The Catatumbo Basin is located in the northeastern part of Colombia. It is limited by the Perijá Range and the Santander Massif to the west and the Mérida Andes to the southeast. The convergence of these two structural elements closes the basins in the south.
Most wells drilled in the area presented hydrocarbon shows. The productive sedimentary cover of Catatumbo basin, which in some places exceeds 15 000 feet, is composed of rocks ranging from lower Cretaceous until the present. The crystalline basement consists of igneous and metamorphic rocks.
The Catatumbo Basin has been interpreted as a foreland basin formed by the collision of Caribbean and South American plates during the Late Miocene -Pliocene, collision that would explain the lifting of vast mountainous areas (Perijá-Santander and Mérida Andes). Compressive tectonics is reflected by the presence of inverse faults in its margins, which involve basement and low-angle faults (thrusting), detaching at certain pelitic intervals of the upper Cretaceous Mito-Juan and Colón formations. Strikeslip faults and related flower structures are common in the central part of the basin (Rio Zulia). The Catatumbo basin may be considered the southwestern extension of the prolific Maracaibo basin, but in a moderate stage of exploration.