Major oil discoveries have been made within the Yucatan area. Much of the geology of Belize, especially in the northern half of the country, is a southward extension of the geology of the Yucatan. Petroleum deposits in south-eastern Mexico and Guatemala occur in two main geologic provinces, the Gulf Coast Tertiary basin area and the Petén Basin.
Major oil production is from intensely micro-fractured Paleocene, Cretaceous, and Jurassic carbonate reservoirs. Several small oil fields have been discovered in Cretaceous carbonate reservoirs in west-central Guatemala, and one major discovery has been reported in north-western Guatemala. Small-to medium-sized oil accumulations also occur in Miocene sandstone reservoirs on salt structures in western Tabasco State, Mexico.
The Yucatan Peninsula holds the largest concentration of giant oil and gas fields in the Western Hemisphere.
Large portions of the peninsula remain underexplored. The focus has been to explore for very large fields. Many mid and small size areas have been ignored.
The Chicxulub Crater
The ChicxulubCrater is an ancient impact crater buried underneath the Yucatan Peninsula. The crater is more than 180 kilometersin diameter, making it one of the largest confirmed impact structures in the world. The micro fracturing of rock caused by the impact created an extremely favorableenvironment for the trapping of petroleum. It is likely that some degree of micro fracturing caused by the impact extends into Belize and beyond southward i.e. into Honduras, Nicaragua and San Andres and Providen Cia Sea Shelf.
The similarity of the geology of Belize to that of oil-producing areas of Mexico and Guatemala has prompted oil companies, principally from the United States, to explore for petroleum at both offshore and on-land sites in the early 1980s.
Recently, production wells have been successfully drilled on land in the west central portion of Belize. The combined production of these wells is almost 3,000 barrels a day of sweet crude that is so low in sulphur that some farmers pump it directly into their tractors.
The Geology of Belize
The geology of Belize, which is similar to that of the remainder of Yucatan, consists primarily of limestone. The notable exception of the Maya Mountains is a large intrusive block of granite and other Paleozoic sediments that run northeast to southwest across the south-central part of the country.
Several major faults are present in the highlands of the Maya Mountains. The micro-fracturing present under the Yucatan is known to extend into Belize.
Much of the northern half of Belize lies on the Yucatan Platform, a tectonically stable region. Alluvial deposits cover the relatively flat landscape of the coastal plain.
Favorable Characteristics of the All Energy/Princess Blocks
Our review of the available information shows that the geology of the Yucatan Peninsula, which has produced large oil fields, extends southward into Belize.
The geographic size and location of the Princess concession off the northeast coast of Belize very favorable.
Within the Princess Blocks, there are sedimentary rocks of Upper Cretaceous age up to Tertiary age that could contain oil reserves. Of greater importance are the Paleocene to Upper Tertiary formations. We anticipate thick Tertiary formations in the off-shore blocks. Unfortunately, little to no geologic information is available from previous off shore exploratory drilling programs.
Fracturing of the rock, which provides a favourable environment for oil, is present and increases from west to east across Belize, including the on land and off-shore areas. For the on land blocks, the potential for oil increases from very low toward the west (toward the Maya Mountains) to favorable toward the east. There is a continuation southward into Belize of the microfaulting created by the Yucatan impact crater.
Most of the faulting in the on land blocks is normal faulting; however, some reverse faults can be seen on the geologic maps.
The reverse faulted areas have potential for large quantities of oil because of potential duplication of the sedimentary sequence, offering more volume to potential reservoirs.
There are several folded structures in the on land blocks that close eastward, including a potential flexure increasing the thickness of the sedimentary rocks of Tertiary age from 250 meters to possibly 500 to 600 meters.
There may be a considerable amount of evaporites in the area that can serve as cap rock, but they need to be defined in both thickness and areal extension.
Estimates for the sea shelf are for 50% of the expectation per acre for the on land blocks. The estimate includes both shallow intersections and mid-depth intersections of up to 3,300 feet in depth.
Our opinion is that the potential for mid-size oil and gas deposits in Belize has been underestimated and that some oil companies have become discouraged because they had expectations of giant deposits such as those in Mexico.
The sea shelf in Caribbean Central America is an area of high potential for oil and gas as is an extension of the Gulf of Mexico deposits. However, the specific structural patterns present are more conducive to smaller, but very promising mid-sized deposits.
Belize-size deposits are best suited for small to medium-size companies because they can be managed without insurmountable challenges.
Additional oil discoveries in Belize would be an economic boost to the country.[Original Article]