The Slope Carbonates of the Apulian Platform – an under-explored Play in the Central Adriatic
Peter Shiner and Barbara Bosica
The geology of the Italian Central Adriatic is dominated by the Apulian Platform in the south-west and the Umbro-Marche-Adriatic Basin to the north-east. This prolific hydrocarbon province contains producing fields at a number of different stratigraphic levels: Mesozoic carbonates represent the primary target for oil exploration, whilst Pliocene clastic intervals host shallow biogenic gas accumulations. Initial oil exploration in the area concentrated on well-defined structural traps and resulted in a number of significant discoveries being made both in the shallow-marine carbonates of the Apulian Platform Sequence (eg the Rospo Mare Field) and within the basinal carbonates of the Adriatic Basin (eg the Sarago Field). Current exploration efforts are focused primarily on objectives developed within the slope sequence to the Apulian Platform. The potential of this play is demonstrated by the Elsa and Miglianico discoveries with good quality reservoirs developed in redeposited and dolomitised Upper Jurassic to Lower Cretaceous calcarenites and breccias. Structural traps are generally fairly subtle and are related to a combination of compactional drape over Liassic extensional highs and to recent Alpine inversion. There is also the potential for stratigraphic traps to be developed within this play. Seismic mapping of the slope sequence defines a broad belt, some 30 km wide, parallel to the platform margin, and a significant number of untested prospects and leads have been identified within this fairway. Given several successes to date from the limited number of tests targeted at objectives within the slope sequence, this under-explored play demonstrates the significant remaining hydrocarbon potential of the Adriatic Basin.
AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90161©2013 AAPG European Regional Conference, Barcelona, Spain, 8-10 April 2013