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The Taranto Gulf (Deep Jonian Sea): A Future Play for Hydrocarbon Exploration


G. Cippitelli1, A. Bergamaschi1

(1) ENI SpA - Agip Division, S. Donato Milanese, Italy

 The interest to explore the Jonian Offshore started on 1971 year, when the Luna gas discovery occurred in the Tertiary S. Nicola dell’Alto Formation. Since that time the exploration has been concentrated along the Calabrian coastline, from the Crati river mouth to Squillace Embayment, inside of the 1000 m. isobath, pursuing the Tertiary plays. However, after the Hera Lacinia gas discovery, on the 1975 year, up to the present time, any large success has been carried out. Therefore to continue the exploration activity in this part of the Italian sea, it needs to consider different plays even if located in deep waters.

The future, for the hydrocarbon exploration in the deep Jonian sea, could be represented by some Apulian Platform upthrusts, in the Taranto Gulf, located below the alloctonous accretionary wedge front and the Plio- Pleistocene overburden of the Taranto Valley. A moderate optimism for such a play, results by :1) the Val D’Agri oil discoveries in the Apulian Platform; 2) its analogy with the, onshore located, Rotondella structure. On this moderate overthrust of the Apulian Platform, four wells have been drilled, in the past, and small oil quantity were found in two of them. Recently, a new analysis carried out in the samples has shown that the Rotondella oil is related to the Val D’Agri oil family. Therefore, in the Taranto Gulf area, the existing structural, stratigraphic and geochemical conditions get to hope positive exploration results.