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May 16th Speaker

Marc Traut:  "From Paradox to Prospect – the Cabrillo Oil Field"

Marc Traut  / May Speaker


The Cabrillo Oil Field is the southernmost onshore producing oil field in the Ventura Basin and is located within the physiographic province referred to as the Oxnard Plain. Cabrillo is anomalous for two reasons. First, Cabrillo produces light oil and associated gas from sandstone reservoirs embedded in middle Miocene volcanics of the Topanga Formation. Second, Cabrillo crude oil is typed as being sourced from a mature Miocene Monterey source rock, of which there are none in proximity to Cabrillo. This logical contradiction, the “Paradox,” can be resolved by fully understanding the tectonostratigrahic history of the Oxnard Plain. The accepted resolution is that Cabrillo oil was generated from a very mature Monterey source rock coincident with the Santa Clara Trough on the north side of the down-to-the-north Oak Ridge Fault where the Monterey was buried to greater than 20,000’ during the Plio-Pleistocene. The Monterey is recognized as a “world class” source rock that is capable of generating massive volumes of hydrocarbons. From its area of generation in the Santa Clara Trough during the Pleistocene, Monterey sourced hydrocarbons migrated laterally to the Oak Ridge Fault where the Monterey was juxtaposed with pre-Monterey sandstone reservoirs of the Oligocene lower Sespe and Eocene Las Llajas formations. From the point of juxtaposition, hydrocarbons migrated laterally approximately 6 miles up the northwest dipping structural ramp of the pre-Monterey section to the Livingston Fault where they accumulated in Sespe and Las Llajas structural containers. These containers leaked hydrocarbons to the fault zone, thus exposing adjacent Topanga reservoirs to hydrocarbon charge. The indirect evidence supporting the theory for the source and method of entrapment of Cabrillo oil involves the similarity of other Oxnard Plain crude oils to Cabrillo crude oil and a pressure anomaly observed in an active Cabrillo well that pierces the Livingston Fault that is postulated to be in communication with a deeper lower Sespe and/or Las Llajas hydrocarbon accumulation.

Marc Traut  / May Speaker


Marc was born and raised in southern California. Marc received a BS in geology in 1975 from the University of Oregon and an MS in geology from Arizona State in 1977. After graduate school Marc began working for Union Oil Company in Ventura as an exploration geologist. In 1980 Marc took a job in Bakersfield with Occidental Oil and Gas Corporation. At Oxy, Marc held different positions in the domestic and international exploration groups, including geologist, exploration manager, and regional exploration manager which included assignments in Bakersfield, California; Guangzhou, China; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Algiers, Algeria; and Paris, France. As a technical professional, Marc was recognized as an authority in identifying and unraveling petroleum systems. Marc coauthored several papers on petroleum systems and had many successes locating unrecognized opportunity in previously explored areas. Marc is a 1998 graduate of the UCLA Anderson Graduate School of Management, and he has an MBA from CSUB. Marc separated from Oxy in 1999 and founded Renaissance Petroleum, LLC in 2000. Marc’s attention has been on the delineation, development and operation of the Cabrillo Oil Field where RenPet took over operatorship of the then one-well field in 2004.

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