Forecasting the presence of source rocks, reservoirs, seals, overburden rocks, as well as the development of traps requires a thorough knowledge of the basin history. Sedimentary basins are the result of thermo-mechanical processes acting on the lithosphere. At a general scale their infilling can then be divided into depositional sequences according to different tectonics events, but in basin and petroleum modeling it is necessary to also consider climate and sea level variations as fundamental controls in the evolution and location of the sedimentary sequences. A geodynamic analysis will let us understand the complex interaction of the supply of sediments, the availability of the accommodation space (both with tectonic components), sea level variations (which also may have a significant tectonic influence) and/or climate variations during basin filling and thus will give us significant tools for predicting the petroleum system.

In Argentina, 545,000 km2 correspond to hydrocarbon producing basins known as Paleozoic, Cuyana, Austral, Neuquén, Golfo San Jorge and Cretaceous, while the non-hydrocarbon producing ones cover 2,500,000 km2. The associated source rocks are eleven, all of it with potential to be unconventional reservoirs. A situation that is becoming true in view of the results obtained from drilling more than 100 wells in the past two years. Five of them are marine in origin while six were deposited in lacustrine environments with ages ranging from Late Devonian to Early Cretaceous. Average TOC are in between 0.5 to 11 (wt%) with variable thicknesses up to 2,000 meters. Drilled wells targeting these objectives have a total depth that varies from 2,000 down to 5,000 meters. The aim of the present contribution is to propose a dynamic modeling of the geological processes occurred in the productive basins of Argentina over geological time spans to better understand the existing unconventional reservoirs as volume estimations assign 774 TCF of technically recoverable resources (EIA, 2011).


The need to increase hydrocarbon reserves challenges nations with a novel concept in oil prospecting. Successful exploration depends on a variety of factors. The development of a basin model and its potential petroleum systems requires the knowledge of the geodynamic processes involved in basin formation and the associated fluids in order to determine whether the necessary conditions for the generation and storage of hydrocarbons have been achieved. The profitability of this exploration initiative calls for a dynamic methodology that may permit forecasting the probability of success, considering all the information available and all the associated uncertainties.

URTeC 1593090

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