Three-dimensional (3D) basin modeling is often over-simplified in tectonically and structurally complex sedimentary basins, neglecting structures that are potentially critical to understanding hydrocarbon generation and migration. These omissions in the models are recognized, and are due to software and workflow limitations (Baur et al., 2009). Modeling a petroleum system in a strike-slip basin in 3D lacks an established methodology within commercially available basin modeling software. Graduate student Tess Menotti has started a project to implement strike-slip faulting in basin models. Results will demonstrate the impact of strike-slip faulting on petroleum systems in transpressional settings. The Salinas basin is selected as the study area for developing this methodology because of its strike-slip history, and because it contains only one petroleum system. In addition to developing a methodology for basin modeling with strike-slip faults, this research will improve the current understanding of the Salinas basin petroleum system, and reevaluate the basin's potential as a petroleum province.
Tess developed a simplified 3D model of the Salinas basin by creating maps guided by general stratigraphic and structural features. This model was built directly in PetroMod® using stacks of maps at each time-step. Multiple methods are being developed to incorporate strike-slip motion, including the use of 3D TecLink in PetroMod®. Additional project objectives include: to develop a method for defining lateral heat loss associated with strike-slip basins using the Intrusion tool in PetroMod®; to test regional migration pathways and timing in the Salinas basin; and to demonstrate the effectiveness of using synthetic basin models to implement new concepts in the software. Model results will be investigated in part with oil maturity data, thus also demonstrating the use of numerical quantities other than Ro and Tmax for model calibration.