Mexico’s Late Jurassic Pimienta-La Casita play is currently under appraisal in the Burgos, Sabinas, and Tampico-Misantla basins, and is considered to be one of the top emerging unconventional resource plays outside of the U.S. Nevertheless, the play is still in its infancy, with only 12 wells drilled and only five wells on production. The Pimienta-La Casita play has comparable geological criteria to many of the established North American resource plays. However, the relatively complex structural setting along the eastern continental margin of Mexico poses a significant challenge to the development of this resource play.
In this study, diverse public domain datasets are used to derive a wide variety of modeled outputs, which are used to screen and derive in-place resource concentrations within the Pimienta-La Casita play. The Pimienta-La Casita formation is characterized by intercalation between organic-rich carbonate mudstones, which constitute source horizons, and organic-lean carbonates. The organic-lean carbonates are considered favorable target units, as they are more brittle with lower hydrocarbon retention efficiencies, making them more conducive to artificial fracture propagation and efficient hydrocarbon recovery. Gross depositional environment (GDE) maps, integrated within a sequence stratigraphic framework, are used to define the extent of each facies belt. This can be used to define high-graded stratigraphic domains (HSDs) – the areas where source units and target units are likely to be intercalated.
The unconventional screening output, in-place resource concentration assessment, and HSD concept can be combined to high-grade the most prospective areas within the resource play. These areas include segments of the Tampico-Misantla Basin, and parts of the southern Burgos Basin, including sectors within the Ronda 3.3 license blocks.