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Seismic and Surface Geology Evidence of a New Petroleum System in Kharan Forearc Basin, Balochistan - A New Frontier Unfolds

Abstract

The remote areas in Balochistan province of Pakistan, covered by rough terrain, deserts and rugged mountains have been vastly overlooked by exploration companies in the past. The focus of this study is Kharan Forearc Basin of Baluchistan where seismic data interpretation, airborne stress field survey and geological field work has shown new exploration insights to the tectonic history, reservoir rock distribution and trapping mechanism for oil and gas. Kharan Forearc Basin covers 30,000 sq. km area and is covered by superficial deposits of the Kharan desert. The regional geological analysis has been carried out by studying outcrops at Raskoh Range (Volcanic Arc) and Makran Accretionary Prism located just north and south of Kharan Forearc Basin respectively. 2D seismic data acquired recently has shown the tectonic elements never seen in the exposed surface geology. The high resolution 2D seismic data acquired in 2012–13 is revealing the stratigraphic and structural details of approximately 4000–6000 meters deep basin. Many of the deeper formations above basal unconformity are showing lateral truncations, bright amplitudes and re-activated normal faults. The seismic data is also showing the evidence of a passive depositional system with deep rooted faulting and structures. The burial of a possible marine carbonate bank and evidence of source rock presence can be inferred from seismic data interpretation and its integration with surface geology. In addition, the evidence of an east-west oriented deep rooted rift system can also be seen, that is possibly older than any sequence observed in surface geology. The paper will present the possible age of these rifts in larger context of the movement of Afghan and Lut micro-plates and closing of the Tethys. This study also shows the importance of the integration of surface geology, tectonics and seismic interpretation in the finding of new hydrocarbon provinces