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Yemeni Red Sea and Gulf of Aden Petroleum Geology and Regional Geophysical Evaluation

AL-SANABANI, M., and F. M. SAID, Yemen Oil and Mineral Resources Corporation, Sana'a, Yemen

The World Bank-executed Red Sea/Gulf of Aden Regional Hydrocarbon Study Project was organized to synthesize data on the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden basins. The primary objectives were to encourage increased hydrocarbon exploration activity within the project area by applying recent exploration techniques basin wide, and to train national geoscientists in exploration techniques. The study was carried out by task forces for each participating country, working in Cairo under the supervision of World Bank technical personnel. In addition, biostratigraphic, paleoenvironmental, and lithostratigraphic analyses by Robertson Group and geochemical studies by BEICIP were carried out on well cuttings and core samples.

The study of the Yemeni Red Sea and Gulf of Aden was based on public-domain exploration data, published information, and data released by operating companies. These included reports, sections, and wireline logs from 15 wells, samples from 15 wells for biostratigraphic analysis, and samples from 11 wells for geochemical analysis. Interpretation was carried out on 7419 line-km of seismic data selected from a grid of 21,623 line-km of data. Four horizons were identified on a regional basis in the Red Sea area, including the sea floor, top, and near base of middle to upper Miocene evaporites, and approximate acoustic basement, as well as the equivalent series in the Gulf of Aden. Bathymetric, structure-contour, and interval isopach maps were prepared using digitized picks from the interpr ted seismic. Examples of each of these interpreted results will be on display.

The results show that the Yemeni Red Sea is similar to the better known, productive Gulf of Suez in its tectonic evolution, and in its Miocene to Holocene stratigraphic sequence. Surface shows on the east side of the southern Red Sea in the Yemeni part of the basin suggest that this area contain the necessary elements for several attractive petroleum plays. The Yemeni Red Sea appears to contain the necessary elements for an attractive petroleum potential. The Yemeni Gulf of Aden, on the other hand, shows an attractive potential chiefly in pre-rift Mesozoic to Eocene units, with more limited potential in Oligocene to younger units.


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #91007© 1991 AAPG International Conference, London, England, September 29-October 2, 1991 (2009)