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Red Sea and Gulf of Aden Petroleum Geology and Regional Geophysical Evaluation

SIKANDER, A. H., The World Bank, Zamalek, Cairo, Egypt, R. B. ALLEN, Earth Science and Resources Institute, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC, and A. G. ABOUZAKHM, Consultant, Cairo, Egypt

The World Bank-executed Red Sea/Gulf of Aden Regional Hydrocarbon Study Project was organized to synthesize data on the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden basins. The primary objectives were to encourage increased hydrocarbon exploration activity within the project area by applying recent exploration techniques basin wide, and to train national geoscientists in exploration techniques. The study was carried out by task forces for each participating country, working in Cairo under the supervision of World Bank technical personnel. In addition, biostratigraphic, paleoenvironmental, and lithostratigraphic analyses by Robertson Group and geochemical studies by BEICIP were carried out on well cuttings and core samples.

The study was based on public-domain exploration data, published information, and data released by operating companies. This included reports, sections, and wireline logs from most of the offshore wells, and samples for biostratigraphic and geochemical analysis. Interpretation was carried out on seismic data selected from basinwide grids. Four horizons were identified on a regional basis in the Red Sea, including the sea floor, top, and near base of middle to upper Miocene evaporite, and approximate acoustic basement, and an equivalent of horizons were identified in the Gulf of Aden. Bathymetric, structure contour and interval isopach maps were prepared using digitized picks from the interpreted seismic. The results for each country were then synthesized into basinwide interpretations Examples of each of these interpreted results will be on display.

The results of the syntheses show that the hydrocarbon potential of the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden is variable. The Red Sea shows an attractive potential in much of the basin in Miocene to Holocene synrift to post-rift units. This may locally include either lower to middle Miocene sub-evaporite syn-rift units or Pliocene to Holocene super-rift units, depending on variations in structural development and sedimentation and thermal history. In addition, sub-rift units of Mesozoic to Paleogene age show an attractive potential in some areas. The primary potential in the Gulf of Aden, on the other hand, may be in Mesozoic to Eocene sub-rift units, with only limited potential in Oligocene and younger units.

 

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #91007© 1991 AAPG International Conference, London, England, September 29-October 2, 1991 (2009)