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AAPG Bulletin


A Common Source Rock for Egyptian and Saudi Hydrocarbons in the Red Sea1

A. S. Alsharhan and M. G. Salah2


The northern Red Sea area hosts a classic triple junction of the Red Sea, Gulf of Aqaba, and Gulf of Suez rifted basins. The sedimentary succession here can be divided into prerift (pre-Miocene) and synrift (Miocene and post-Miocene) megasequences. The prerift section has been penetrated in only a few wells drilled on the western (Egyptian) side of the Red Sea, whereas the synrift section is known on both the Egyptian and the Saudi sides of the Red Sea. Although the synrift units on both sides of the water are similar in facies, thicknesses, and depositional environments, they have different stratigraphic nomenclatures.

The northern Red Sea consists of elongated troughs separated by elongated structural highs, both of which trend northwest-southeast (Gulf of Suez trend). These highs are dissected by cross elements trending northeast-southwest (Gulf of Aqaba trend) and east-northeast-west-southwest, and are looked upon as strike-slip faults dislocating these highs.

Identified rich source rocks are present in the upper Senonian carbonates, the Sudr and Duwi formations on the western side of the sea, the early Miocene Rudeis Formation (Burqan Group), and the middle Miocene Kareem and Belayim formations (Maqna Group). The pre-Miocene and the early Miocene source rocks host oil-prone kerogen, whereas the middle and late Miocene source rocks contain oil- and gas-prone kerogen. All of these source rocks are sufficiently mature 

©Copyright 1997. The American Association of Petroleum Geologists. All rights reserved.

1Manuscript received January 18, 1996; revised manuscript received October 11, 1996; final acceptance March 21, 1997.

2Faculty of Science, UAE University, P.O. Box 17551, Al-Ain, United Arab Emirates.

We are especially grateful to the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation for supplying the materials and the necessary data on which the present work is based and the permission to publish it; we also thank C. G. St. C. Kendall and A. E. M. Nairn, who read the early draft of this paper and offered valuable comments. Thanks to AAPG reviewers D. Waples, R. J. Murris, W. Maze, and an anonymous reviewer for their constructive comments, which we have used to improve our paper. We acknowledge G. Cole, BHP Petroleum, for granting permission to use some of his previous work.

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