The key to unlocking the greater Caribbean region, as it was for East Africa and West Africa before that, is to determine the presence, then location and character of the source rocks.
East Africa for example, was dismissed by most as gas prone at best and until about 2005 there were no significant players in this frontier region. The popular view was that the West coast Cretaceous Turonian sources merely reoccurred along the East Coast. These strongly held views nearly condemned East Africa to exploration obscurity and were the cause of several expensive dry wells.
The break up of the East Coast margin occurred very much earlier than that of the Atlantic margin and was far more complex. However, by collecting and analysing all the seep and show data from top to bottom of East Africa, it can be seen that the reality is very different and the very latest exploration results are testament to that fact.
The Caribbean and Central America are more complex still. Again, by the same approach of collecting and analysing produced oil, the oil seeps and shows and by integrating these data with other geological data, it is possible to start to understand the trends. This also highlights the likely source kitchens, the best acreage and the best chance of finding commercial hydrocarbons outside the producing areas of USA, Mexico, Columbia, Venezuela and Trinidad.
Ref The Realisation of the Hydrocarbon Potential of Jamaica 2004
This example above uses simple stable isotope ratio determination and gas chromatography – mass spectrometry to compare oil from Jamaica’s north coast with that of once conjugate Belize and the oils of the northern part of the Gulf of Mexico.
CaribX's work to date has identified the four main and regionally extensive source systems:
1) Upper Jurassic as seen in the Jamaica, Belize & USA example and elsewhere; 2) Cretaceous Siuna and 3) Cretaceous Chortis oil families 4) Upper Cretaceous La luna formation and equivalents. Eocene source rocks are also associated with the Nicaraguan Rise e.g. in Shell’s Perla wells, the super-rich Chapleton source rocks on Jamaica itself and the oils data from Honduras.
The other source systems that feature within the AOI:
- Lacustrine Jurassic sources of Surinam/Guyana
- Atlantic margin classic Turonian source
- Pacific coast oils/source
Thus far CaribX has collected and analysed oil and or data from Cuba, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Belize, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Panama, Honduras, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Trinidad, Barbados and Saba Bank.
CaribX has long standing relationships with petroleum geochemical experts GeoMark Research Inc, GeoSolutions Inc, and MDOIL Limited and GHGeochem Limited in the UK.
Oils data held by these groups are also available to complement the growing understanding.
CaribX is firmly of the belief that a thorough understanding of the Petroleum Systems is needed for optimal investment decisions.
In many areas it may not be possible to collect or see evidence for hydrocarbons and CaribX has at its disposal several technologies, some exclusive for the region, for extending the confidence of known occurrence to areas that do not exhibit leakage, namely satellite, airborne and surface geochemistry technologies.