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Levant Basin Prospectivity (Offshore/Onshore Lebanon): Complex Basin-scale Tectono-Stratigraphy

Fadi H. Nader

Today, the Levant Basin – located in the East Mediterranean region – has earned its position as a new Frontier Gas Province. Offshore discoveries in this Basin (e.g. Noa, Mari-B, Tamar, Dalit, Leviathan, and Aphrodite-A) have confirmed the presence of gas accumulations in subsalt Lower Miocene and Oligocene sandstones (exceeding 33Tcf of recoverable reserves).

This contribution aims at re-assessing the petroleum prospectivity of offshore/onshore Lebanon (part of the Levant Basin) taking into account the region's tectonic and stratigraphic evolutions. Considerable amount of data produced and interpreted for the Lebanese Ministry of Energy and Water (e.g. 2D/3D seismic interpretation, basin modeling) and various ongoing academic research projects (e.g. IFPEN, UPMC, RWTH Aachen) provide new insights into the Levant's complex tectono-stratigraphic history.

Since the origin of the Levant Basin, ascribed to the Triassic fragmentation of Pangea, sedimentary filling therein was influenced by several tectonic events including the closure of the Neo-Tethys, pulsating Syrian Arc folding, and strikeslip faults associated with the separation of the African and Arabian Plates. Impacts of such tectonic history on the distribution of sedimentary facies (especially source and reservoir rocks) remain difficult to comprehend, and need appropriate numerical modeling before successful drilling. Still, recent results confirm that the southern part of Lebanon (onshore/offshore) is significantly different from the northern part. The former could be associated to a western extension of the southern Palmyrides domain, denoting thicker Upper Cretaceous – Cenozoic rock successions, and thicker underlying crustal segment invoking thin-skinned tectonics.

A revised conceptual petroleum model for offshore/onshore Lebanon (Nader, 2011) illustrates three domains in northern and southern Lebanon: deep basin offshore, margin offshore, and margin onshore. Such distinct domains are well in-line with recent results of seismic interpretation and basin modeling.

Nader, F. H., 2011. The petroleum prospectivity of Lebanon: an overview. Journal of Petroleum Geology, 34 (2), 135- 156

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