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Abstract: Tectonic Controls on the Quality and Distribution of Syn- to Post-Rift Reservoir Sands in the Southern Red Sea, Offshore Western Yemen

John M. L. Cater

Previous geophysical and drilling results in the southern Red Sea, and the presence of numerous oil seeps, indicate that the syn- to post-rift section is prospective for oil and gas. The relatively high geothermal gradient offshore western Yemen makes intra-salt and post-salt reservoir sands the only viable exploration targets. The quality and distribution of the reservoir sands remains one of the main unknown risk factors. An improved understanding of the controls on deposition of these sands is achieved by use of LandSat data, which provide evidence of a regional tectonic framework involving NE/SW-trending oceanic transform faults which are expressed onshore as strike-slip features, in some cases representing reactivated Precambrian lineaments. These faults are thought o have played two fundamental roles in the Neogene to Recent evolution of the southern Red Sea - firstly by directing clastic input from the rising Yemen Highlands into offshore depocentres, and secondly by influencing the location of salt diapirs sourced by Upper Miocene evaporites. By considering these factors, together with the pattern of heat flow from the developing oceanic rift of the southern Red Sea, it is possible to delineate areas of offshore western Yemen where reservoir characteristics are likely to be most favourable.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90956©1995 AAPG International Convention and Exposition Meeting, Nice, France