AAPG Middle East Region Geoscience Technology Workshop, Rift Basin Evolution and Exploration

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Re-Imaging and Re-Awakening of Mature and Frontier Rift Basins


Understanding the complex interplay between tectonic and sedimentation processes during rift basin subsidence and infill remains a key factor to unlock new exploration plays. We return to the lessons learned in proven rift basins such as the Recôncavo and Kwanza (Davison and Underhill, 2011), and the Gulf of Suez (Dolson, 2016).These can be applied in other rifts. In the current cycle of low cost exploration, where dry holes are never welcome, explorers must improve their decision-making processes, by combining previous learnings with the latest available technology (e.g. Ocean Bottom Nodes seismic acquisition, Full Wave Inversion use in velocity building workflows, etc). In addition to new technology, multidisciplinary teams are vital for proper evaluations of play fairways. Results from recent efforts in re-imaging the pre-salt rift grabens in the Red Sea basin will be showcased along with outcrop studies of the structural elements of the Gebel Duwi half-graben in the NW Red Sea onshore margin (Khalil and McClay, 2018). We anticipate the next decade will see a re-awakening of exploration in “mature” rift basins, such as those mentioned above, along with opening of new frontiers like the Red Sea province. The Mubadala Petroleum New Ventures team believes that previous experience gained as effective operator in SE-Asia (e.g. Kra Basin, Gulf of Thailand) represents a competitive advantage for successful future exploration in other rift basins. References: Davison, Ian, and John R. Underhill, 2011, Tectonics and sedimentation in extensional rifts: Implications for petroleum systems, in D. Gao, ed., Tectonics and sedimentation: Implications for petroleum systems: AAPG Memoir 100, p. 1 – 28. Dolson, J., 2016, What Will it Take to Bring a Renaissance to Gulf of Suez Exploration: Has the Time Arrived to Try Some Unconventional Source Rock Plays?: AAPG Geoscience Technology Workshop, Alexandria, Egypt, AAPG Search and Discovery Article #11153 (2018). Website accessed December 18, 2019. http://www.searchanddiscovery.com/documents/2018/11153dolson/ndx_dolson.pdf Samir M. Khalil and Ken R. McClay, 2018, Extensional fault-related folding in the northwestern Red Sea, Egypt: segmented fault growth, fault linkages, corner folds and basin evolution. Geological Society, London, Special Publications, 476, 1 January 2018, https://doi.org/10.1144/SP476.12