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Testing Tethyian Play Concepts in a Frontier Maltese Basin


The Phoenicia Energy Company operates an exploration license over Area 4 (Blocks 4, 5, 6 and 7) in Maltese waters, 130 km south of Malta. The southern boundary of Area 4 is defined by an established international maritime boundary with Libya. Regionally, Area 4 forms part of the Pelagian Province which extends from Tunisia/ Libya in the southwest up to the Maltese waters in the northeast. The Ashtart-Tripolitania Basin in the southern part of the Pelagian Province is associated with a range of significant discoveries and producing fields in both Cenozoic and Mesozoic carbonate reservoirs. Exploration activity further offshore from the Ashtart-Tripolitania Basin has been limited to date in Tunisian and Libyan waters. In Maltese waters exploration wells drilled in the 1980's and 1990's tested primarily Mesozoic objectives on the existing carbonate plateaus without success. Locally, Area 4 is dissected by the NNW-SSE striking, Mesozoic Melita-Medina Graben which has not been tested to date by an exploration well in Maltese waters. Hagar Qim is a Lower Eocene / Palaeocene, 4-way dip closed prospect developed inside the Melita-Medina Graben in Area 4. The graben setting is envisaged to provide a preferential site for the accumulation of sealing facies and may also have provided a preferential site for the accumulation, preservation and sufficient burial of source rock facies. Seabed pockmark features observed on seismic over deep routed major faults in the graben may point to the presence of a working petroleum system. In addition, southward continuation of the Melita-Medina Graben into Libyan waters can be observed on filtered satellite gravity where legacy exploration wells have encountered hydrocarbon shows.