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Review of Mesozoic Exploration Plays in the Montenegro - NW Albania Segment of South Adriatic Basin

Abstract

We suggest that Montenegro and NW Albania share the same Mesozoic platform plays. The basis for this model is the vast geological and geophysical data gathered during mid-90's and early 2000. This data set can be interpreted so that it allows for the presence of another hydrocarbon province yet to be found in the NW Albania –Montenegro region. This new play consists of deep seated contractional structures made up of Mesozoic platform units that are buried underneath the frontal zones of the thin-skinned Kruja - Dalmatian thrust belt. We use two balanced regional profiles that connect on-, and offshore Montenegro and Albania, respectively, to speculate on the structural configuration of the shallow and the deep levels. The shallow, thin-skinned thrust belt has a westward vergence with the structures implying a shortening of about 50 kilometres. The main detachment horizon is the Oligocene shales for this level. Seismic and gravity data suggests that this thin-skinned belt was subsequently folded by a deeper system of thrusts. These deep thrust slices are interpreted to detach on the Triassic salt level and accommodate shortening of about 10 km. At shallower levels, both shortening are accommodated by regional back thrusts (Durres-Palla and Ishem-Preza-Rodoni). We suggest that the most important play type in this area is this structurally inverted platform carbonates. These deeply buried platform carbonate antiforms resemble those in the Southern Apennines of Italy. Likewise in Southern Apennines, the Cretaceous marls and shales are considered as primary oil and wet gas prone source rocks. A deep SE-NW trending anticlinorium with platform carbonate units is interpreted in onshore Albania–Montenegro region. The anticlinorium, which is stretched for about 140 km towards onshore Montenegro comprises a cluster of several structural closures. The structural inversion is relatively young and it is related to post-Miocene deformations.