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Petroleum Systems of the Southern Adriatic – an Overlooked Region?

Sarah Laird, Matt Booker, and Marcus Wiltshire

Successful exploration in underexplored areas relies on understanding the presence and distribution of play elements. Whilst there has been significant exploration in the northern Adriatic, exploration in areas such as offshore Albania, Croatia and Montenegro has been limited. Neftex have developed a proprietary, biostratigraphically constrained, global sequence stratigraphic model, which permits plate- and basin-scale correlation, and which facilitates the prediction of petroleum systems in underexplored basins.

Sequence stratigraphy is a powerful tool for predicting and understanding the distribution of key petroleum play elements and provides a framework on which to constrain maximum flooding surface (MFS) and lowstand (LST) gross depositional environment (GDE) maps. These GDE maps can be used in conjunction with a spatially enabled geochemical database and a global geodynamic model to help predict source rock distribution. These maps also highlight the presence of potential reservoir facies including in-situ carbonates, reworked carbonates and sandstones. These are all key factors in considering the location of high quality reservoirs in the region. Understanding the presence and distribution of the play elements noted above is essential in evaluating the potential of this relatively underexplored area.

The prospectivity of the southern Adriatic will be discussed, considering proven plays in the region, including onshore and offshore Italy and onshore Albania. Key petroleum elements include organically-enriched Middle and Late Triassic shales recognised in Apulia and offshore Croatia, organic enrichment during the Jurassic (with a focus on the Toarcian), and during the Cretaceous (with a focus on the Aptian Oceanic Anoxic Event). Potential reservoirs include Mesozoic and Cenozoic carbonates, including platform carbonates, reworked carbonates and pelagic carbonates. Miocene-Pleistocene clastic reservoirs have potential for gas from conventional sources and biogenic gas.

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