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Egypt has proven to be an area with excellent exploration
potential. Recent discoveries in the Western Desert tilted fault blocks are leading to a reevaluation of new play concepts based on an east-west Tethyan rift structure model. Facies favorable to hydrocarbon accumulation are associated with shallow-water marine depositional environments. Production has not been great on a per-well basis, but fields have consistently outproduced the original recoverable reserve estimates.
The Gulf of Suez lies within the rift between North Africa and Arabia-Sinai. It remains a major producing area with production from sandstones which range in age from Carboniferous to Cretaceous. The Upper Cretaceous and Lower Tertiary carbonates are potentially attractive zones, as are the Miocene clastics and carbonates. Miocene marls and Upper Cretaceous shales are source rocks, and thermal maturation can be directly related to continental rifting with the oil window most attractive in the southern third of the Gulf of Suez. Structural style is strongly rift-influenced with tilted and locally eroded hosts prevalent. The central gulf has a general eastern dip, whereas the northern and southern areas have a regional westward dip. This has had a direct influence in isolating some majo oil fields and has adversely affected reflection seismic surveys.
Exploration has been difficult because of excessive Miocene and younger salt thicknesses. With increasingly refined technology, attractive targets now are being delineated in the hitherto unexplored lows between horsts within the gulf.
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