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Being a part of the Caribbean island arc the country is subject to earthquakes although it is now volcanically inactive. A number of Tertiary sedimentary basins lie between mountain ranges north of a coastal plain. The Azua Basin on this coastal plain, an arid region in Azua Province west of Santo Domingo, was the site of the Republic’s only production.
The country has produced about 30,000 bbls of oil from shallow depth sands in the Maleno and Higuerito oil fields located along the thrust front in the Azua Tertiary Basin. However, the basin is generally not deep enough to generate significant volumes. It appears that the oils produced were generated under the east-dipping subduction zone that runs north-south across the basin's eastern side. Within this downthrown plate, source rocks generated oil that migrated to the surface along the thrust front.
The Enriquillo basin in the southwest of the country west of Azua, and the site of gas seeps, has also been explored but without success. Gas seeps were first identified in the basin in 1942 but no commercial accumulations have been drilled. This basin (known as the Cul de Sac basin where it extends into Haiti) is a ramp basin with its northern and southern flanks defined by reverse faults. Early Pliocene evaporites of the Angostura formation and clastics of the Late Pliocene Sal Salinas formation crop out on its southern flank. The oldest sediments are thought to be Paleocene to Eocene carbonates overlying Cretaceous oceanic basalts.
Oil and gas seeps have also been reported in the far eastern province of La Altagracia and in the Cibao basin of northern Hispaniola where a few dry holes have been drilled. Similar stratigraphies are likely here but Globalshift believes that the potential for commercial fields is limited by shallow burial depths and a lack of subsurface trapping mechanisms.