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ABSTRACT: Red Sea/Gulf of Aden Regional Hydrocarbons Project

Thomas E. O'Connor

Only 64 exploration wells have been drilled in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, an area of 825,000 km2. This neglect may be due to the area's reputation as a high-heat flow area, at best gas prone. Although this may apply locally, surface seeps and oil shows in several wells testify to black oil potential. This and the Neogene stratigraphy like that of the Gulf of Suez indicate potential oil generation from both below and above the widespread Miocene salt in the Red Sea. The Gulf of Aden has both Paleogene and Neogene prospects, as the higher heat flow cooked otherwise immature and widely exposed Eocene shales. There is abundant reservoir potential, mainly in the extensive sandstone influx. The rifted basin has numerous but complex structural trap opportunities re ulting from the mobility and configuration of the basement in this extensional environment.

In 1987, the Red Sea/Gulf of Aden Regional Hydrocarbons Project was conceived to attract oil and gas exploration to this neglected area. Executed by the World Bank, the project is financed by the UNDP, France, the United Kingdom, and Canada; all eight countries in the region are participating. Using a basin-wide approach, data from each country are gathered and integrated into regional overviews of structural evolution, sedimentary response and maturity, and country-specific geological accounts, all based on the most complete data base ever assembled for this area. An overall index of data bases available for consultation in each country is being compiled.

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