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ABSTRACT: Hydrocarbon Potential of the Carolina Trough, United States East Coast

G. B. Carpenter, R. V. Amato

The Carolina Trough is an elongated sediment-filled basin located seaward of the shelf break on the Continental Margin of the southeastern United States. Much of the oil and gas potential of the Carolina Trough is coincident with a sequence of Jurassic and Lower Cretaceous clastic rocks in the northern part of the basin and carbonate rocks of similar age in the southern part. Salt diapirism and associated growth faulting also provide attractive exploration targets. The basin has not yet been drilled, but like nearly every tested salt basin in the world, it may contain significant oil and gas resources. It is considered a high-risk frontier area, but plans are proceeding for spudding an exploratory well this year. The basin is also a high-cost area because of difficult dri ling conditions related to water depth and high velocity surface currents.

A resource assessment of the trough was conducted using the PRESTO drilling simulation model. The PRESTO model uses a play analysis approach based on the aggregation of individual prospect resources to develop recoverable oil and gas estimates for plays, provinces, and regions. Volumetric estimates of undiscovered, economically recoverable oil and gas were based on oil and gas prices prevailing at the time of the analysis with appropriate time-dependent price variation. Estimates of undiscovered recoverable hydrocarbons that could be produced with conventional recovery technologies without regard to commercial economic viability were also developed to provide a more complete assessment of the long-term oil and gas potential of the area.

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