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AAPG Bulletin


AAPG Bulletin, V. 97, No. 9 (September 2013), P. 15671595.

Copyright copy2013. The American Association of Petroleum Geologists. All rights reserved.


Western Greece and Ionian Sea petroleum systems

Vassilis Karakitsios1

1Department of Geology and Geoenvironment, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Panepistimioupoli, 15784 Athens, Greece; [email protected]


In western Greece, the Ionian and pre-Apulian zones represent, respectively, the basin and the transitional zone (slope) to the Apulian platform. The Apulian platform constitutes the weakly deformed foreland of the external Hellenides. The pre-Apulian zone appears in the Ionian Islands and the eastern Ionian Sea, whereas the Apulian platform is exclusively found in the Ionian Sea. The Ionian zone consists of Triassic evaporites, Jurassic–upper Eocene (mostly pelagic carbonates, minor cherts, and shales), overlain by the Oligocene flysch. Organic-rich source rocks occur within Triassic evaporites and Jurassic–Cretaceous pelagic argillaceous-siliceous rocks. The pre-Apulian zone consists of Triassic to Miocene deposits, mainly mixed neritic-pelagic carbonates. Hydrocarbon source rocks include pelagic and hemipelagic deposits rich in marine organic material, although terrigenous organic matter is also found in siliciclastic layers. Apulian platform source rocks are mainly the organic-rich shales within the Triassic Burano evaporites.

Western Greece contains major petroleum systems, which extend into the Ionian Sea. Ionian, pre-Apulian, and Apulian petroleum systems contribute to the probable hydrocarbon accumulations within the big offshore (Ionian Sea) anticlines.

Western Greece contains important oil and gas shale reservoirs with a potential of unconventional exploration. Promising areas for hydrocarbons need systematic and detailed three-dimensional seismic data. Exploration for conventional petroleum reservoirs, through the interpretation of seismic profiles and the abundant surface geologic data, will provide the subsurface geometric characteristics of the unconventional reservoirs. Their exploitation should follow that of conventional hydrocarbons to benefit from the anticipated technological advances, eliminating environmental repercussions.

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