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The Application of GOCE Satellite Gravity Data for Basin and Petroleum System Modeling: A Case-Study from the Arabian Peninsula

R. Abdul Fattah¹, J. A. C. Meekes¹, S. Colella¹, J. Bouman², M. Schmidt², and J. Ebbing³
¹TNO, Utrecht, The Netherlands
²DGFI, Munich, Germany
³NGU, Trondheim, Norway

The GOCE satellite gravity mission was launched in 2009 to measure the gravity gradient with high accuracy and spatial resolution. GOCE gravity data can improve the understanding and modeling of the Earth’s interior and its dynamic processes, contributing to gain new insights into the geodynamics associated with the lithosphere, mantle composition, uplift and subduction processes. With careful processing and integration with additional gravimetric data, GOCE can be used to study sedimentary basins and assist in hydrocarbon exploration in underexplored areas.

In this study, GOCE gravity data is used to investigate the maturity of the main source rocks in the remote Rub’ al-Khali basin in Saudi Arabia. GOCE gravity data, in combination with other data, is used to better identify the structure and composition of the crust and the lithosphere in the region (Figure 1). The improved model of the crust and the lithosphere allow us to calculate the evolution of the basal heat flow and its spatial variations in the basin. Based on the improved heat flow model, the maturity of the main source rocks is estimated thus allowing better understanding of the petroleum systems in the region.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #120098©2013 AAPG Hedberg Conference Petroleum Systems: Modeling the Past, Planning the Future, Nice, France, October 1-5, 2012