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Abstract: Petroleum Potential and Over-Pressuring in the Molassic Deposits of the South-Eastern Part of the South Adriatic Basin

Mihal Gjoka, Aleksander Dulaj

The southeastern portion of the South Adriatic basin extends onshore in Albania and is filled with a sequence of interbedded clays, sandstones and siltstones of Cenozoic age accumulated under turbiditic, slope, shelf, deltaic and, rarely, continental depositional conditions. Geochemical data suggest a fairly uniform vertical and lateral distribution of organic matter, with TOC values ranging from 0.1 to 0.4 wt%. Average organic matter content is 0.28 wt%. Kerogen is predominantly gas-prone, Type IIIa (Huminite-Inertinite) and IIIb (Inertinite-Huminite), and is thermally immature to marginally mature, even at depths of 6000 m. Vitrinite reflectance (Ro) values range from 0.3 to 0.5; the average geothermal gradient of the region is about 16°C/100 m.

Three main gas zones can be recognised in the Pliocene to Middle Miocene (Serravallian) sequence: 1) a biogenic gas zone at depths of 1200-1500 m; 2) a mixed biogenic-thermogenic zone between 1500 and 4500-5000 m; and, 3) a thermogenic gas zone below 4500-5000 m. Gas is indigenous and has migrated into the sandstone reservoirs from adjacent shales (syngenetic) or deeper sources (syngenetic-long migration). Gas fields discovered to date are associated with crestal culminations and with the eastern flank of structures.

The normal hydrostatic gradient for the Neogene sediments is 0.437 psi/ft, but overpressures have been encountered in numerous wells and are considered a regional phenomenon. The top of the overpressures crosses stratigraphic boundaries. The gradient is gradual and seems to increase in sequences with sandstone content of 15 to 20%. Steep pressure gradients are found on flanks and plunges of structures. Overpressuring is attributed to the very high sedimentation rate (760 m per million year) during the Neogene and resulting undercompacted shales.

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