Petroleum Resources of Venezuela
- Ralph Arnold | Barnabas Bryan | Geo. A. Macready
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Transactions of the AIME
- Publication Date
- December 1923
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 1,052 - 1,056
- 1923. Original copyright American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers, Inc. Copyright has expired.
- 1.6 Drilling Operations, 5.8.4 Shale Oil
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While much geological work and drilling have been done in Venezuela, theincompleteness of geological evidence obtainable and the restricted areas inwhich drilling has been done make any estimates of oil resources extremelyspeculative. Nevertheless, it is felt that the data given are justified, in thebelief that the ideas of a geologist familiar with the region are better thanthose of a promoter.
The oldest beds of interest to oil men are those of the Cretaceous, whichare well developed in eastern Venezuela and about parts of Lake Maracaibo. Inboth cases, a hard massive limestone is overlain by a great thickness, most ofwhich is shale. In the west, in places this shale is more than 2000 ft. (610m.) thick, while in the east it may attain 3500 ft. (1067 m.). The limestoneand parts of the shale are oil producing. In the east, the Tertiary wherepresent is almost entirely covered by the Quarternary, but in the west it iswell developed.
In probable unconformity over the Cretaceous shales is found a series ofsandstones and shales, which may be called the lower coal series. It is welldeveloped southwest of the lake, where it is the oil container, and is probablythe lowest series exposed east of the lake.
Above this is the Pauji shale, which is probably the point of origin of allthe oil east of Lake Maracaibo and in the State of Falcon. It has a thicknessof about 3000 ft. (914 m.) in the Mene Grande region.
The upper coal series is developed as a great thickness of sands, shales,and clays, with some partly consolidated limestone. Its thickness may be asgreat as 10,000 ft. It is the oil container of the Falcon-El Mene region and aprobable location for oil in some of the area about the lake. It may or may notinclude the so-called Maracaibo series in which the oil is found at MeneGrande.
Over much of Venezuela, the Quarternary is present in unknown thickness,which probably is not great. It obscures oil structure in all cases andpresents the greatest hazard of oil exploration for the fields which probablyexist below.
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