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ABSTRACT: Petroleum Geology of Tunisia

Pierre F. Burollet, A. Ben Ferjami, Fethia Mejri

Recent discoveries and important oil shows have proven the existence of hydrocarbons in newly identified depocenters and reservoirs. In general, except for some areas around the producing fields, Tunisia is largely underdrilled. The national company ETAP has decided to release data and to publish a synthesis on the petroleum geology of Tunisia.

The geology of Tunisia provides a fine example of the contrast between Alpine folding, which typifies northern Tunisia, and the African craton area of the Saharan part.

Eastern Tunisia corresponds to an unstable platform, forming plains or low hills and extending eastwards to the shallow Pelagian Sea.

There are a wide variety of basins: central and northern Tunisia represents a front basin; the Saharan Ghadames basin or the Chott trough are sag basins; the Gulf of Gabes was formed as a distension margin; the Gulf of Hammamet is a composite basin; and several transversal grabens cut across the country, including offshore, and are rift-type basins. All these features are known to be oil prolific throughout the world.

Two large fields and many modest-size pools are known in Tunisia. Oil and gas fields in the surrounding countries, namely the Saharan fields of Algeria and Libya, the large Bouri field offshore Tripolitania, and discoveries in the Italian part of the Straits of Sicily, suggest a corresponding potential in Tunisia.

Exposed paleogeographic and structural maps, balanced sections, and examples of fields and traps will support an optimistic evaluation of the future oil exploration in Tunisia.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #91003©1990 AAPG Annual Convention, San Francisco, California, June 3-6, 1990