--> --> “New Ideas in Old Places”: The Continuous Rejuvenation of Hydrocarbon Exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean Province (Nile, Levantine), From Abu Madi to Zohr

2018 AAPG International Conference and Exhibition

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“New Ideas in Old Places”: The Continuous Rejuvenation of Hydrocarbon Exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean Province (Nile, Levantine), From Abu Madi to Zohr

Abstract

The Eastern Mediterranean (Nile Delta Cone, Levantine and Herodotus Basins and the Eratosthenes Seamount) should be regarded as a large, single petroleum province. The sedimentary sequence contains a variety of reservoirs, seal and several source rocks (thermogenic and biogenic), both in the pre and post salt intervals. The Messinian evaporites exceeds 2,000 m thickness in the depocenter. Its sixty years of exploration are marked by major breakthrough rejuvenations, when new exploration plays were opened. The success of each new play is associated to the creativity and imagination of the explorationists, to the technology advances and to business environment. The exploration history of the Province is a unique example of how a basin perceived as mature can be rejuvenated by new exploration concepts, with the largest discoveries being the most recent. Eni was a forerunner and main actor throughout the entire exploration history of the province. About 620 exploratory (New Field Wildcats) wells have been drilled in the area, discovering in excess of 20 Bn boe of recoverable resources/reserves (mostly gas) distributed in 215 discoveries, six of which can be classified as giant. The basin historical creaming curve represents several flat time-intervals indicating maturity of the plays explored until that moment. Interestingly, the largest discoveries (Zohr, Leviathan and Tamar, all in c. 1500 m WD) were made in the past 10 years, indicating that the understanding of the full basin potential was a long process. The Six Exploration breakthroughs characterizes the history of the area: Messinian Play (Abu Madi, 1967), rejuvenated in 1993 (Baltim) and in 2015 (Nooros). Amplitude/DHI supported play. Pioneer: Eni. “Miocene” (pre-Messinian) Play. Tortonian-Serravallian structural-stratigraphic themes (Temsah and Port Fouad Marine), later rejuvenated with stratigraphic themes (Raven, 2004). Pioneers: Eni, Bp. The DHI supported Plio-Pleistocene Play. Structural themes on the Eastern delta (Denise), then stratigraphic traps in the Western Nile delta (Scarab, Saffron). Eni, Bg, Bp. The Oligo-Miocene in the Levantine. Sub salt, deep water giant structures with distal turbidites. (Leviathan, Tamar). Pioneer: Noble. The HP/HT Oligocene Play, marginally explored due to operational challenges and high costs (Atoll). Pioneer: Bp. The Carbonate Play (Zohr). Sub Salt, deep water giant structural exploration on Cretaceous carbonate platforms. Pioneer: Eni.