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Since 1886, Egyptian and foreign companies have explored the Gulf of Suez by classical mapping and geophysical techniques. During that time 13 oil and gas fields have been discovered. Average daily production currently is of the order of 50,000 BOPD. Structurally, the western Gulf of Suez is divided into two major provinces: West Bakr and West Zeit. In the former, beds characteristically dip to the northeast; in the latter, they dip to the southwest, both in surface outcrop and in subsurface. Within each province, fields are located over structural traps.
As a result of drilling it is apparent that the structures resulted from major movement during the early Miocene. A major unconformity occurs at the top of the lower Miocene Nukhul Formation; and the beds of the overlying middle Miocene Belayim Formation transgress on to rocks as old as Precambrian.
The Nubia Sandstone, one of the best reservoirs, is a blanket deposit over the whole gulf ranging in thickness from 130 m (425 ft) to in excess of 660 m (2,150 ft). The Miocene sands are more sporadic in their distribution and thickness. Three depocenters are known in West Bakr, Shukheir, and Wacdi Dib areas. Further reservoirs of lesser importance are Cretaceous sands, 6.5 m (21 ft) to 32 m (105 ft) thick throughout the area, Eocene carbonates, and Miocene reefs.
Production up to the present has been from structural traps; future expansion of production will depend upon our ability to locate stratigraphic traps. Sands sourced by the shales have seldom given high yields. The hope is that through the generation of depositional environment models it will be possible to define prospects where the optimum sand/shale ratio of 1/4 to 1/6 can be found.
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