Reconstructing Ancient Petroleum Systems: An Example from the Ghadames-Illizi System of North Africa
Mike Bourne, R. Dixon, T. Dunn, B. Haig, J. Hossack, J. Moore, T. Parsons, and C. Simmons
BP North Africa Regional Team, Sunbury, London, UK
The Ghadames-Illizi basin system of North Africa is a large sedimentary system that has formed a highly productive petroleum province with a long history of exploration success, but is still considered to provide attractive exploration targets. Basin formation has been characterised by multiple phases of subsidence and inversion events, with stratigraphy ranging in age from Cambrian to Pliocene. Two main source rocks of different geological age but similar depositional environment and geochemical character and complex burial histories complicate the understanding of the petroleum system, which is key to exploration success. Migration trajectories are strongly influenced by basin development, the presence of regional seals and stratigraphic relationships formed across unconformities. Capturing such complexity in order to make predictions is challenging without the aid of 3-dimensional basin reconstruction and fluid flow modelling software (‘basin modelling’). If basin modelling techniques are to be optimally applied in such settings a fully integrated approach involving sedimentologists, structural geologists, geophysicists and geochemists is required. A modelling approach, workflow and some results are presented.
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