Since the onshore discovery of oil on the Eastern Desert in 1886, the petroleum industry has discovered over 15.5 BBOE of reserves. This paper uses an understanding of the tectono-stratigraphic history of each major basin combined with drilling history and field size distributions to justify the future potential for doubling Egypt’s resource base.

Major reserve replacement will come from expansion of existing petroleum plays into the Mediterranean Tertiary gas trends. Additional reserve growth will result from successes using 3D seismic in deeper pool exploration in and around proven fields, and for new stratigraphic plays off-structure. Examples from the Western Desert, the Gulf of Suez and the Mediterranean demonstrate this growth potential.

More remote new exploration areas include the Komombo and other basins in Upper Egypt and the northern end of the Red Sea rift, both of which are currently under re-evaluation by a number of international oil companies.

Despite a relatively complex history, the geological framework of Egypt is highly suited for oil and gas exploration. It comprises eight major tectono-stratigraphic events: 1) Paleozoic craton 2) Jurassic rifting, 3) Cretaceous passive margin, 4) Cretaceous Syrian arc deformation and foreland transgressions 5) Oligo-Miocene Gulf of Suez rifting 6) Miocene Red Sea breakup 7) the Messinian salinity crisis and 8) Plio-Pleistocene delta progradation. Each of these events has created multiple reservoir and seal combinations. Source rocks occur from the Paleozoic through to the Pliocene and petroleum is produced from Precambrian through Pleistocene age reservoirs.

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