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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

Environmental Geosciences (DEG)


DOI: 10.1306/eg.11032020004

Seismic criteria and structural styles for half graben differential inversion: Implication for hydrocarbon accumulation, Abu Sennan blocks, Western Desert, Egypt

Ghada Farrag,1 Ali Bakr,2 Ali Abd-Allah,3 and Sherif El-Shahawy4

1Exploration Department, General Petroleum Company, Cairo, Egypt; [email protected]
2Rockserv, Petroleum Services, Cairo, Cairo, Egypt; [email protected]
3Geology Department, Faculty of Science, Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt; [email protected]
4Exploration Department, General Petroleum Company, Cairo, Egypt; [email protected]


The North Western Desert basins of Egypt are considered as the most established petroleum provinces. The region produced approximately 1.5 billion bbl oil and 10 trillion standard cubic feet of gas since its discovery in 1970s. The Abu Gharadig basin is the most prolific basin in the Western Desert, and the Abu Sennan blocks proved to be one of the main hydrocarbon producers within the basin. These blocks have been affected by different tectonic events during the geologic history, including rifting during Jurassic and Early–Middle Cretaceous and compression during Late Cretaceous and later.

The inverted half grabens present the main structural styles in the studied Abu Sennan blocks.

The main goal of this paper is to identify and document the seismic criteria for structural inversion, then to integrate the research results for detection of the hydrocarbon entrapments. A three-dimensional (3-D) prestack depth migration volume was made available with more than 100 wells located in the study area. The data were calibrated to the well tops, and main surfaces were mapped.

The mapping in a 3-D mode shows the half graben is formed not by a single Jurassic fault but by five fault segments in an en echelon shape and have been undergone by differential inversion movements. The inversion also is recognized during two to three phases of compression that have been detected from progressive onlap sediment features appeared after each compression stage.

Careful modeling of Jurassic and Cretaceous fault systems helped decrease the uncertainty of hydrocarbon exploration and environmental impact.

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