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Pre-Pliocene Potential in the Nile Delta/Mediterranean, Offshore Egypt: An Emerging Giant Gas and Condensate Play?


John C. Dolson1, Paul J. Boucher2, Javed Ismail3, Tim Dodd3

(1) BP Egypt, Cairo, Egypt (2) BP Egypt, Egypt (3) BP Egypt, Cairo, Egypt

 In the last five years, deep-water exploration in the Nile Delta has resulted in the discovery of over 14 TCF of gas. The active play has been the amplitude driven Pliocene submarine channel fairway. Gas is both thermogenic and biogenic in origin.

Over fifty untested deep closures have been identified in pre-Pliocene strata. In established trends, a strong relationship exists between the location of Pliocene thermogenic gas and the presence of deeper structural closures. An example is the giant Temsah anticlinorium, with 3.5 TCF of gas in the Serravalian and an additional 3-4 TCF above in the Pliocene growth fault province. These and other data suggest that charge and migration is largely vertical. Pliocene fields may actually be “seeps” overlying deeper and more liquid-rich accumulations.

Input points to reservoir fairways have remained locked in place since the Oligocene, with a mid-Miocene shift from a dominantly western input point (Rosetta branch of the Nile) to the current location in the central Nile Delta. Oligo-Miocene forced regressions caused a major basinward translation of reservoir that culminated in the Messinian desiccation event. Subsequent erosion beheaded many of the older deltas, providing a pressure release mechanism for many deeper reservoir fairways. In this paper, we look at an integration of pressure, geochemical and stratigraphic data that suggests 60-90 TCF of gas remains yet-to-find, much of which is in pre-Pliocene strata.