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Abstract: Basin Evolution and Structural Reconstruction of Northeastern Morocco and Northwestern Algeria

Scott Cline

The high plateau region of Morocco and northwestern Algeria contains a Permo-Triassic rift basin with over 8,000 meters of Paleozoic, Mesozoic and Tertiary sediments. The area exhibits many similarities to the prolific Triassic basins of neighboring Algeria. Previous impediments to exploration in the high plateau area focused on the inability to seismically image sub-salt, pre-Jurassic block faulted structures and the perceived lack of adequate source rocks. This study combined seismic and basin modelling techniques to decipher the pre-salt structures, interpret basin evolution, and access source rock potential. Large structural and stratigraphic features can now be discerned where Permo-Triassic block faulted structures are overlain by thick Triassic-Jurassic mobile evap rite seals and sourced by underlying Paleozoic shales. Contrary to the last published reports, over 20 years ago, oil and gas generation appears to have been continuous in the Carboniferous since 350 ma. Migration directly from the Carboniferous shales to Triassic conglomerates is envisaged with adequate seals provided by the overlying Triassic-Jurassic evaporite sequence. An earlier rapid pulse of oil and gas generation between 300-340 ma from the Silurian source rocks was probably too early to have resulted in hydrocarbon accumulation in the primary Triassic targets but if reservoir is present in the Carboniferous section, then those strata may have been sourced by the Silurian shales.

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