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ABSTRACT: Halokinetic Origin of Prolific Persian Gulf Oil Fields

EDGELL, H. S., King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia

Within the Persian Gulf hydrocarbon province, the majority of known hydrocarbon fields have been formed by the mechanism of halokinesis. Of 332 oil and gas fields presently known in this province, some 196 can be shown to originate by salt diapirism. Oil reserves in these halokinetic structures exceed several hundred billion bbl.

These salt-structured fields include the huge Burgan oil field of Kuwait, Rumaila and Zubair fields of south Iraq, all Saudi offshore fields, plus Abqaiq, Abu Hadriya, and Dammam onshore, Awali field of Bahrain, Dukhan field in Qatar, the giant Pars C gas field of Iran, and all oil fields of the United Arab Emirate and Oman.

The types of halokinetic oil and gas structures, caused by the mobility of lower density bedded salt, are classified as (1) salt domes, (2) salt pillow structures, (3) salt wall structures, (4) salt tear structures, (5) rim anticlines around piercements.

Some 60% of oil and gas structures in the Persian Gulf region have a halokinetic origin, from the Hormuz Series, or its equivalent, the Huqf Group of Oman, where all oil fields are not only salt structures but many also have Precambrian source rocks.

The initial movement of this deep-seated, Proterozoic salt, such as the Hormuz Series and Ara Formation has been generally triggered by basement fault movements in underlying crystalline Precambrian rocks.

The Persian Gulf and its surroundings comprise a large and very prolific hydrocarbon basin where salt structures predominate, and helps to explain that this basin contains 65% of the world's known oil reserves.


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #91015©1992 AAPG International Conference, Sydney, N.S.W., Australia, August 2-5, 1992 (2009)