Prospectivity and Interpretation Challenges in the Afar Region of Oman
Celestine I.C Ugwu*, Bhupendra N. Singh, Paul. E. Buchholz, and Mohamed S.M Harthy
The Afar region of Oman lies along the junction of the Maradi Fault Zone (MFZ) and the forelands region of the Oman Mountains. The recent development of several new prospects, in this structurally complicated part of the region, illuminates the potential of this area. At Sulan Salakh, immediately south of the Salakh Arch, four prominent prospects have been identified, along with several lesser potential leads. These prospects and leads evolved, more or less, simultaneously as a result of the complex interactions of the two main tectonic elements operating in northern Oman since the latest Mesozoic times. The Salakh Arch, which acts as a northern boundary for the Afar structures, was developed along the southern limit of the deformation induced by southward-verging Oman Mountains compression. The initial structural aspect developed during the emplacement of the Semail Ophiolite, with subsequent structuring resulting from late Tertiary development of the Oman mountains. Northwesterly trending shear-related structuring, along the northern part of the MFZ, was due to Late Cretaceous emplacement of the Masirah Ophiolite. The Afar region, and the Sulan Salakh prospects lie in a zone where both of these structural influences merge, giving rise to complicated structural relationships. A variety of trap types were formed by the complex structural interactions. Potentially prospective intervals range from Cambrian to Upper Cretaceous. Proterozoic source rocks provide for local sourcing, with probable remigration charging the structures at the time of formation, or immediately thereafter. In this setting, understanding the nature of tectonics and its impact on hydrocarbon entrapment is a challenge for the interpreters. This study gives an overview of the challenge to prospect evaluation in the Sulan Salakh area.
AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90077©2008 GEO 2008 Middle East Conference and Exhibition, Manama, Bahrain