator; William A. Ambrose, Michael V. De Angelo, Shirley P. Dutton, Edgar H. Guevara, Mark H. Holtz, Shinichi Sakurai, Suhas C. Talukdar, Timothy F. Wawrzyniec, Dallas B. Dunlap, H. Seay Nance, Joseph S. Yeh, and L. F. Brown, Jr.; assisted by Hugo Castellanos; Ricardo Martínez Sierra, J. Javier Hernández Mendoza, Hilario Ramos Gallardo, Adalberto Alvarado Céspedes, Alberto Marino Castañón, Rubén Machado Simentel, Ramiro Ayala Anguiano, and Alberto Segura Treviño (PEMEX)


The Burgos Miocene project, completed in February 2004, started in mid-December 2002 and was funded by PEMEX Exploración y Producción. The study was a continuation of collaborative Bureau-PEMEX investigations of the geologic framework, petroleum systems, and hydrocarbon plays of Neogene strata in southeastern, eastern, and northern Mexico (Veracruz and Macuspana Basins and the Laguna Madre-Tuxpan area), conducted from 2000 through the present time. This study extended analysis to the Miocene strata of the onshore and offshore Burgos Basin of northeastern Mexico. The primary objectives of the project were to define the sequence-stratigraphic, structural, petrophysical, geochemical, and petroleum-engineering characteristics of the Miocene succession in the Burgos Basin. The emphasis of the project was to develop a play framework to help guide PEMEX exploration efforts in the virtually unexplored offshore part of the basin. The study used an extensive database comprising ~40,000 km of 2-D seismic lines, log suites from 122 wells, and a variety of production-test, gas-seep, and gas-show data.

The 15-month Burgos project defined and mapped 20 regional Miocene plays in 39,700 km 2 of the central (onshore) and eastern (offshore) Burgos Basin. These plays were defined on the basis of age (four Miocene chronostratigraphic zones) and five mappable areas (unexpanded shelf, expanded shelf, slope, basin-floor, and diapiric onlap), extending offshore to the 500-m isobath. Ranking of the plays involved a qualitative procedure based on a systematic evaluation of five key play elements: reservoir presence and quality, trap, seal, source, and migration. The study also provided a structural, stratigraphic, and play framework for existing PEMEX prospects and future exploration areas in the basin.

The Miocene plays are structurally complex and are characterized by local and regional detachment systems, growth faults, and an associated regionwide pattern of downthrown extensional rollover folds, pervasive secondary faults, and salt and shale diapiric masses that dominate the east part of the basin. The Burgos Basin appears to be a transitional zone between gravitational collapse in offshore Mexican basins to the south and salt-related raft tectonics of the South Texas Gulf Coast. The basin thus offers high promise for gas reservoirs containing a variety of trap styles.


For more infomation, please contact Tucker Hentz, principal investigator.
Telephone 512-471-7281; e-mail

July 2005