Origins of formation waters in the Llanos foreland basin of Colombia: geochemical variation and fluid flow history



Wells located in the Colombian Andean foreland often produce biodegraded hydrocarbons and relatively fresh water (total dissolved solids concentrations of 2000 mg l−1 dominate across most of the basin). The ratio of water to hydrocarbon in the produced fluids is high and has often been interpreted by explorationists and simulation engineers as being due to massive meteoric water invasion. To challenge this hypothesis, previously published and existing data are compiled here, along with 68 new water samples collected from both the surface (rivers) and subsurface (production wells), which are analyzed for major elements, salinity, and stable isotope compositions. The data indicate a mixed origin for the water, which involves formation water, meteoric water, and a third source that we interpret as being related to diagenetic processes (such as clay dehydration). Analyses of the variation of the parameters from north to south and west to east allow us to define the mixtures as coming from waters of different origins and make it possible to determine the relative contribution of each source.