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New E&P Potentials in the Western Mediterranean Area (Valencia Trough, Balearic Basin and Provencal Basin)


The Western part of the Mediterranean Region has been one of the most attractive areas in the last years from the E&P point of view. This sector is characterised by three main domains: Valencia Trough, Balearic Basin and Provencal Basin. The recent discoveries made in the offshore Spain within the Valencia trough have reinforced the awareness of hydrocarbon potentials in this sector of the Western Mediterranean, even supported by the recent studies carried out from seismic and wells analysis in the closest areas. Nevertheless, there are still several sectors (on the French and Italian sides) that have not been surveyed yet and that hypothetically have the same geological features and oil potentials detected in in the offshore Spain. The similarities among these domains are supported by the tectonic evolution that involved this area during the Mesozioc-extensional and Cenozoic-compressional phases. Before the European Rift System opening, the Valencia, the Balearic and Provencal domains were all gathered in the same system, sharing the same lithological and depositional environments characteristics. The development of the Western Mediterranean basin has involved stratigraphic sequences which spans from the Jurassic to the Quaternary deposits. The succession is characterised by the alternation of carbonates and continental deposits in both the margins of the West Mediterranean basin, from the Sardinia to the east coast of Spain. Possible hydrocarbon targets include the Mesozoic carbonates of Muschelkalk (for example in the Iberian basin), the huge turbidites systems developed during the Miocene syn-rift phase and the proximal to distal deposits of Pliocene age. The distribution of these units inside the Valencia Trough, Balearic Basin and Provencal Basin has been topic of debate in the recent time, but also an interesting challenge for the oil industry.