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Publication Type
Conference Proceedings
UWI Author(s)
Author, Analytic
Mitchell, Simon F.
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Oil exploration potential in Jamaica
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Proceedings Title
V Cuban Earth Science Convention: Geoscience in the Service of Society and Development
Date of Meeting
April 1-5, 2013.
Place of Meeting
Havana, Cuba
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Abstract
For the past nine years, Jamaica has embarked on the search for hydrocarbons within its exclusive economic zone, and this search has largely concentrated on the area to south of the island. The Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) has enlisted the services of the University of the West Indies and foreign consultants to develop the hydrocarbon potential. Extensive reports have been generated, and three companies have undertaken investigations off the south coast of Jamaica. This poster looks at the oil and gas potential of Jamaica. The answer to Jamaica’s potential oil and gas reserves lies in the geology exposed on-shore coupled with the recent offshore investigations. For successful oil exploration, certain geological conditions must be in place. So, what elements of an “Active Petroleum System” can we see in onshore Jamaica? Potential source rocks are present in the Cretaceous and Paleogene onshore Jamaica, and include a Turonian source in the Windsor #1 Well (TOCs of up to 2%), a Maastrichtian source in the Kellits synthem (TOCs of up to 4%) and an Eocene source in the Guys Hill Formation (TOCs up to 22%). However, onshore Jamaica, the Maastrichtian and Eocene source rocks have not been buried sufficiently to produce hydrocarbons, but offshore modelling indicates that they have been. Evidence for an active petroleum system comes from oil and gas shows in ten of the eleven hydrocarbon exploration wells, onshore (thermogenic) gas seeps, and offshore oil slicks. Potential reservoir rocks and seals include: porous Maastrichtian rudist limestones of the Guinea Corn Formation (and its equivallents); porous (up to 22%), quartz-rich arenites in the Eocene Guys Hill Formation (with plastic mudstone seals); and, Eocene to Miocene limestones of the White Limestone Group with mouldic (grainstones) or intercrystalline (dolostones) porosity, sealed by marlstones of the overlying Coastal Group (deposited during the mid-late Miocene carbonate crash). Although eleven exploration wells have previously been drilled in Jamaica, no commercial hydrocarbons were discovered, but the oil and gas shows in ten of the wells suggest active hydrocarbon kitchens in the offshore basins. In 2005, the Government had its first licensing round for blocks, and a further round was held in 2010. For these rounds, the Government provided incentives to oil companies to induce them to take the exploration risks. These companies have undertaken new gravity and aeromagnetic surveys and acquired extensive new seismic data. A speculative set of seismic data has also been acquired for the deeper water areas of Jamaica’s offshore region. The seismic data indicate extensive offshore structures with similarities to the onshore geology of Jamaica, and the potential for rich hydrocarbon reserves.....
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