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Basin Modeling of the Middle East at a Regional Scale


Maze, Will1, M. J. Hardy2, George Grabowski1, Christopher L. Roll1, Leonard V. Moore1 (1) ExxonMobil Exploration Company, Houston, TX (2) ExxonMobil Upstream Research Company, Houston, TX


A long-term study of the regional geology of the Arabian Plate provides an integrated framework in which to study the evolution of its hydrocarbon systems. Our Stellar™ basin models incorporate source-rock distribution and geochemistry tied to this regional strati­graphic and structural framework.

The basic regional stratigraphy is well established. However, one of the uncertainties for basin modeling is the amount of stratigraphic section missing at unconformities. We utilized well control and seismic coverage to constrain the amount of section removed and to differ­entiate between erosion and non-deposition in seven intervals.

Our models clearly show the regional geologic controls on hydrocarbon generation near large features such as the Qatar Arch. Onset of maturation of Silurian source rocks started in the Late Triassic, hundreds of kilometers NNW of North Dome, and progressed (episodi­cally?) in a clockwise direction around the dome from NNW to W. Generation likely contin­ued into the Tertiary in the SSW and along the crest of the arch.

Model results for Jurassic source rocks are similar, with maturation beginning by Mid-Cretaceous, and generation continuing into the Miocene. Cretaceous and Tertiary hydrocar­bon systems are more areally limited, due to Cretaceous obduction tectonics and Tertiary Zagros foredeep development.

The NE regional tilt of the Arabian Plate increased during the Miocene, moved the crest of the Qatar Arch south, and modified closures and migration paths. Hydrocarbon genera­tion turned off in areas of uplift and erosion, while generation from younger source rocks occurred in the foredeep and molasse basins of the Zagros.