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Deep Seated Platform Carbonate Reservoirs as New Hydrocarbon Plays in the NW Albania–Montenegro Segment of the Adriatic Region

Zamir Bega

The proven Ionian fertile hydrocarbon province in South Albania may not be an isolated example in the south-eastern border of the South Adriatic Basin (SAB). The geological and geophysical data analyses gathered during mid-90’s and early 2000 strongly support the idea of another hydrocarbon province yet to be found in the NW Albania–Montenegro region, where deep seated structures and subthrust autochthonous platform Mesozoic units are buried underneath the frontal zones of the Kruja-Dalmatian thin-skinned thrust belt. The thin-skinned belt is thrust westward on the scale of tens of kilometres masking various hydrocarbon potential structural and stratigraphic plays. The most important play type appears to be the structurally inverted autochthonous platform carbonates.

These deeply buried autochthonous platform carbonates resemble those in the Southern Apennines of Italy. A deep SE-NW trending anticlinorium with autochthonous platform carbonate units is interpreted in onshore Albania–Montenegro region. The anticlinorium, which is stretched for about 140 km towards onshore Montenegro comprises a cluster of several inverted structural closures, draping over pre-Triassic structural high of the Apulian east-dipping foreland. The structural inversion is relatively young and it is related to post-Miocene deformations. The regional geometry of the developing thrust belts and the underlying anticlinorum is largely controlled by the preorogenic architecture of the platforms (Kruja-Dalmatian) and basins (Ionian-SAB). The famous regional tectonic zone, known as Scutari-Pec Lineament, dominates the structural pattern of the region by shaping the Mesozoic carbonate architecture.

The key source rocks of the autochthonous platform are of Triassic-Cretaceous in age, analogous to those contributed to Southern Apennines discoveries. These source rock intervals are modelled to generate economic amounts of light oils, trapped into fractured shallow water carbonate reservoirs and sealed by an Oligocene regional seal. Analyses suggest that this new play could become more attractive than the traditional ones if the tectonic model better understood and additional exploration efforts are employed.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90161©2013 AAPG European Regional Conference, Barcelona, Spain, 8-10 April 2013