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AAPG GEO 2010 Middle East
Geoscience Conference & Exhibition
Innovative Geoscience Solutions – Meeting Hydrocarbon Demand in Changing Times
March 7-10, 2010 – Manama, Bahrain

Tectonic, Depositional, and Thermal History of the Levantine Basin Resulted in Numerous Structural and Stratigraphic Plays

Lisa Marlow1; Nigel Wattrus1; John Swenson1; Christopher Kendall2

(1) Geology, University of Minnesota, Duluth, MN.

(2) Geology, University of South Carolina, Duluth, SC.

The tectonics, deposition and thermal history of the Levantine Basin was conducive to the generation, expulsion and migration of hydrocarbons; as indicated by many hydrocarbon shows and a recent major gas discovery in the basin. Tectonics and deposition have led to the formation of numerous unexplored structural and stratigraphic traps including: anticlines, flower structures, reefs, talus, turbidites, and stratal pinchouts adjacent to salt. Traps are ubiquitous in the 15 km thick stratal package of the Levantine Basin, many with direct hydrocarbon indicators (DHI’s) including flat spots, bright spots and gas chimneys with positive play potential. Tectonics in the Levantine Basin followed a similar progression to that of the rest of the Southern Tethyan Margin; rift-extension followed by passive margin and then compression beginning in the Late Cretaceous with the collision of the African-Arabian Plate with the Eurasian Plate. These tectonic systems along with the reoccurring strike-slip activity resulted in structural traps throughout the basin: anticlines and flower structures. One of the anticlinal structures is a trap for the recent “giant” gas discovery from the Tamar Well (5+TCF gas). Deposition in the basin was equally conducive to trap formation; several stratigraphic traps exist. Triassic salt deposits (the Kurra Chine equivalent) likely extend well into the Levantine Basin; in fact, seismic evidence indicates doming of the Triassic Salt through overlying strata and development of traps adjacent to the salt. Jurassic to Early Cretaceous deposits are dominantly carbonate platform and interplatform basins; carbonate platforms extend over 200km to the north of the present southern continental margin. The carbonate platforms, which are up to 75 km in diameter, contain several stratigraphic traps in the form of reefs atop the platform and the talus and turbidites adjacent to the platform core. Late Cretaceous chalk deposits that onlap anticlines in addition to the Paleocene and Oligocene turbidites complete the Pre-Messinian stratigraphic traps.