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Insights into the Petroleum System of the Western Nile Delta, Egypt


Vandré, Claudius1, Bernhard Cramer2, Peter Gerling2, Jutta Winsemann1 (1) University of Hannover, Hannover, Germany (2) BGR - Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources, Hannover, Germany


The Nile delta area is an emerging major gas province and one of the most promising areas for future petroleum exploration in northeastern Africa. In the last decade, offshore exploration using high quality 3-D seismic data has resulted in the discovery of significant reserves. Nevertheless, the problem of hydrocarbon generation and the identification of the sources have not been solved yet. Known commercial gas accumulations in the basin occur exclusively in Neogene sediments, which were deposited in association with the evolution of the Nile river/delta system. A regional geochemical study of gases (samples were kindly pro­vided by RWE Dea Egypt and BP Egypt) from the major producing Neogene intervals indi­cates variable mixtures of both microbial and thermogenic origin. The natural gases are fre­quently accompanied by condensates (41-56 °API), with an overall increase in gas wetness with depth. Gas composition and condensate data imply a thermal generation at source rock maturities ranging from 1.1 % to 1.5 % vitrinite reflectance equivalent. In comparison to the eastern Nile delta, we suppose the existence of mainly gas-prone source rocks within the Oligocene to early Miocene sequence. Known source rocks from the Jurassic and Cretaceous of the Western Desert petroleum province may act as additional sources. The occurrence of multiple petroleum sources at great depth in combination with the complex geological framework of the Nile delta supports the possibility of deep potential prospects for further exploration in this region. Integrated 1D and 2D petroleum system modelling will help to identify hydrocarbon kitchens, migration pathways and their evolution through geo­logic time.