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Exceptional Hydrocarbon Source Rock of the Conventional (Albian) Kharita Formation Reservoir in Matruh Basin, Northern Western Desert of Egypt


The Kharita Formation in the northern part of the Western Desert of Egypt is among the prolific hydrocarbon (HC) reservoirs in northern Egypt. The extensive exploration and development activities carried out by Shell on this formation confirmed its role as a good to excellent reservoir in the petroleum system of Matruh Basin. However, recent organic geochemical, palynological and paleoenvironmental studies revealed a good hydrocarbon source potential. Thus, the current work aims to determine the hydrocarbon potential of the Kharita Formation in central Matruh Basin by carrying out detailed organic geochemical and palynological analyses on 25 cutting samples from the Abu Tunis 1x well in Matruh Basin. The studied rocks of Kharita show few unique source facies made up of six fine clastic horizons within the relatively coarse clastics of the formation. These organic-rich horizons display good to excellent potential hydrocarbon source characteristics. They show extreme abundances of the amorphous organic matter (500,000-700,000, avg. 572,000 particles/gram of sediments), total organic carbon content (TOC) of 2-11.6 wt % (avg. 3.4 wt %), and S2 values of 1.1-23.5 mg HC/g dry rock (avg. 8 mg HC/g dry rock). Organic geochemistry (HI: 165-318, avg. 228 mg HC/g TOC), Previous HitpalynofaciesNext Hit Previous HitanalysisNext Hit, and UV fluorescence indicate a Previous HitkerogenTop type III to II. Integrated thermal maturation indicators Tmax °C (416-428, avg. 421), vitrinite reflectance (Rv: 0.49-0.58 %), production index (PI: 0.3-0.5, avg. 0.4 mg HC/g rock), and thermal alteration index (TAI: 2 to 2+) indicate immature to early mature (early oil window) stages. The lower part of the Kharita (samples at depths 6650-7250ft) are more promising in HC production than its upper part, where estimated oil in rock ranges between 90 and 251 bbl oil/ac-ft (avg. 170 bbl oil/ac-ft). The promising intervals within the Kharita Formation in the Matruh Basin may be linked to the Albian oceanic anoxic event OAE 1b.