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Abstract: A Novel Approach to the Exploration of the Southern Apennines, Italy: Geological Models and Oil Discoveries

Roberto Pasi, Paolo Dattilo, Giuseppe Bertozzi, Tesfaye Lakew

The last, successful, exploration phase in the Southern Apennines started in the early eighties after small but encouraging discoveries of oil in the carbonates of the Apulian Platform foreland, in the Basilicata region. The poor seismic definition of the top of this unit and the extremely poor seismic imaging of the overlying "allochthonous", forced the oil companies active in the area to build geological models in order to constrain the seismic interpretation.

The main units within the proposed simplified depositional and structural framework are represented by two carbonate platforms separated by a seaway: the Apenninic Platform to the West, the Apulian Platform to the East and the Lagonegro basin in between. Due to the Tirrenian Sea spreading and/or subduction of the Adria Plate, the Apenninic Platform, Lagonegro basin-fill and related syntectonic sediments were thrusted over the Apulian Platform and its overlying Pliocene foredeep.

According to the proposed model, the Apulian Platform has been differentiated into three main structural domains. These are interpreted as resulting from the decreasing horizontal compressive stress from west to east. All these domains are proved oil producer.

The geological modelling of a formerly unknown structural trend developed during the compressive phases represented the key for major oil discoveries performed at the end of the eighties.

The reservoir in this area, homogeneous in first approximation, is characterised by high fracturing, related to the several tectonic regimes that affected the Apulian Platform, moderate matrix and vuggy porosity and several hundreds of meters of oil column.

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