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Unconventional Petroleum Plays in the Mediterranean basins

Fivos Spathopoulos

Exploration for unconventional petroleum in Europe has intensified over the last five years. The potential for unconventional oil & gas resources has been examined, in order to determine the right types of rock, basin and maturity in basins around the Mediterranean Sea. Various target shale formations exist in the study area, ranging in age from the Lower Paleozoic to Tertiary. These shales are of very good geochemical quality, both in their Total Organic Carbon content, as well as in their hydrogen indices. The basins containing these rocks vary in their tectonic style, but they are often structurally "quiet" synclines or monoclines. The maturity of the shales has been found to be in the oil and gas window. Models for source rock deposition, demonstrate the possibility of black shale deposition throughout the Paleozoic, Mesozoic and Cenozoic eras in various areas of the Mediterranean.

International oil companies explore for unconventional petroleum resources in several European Mediterranean countries. However, unconventional exploration has not started in earnest in North Africa, south Balkans, Near East and Middle East. Target shales, for shale-gas, shale-oil and pyrolysed oil exist in Greece, Turkey, Israel and in the north African region. The purpose of the current study is to highlight areas of unconventional petroleum prospectivity in the Mediterranean region.

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