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The Hydrocarbon Potential of Western Greece—Past E&P Results and Future Possibilities


Schmitz, Ulrich1, Helena Dobrova2, Avraam Zelilidis3 (1) LO&G Consultants, Essen, Germany (2) IHS Energy, Geneva, Switzerland (3) University of Patras, Rio, Greece


On- and Offshore Western Greece are, in terms of geological setting, the southern exten­sion of the prolific Albanian oil and gas provinces, parts of which are suggested being the mirror image of Italy’s South Appenine hydrocarbon province. Yet, Western Greece lacks sizeable hydrocarbon discoveries. Sits of Western Greece hydrocarbon occurrences are the Hellenide Fold Thrust Belt and its western Foreland, mainly being located offshore. The onshore is characterized by numerous gas and oil seeps.

The purpose of this study is, upon critically reviewing past exploration activities, (i) to identify the reasons for the lack of E&P success in the past, and (ii) to analyze whether past failures allow for a substantial remaining hydrocarbon potential.

Revisiting the hydrocarbon habitat indicates the existence of two main hydrocarbon sys­tems: (1) The Late Mesozoic Hydrocarbon System, with Late Jurassic, Early and Late Cretaceous source rocks, whereby obviously traps are charged from more than one of those source rocks. Carbonate and clastic reservoirs are of Cretaceous and post-Cretaceous age.

(2) The Mid to Late Tertiary Hydrocarbon System, with biogenic gas generating source rocks, charging clastic reservoirs of the same age. The resulting main plays, related both with structural and stratigraphic traps, range from Cretaceous to Neogene age.

Analysis of past E&P activities indicates that the problems of the plays, such as limited seal extent, seal breaching, localized presence of viable reservoirs and charge problems, have not fully been honored by the drilling of prospects. Also, simply the offshore drilling density is insufficient to evaluate the full potential.

Taking into account the past results and the reviewed play problems and honoring trap sizes it is suggested that hydrocarbon volumes to be expected will be moderate, except for some higher risk offshore opportunities.