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Hydrocarbon Potential in Herodotus Basin, Eastern Mediterranean


Herodotus Basin (HB) is mainly located under ultradeep-water part of the east Mediterranean, bounded by the leading edge of East Mediterranean Ridge to the north, Nile Data Basin (NDB) to the southeast, Matruh Basin (MB) and Western Desert Basin (WDB) to the southwest. The onshore WDB and the NDB are mature basins, considered as classical petroleum provinces. Numerous deep-water play types, mostly within the NDB, have been identified along the transform margin (separating the MB and HB) of NW Egypt. The offshore MB and HB, extending from the coastline across a relatively narrow shelf into deep water, has a water depth ranging from 0 to 3200 m. Tectonically, HB is the northernmost of the Africa north-facing passive margin which is the result of the opening of the Neo-Tethys during mid-Jurassic to early Cretaceous times. Structurally, SSW-NNE Rifting (mainly along matruh trough) evolves from Jurassic to Neocomian / Barremian, covering the MB and southern HB. The offshore MB has a prominent thin-skin and shale-detachment-related play types within the Matruch Canyon and Messinian salt plays a significant regional seal in the HB from the seismic illustration. Stratigraphically, in the MSB, late Mesozoic to Cenozoic mudstone and shale, Oligocene to Miocene sandstone and late Miocene salt play as hydrocarbon source, reservoir and seal, respectively, which can be extrapolated to the HB, based on the similar geological evolution. From the interpreted play types offshore NW Egypt, three proven plays can be found in the MB, while one potential play can be recognized as Jurassic to Cretaceous sandstone and carbonate sequence-structural-unconformity during the rifting stage in the HB. Mud volcanos (mainly methane) in the east Mediterranean also play a key role to know the hydrocarbon source potentials. The Similar regional Geology including tectonics, structure and stratigraphy, together with plays similarity, makes the HB a hydrocarbon potential region, although the ultra-deep water will give rise to more risks.