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The Northern Egyptian Red Sea - A New Deepwater Frontier- Part I


 Robert A. Ripple1, J.P. Siok1, T. A. Dodd2, G. B. Artigas1, N. C. Allegar1

(1) BP Egypt, Houston, TX (2) BP Egypt,

 A multidisciplinary evaluation provides a more promising assessment of hydrocarbon potential in the pre-Miocene section of the northern Egyptian Red Sea. Existing well and seismic data from the 1970s and 1980s were reprocessed and reinterpreted. Reprocessing of the seismic data using pre-stack depth migration and SRME resulted in substantially improved imaging. Gravity and magnetic data were integrated with seismic and surface data to estimate depth-to-basement and highlight structural trends.

The reconstructed tectonic history of the northern Red Sea is congruent with that of the Gulf of Suez up to the initiation of Aqaba transform motion in the Miocene. Opening of the Gulf of Suez and northern Red Sea was initiated in the pre-Miocene as a series of dextral pull-apart basins that became integrated in the Miocene. Previously unidentified pre-Miocene basins are inferred to exist in the northern Egyptian Red Sea; outcrop data from the adjacent onshore indicate that Cretaceous clastics (Nubia) should be preserved in regionally down-thrown structural areas. These basins are similar in style and scale to the prolific pre-Miocene systems in the Gulf of Suez. Prospect risk for the pre-Miocene play is thereby substantially reduced. Mapped structures in the tendered blocks are estimated to contain significant resources: economics and an access assurance project determined that top-quartile deepwater opportunities could exist in this new frontier. Reprocessing of existing 3D data over the blocks and acquisition of new 3D could substantially reduce prospect risk.