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Tectono-Stratigraphic Evolution and Exploration Potential of The Northern Levant Basin

Andrei Belopolsky, Phil Fish, Matthew Plummer, and Mike Norton

The discovery of large gas fields offshore Cyprus and Israel in the Southern Levant Basin has attracted industry’s attention to this underexplored part of the Eastern Mediterranean. Recent large 2D and 3D seismic programmes have dramatically changed the way we see and understand the basin evolution, fill, and petroleum systems of the Levant.

Regional seismic mapping shows that the Tertiary basin fill of the Northern Levant is significantly thicker than that of the Southern Levant. Giant discoveries in the South (e.g., Tamar, Leviathan, Aphrodite) are all made in Early-Mid Miocene deep water fan sandstones in large structural 4-way traps with deep focus that possibly involve basement. In contrast, the Northern Levant does not contain large structural traps in the central part of the basin, and acoustic basement is not visible on regional seismic profiles implying a thinner continental or possible oceanic crust. The package containing reservoirs of the Southern Levant fields can be mapped for hundreds of kilometres from Egypt to northern Cyprus and Lebanon. This package consist of a series of fans that onlap the Eratosthenes “Sea mount” to the west, the Lebanese and Syrian continental slope to the east, and is partially caught in the Latakia Ridge to the north that has experienced recent movement and uplift.

The northern Levant basin is likely to be the source of large volume of biogenic gas and form at least part of the fetch areas for the fields along the “Tamar Arch”. A different structural play, however, exists south of the Latakia ridge in the frontal fold belt. The structures along the ridge have a good chance to tap into the Northern Levant kitchen and receive substantial hydrocarbon charge.

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