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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

The Levantine Basin - Prospectivity in a Frontier Basin

Thore Sortemos1; Previous HitCarolineTop J. Lowrey1; Cecilie Skiple1; Mark Trayfoot2

(1) Reservoir, PGS, Oslo, Norway.

(2) Svenska Petroleum, Oslo, Norway.

The prolific Nile Delta to the south is an active petroleum province, but exploration activity in the deep water Levantine Basin offshore Cyprus, Israel and Lebanon has been limited. However, the recent deep water subsalt gas discoveries offshore Israel, the announced 2nd licensing round offshore Cyprus in 2009 and the planned 1st licensing round offshore Lebanon has spurred a significant increase in industry interest in the area.

The Levantine Basin is bound to the east by the Levantine margin, to the north by the Latakia Ridge and to the west by the Erastosthenes Seamount and is interpreted as a Mesozoic transform rift graben. Our interpretation and the Tamar discovery indicate that much of the pre-Messinian sedimentary package in the Levantine probably consists of Oligocene to Miocene successions, rather than the Early Cretaceous/Senonian successions suggested previously.

Acquisition and interpretation of new 2D and 3D seismic, in the Levantine Basin offshore Cyprus and Lebanon has revealed several attractive large, and possibly giant, sub salt traps associated with the Syrian Arc folding that is also identified with many of the discoveries in the Eastern Mediterranean area.

While the recent gas discoveries offshore Israel prove the presence of a mature source rock, a detailed assessment of potential source rocks in the Levantine Basin is hindered by the absence of any released well data. However, several potential source rock intervals are known from onshore wells and outcrops. These include a number of possible Mesozoic source rocks of both terrestrial and marine origin and there is at least one possible Lower Miocene organic rich source rock.

In the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East areas there are reservoir intervals throughout the Mesozoic and into the Cenozoic. In the Levantine basin itself the predominant reservoirs are expected to be Miocene deep water fans but Middle Jurassic to Middle Cretaceous carbonate platforms may also contain potential reservoir sections on the Levant Margin. Seals for these reservoir intervals include Late Cretaceous to Tertiary shales in addition to the major regional seal of the Messinian evaporites.

Using modern and state of the art seismic, together with other available data, this paper will present the prospectivity of the Levantine Basin. Focus will be on the frontier areas that are sparsely drilled or undrilled but the prospectivity of these areas will be placed in a regional context.