From global geology to hydrocarbon exploration: Ediacaran–Early Cambrian petroleum plays of India, Pakistan and Oman
Andrea Cozzi, Giuseppe Rea, Jonathan Craig, 2012. "From global geology to hydrocarbon exploration: Ediacaran–Early Cambrian petroleum plays of India, Pakistan and Oman", Geology and Hydrocarbon Potential of Neoproterozoic–Cambrian Basins in Asia, G. M. Bhat, J. Craig, J. W. Thurow, B. Thusu, A. Cozzi
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The vast amount of new lithostratigraphic, chemostratigraphic and geochronologic data from the Huqf Supergroup (Sultanate of Oman) has established it as the Cryogenian (850–635 Ma) and Ediacaran (635–542 Ma) reference section for the Neoproterozoic of the Middle East Region. A direct litho- and chemostratigraphic comparison of the Huqf Supergroup of Oman with the supposed time-equivalent succession of the Marwar Supergroup in western Rajasthan (India) reveals remarkable affinities in facies evolution and chemostratigraphic signature through time. Ara Group equivalent strata are also found in the Salt Range Formation of Pakistan, which shows an almost identical repetition of evaporites and carbonates with six to seven basin refreshening–desiccation cycles, comparing well with the A0–A6 Ara Group stratigraphy of the South Oman Salt Basin. These similarities bring out a consistent picture of a cratonic setting for the Marwar Supergroup of West Rajasthan, changing into a more open marine setting towards Pakistan until Oman, suggesting an assembly of Oman–Pakistan and India ‘terrains’ prior to being accreted to the Arabian shield sometime after 650 Ma. From a petroleum exploration perspective, key success factors when pursuing the Late Neoproterozoic plays in the Salt Basins of India, Pakistan and Oman are source rock maturity, charge preservation and seal integrity.
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This volume provides a comprehensive overview of the geology and hydrocarbon potential of the major Neoproterozoic–Cambrian basins of Asia from Oman, across the Middle East and the Indian Subcontinent, to China and SE Siberia, along with new research on the region. Many of these areas (e.g., Oman, Bikaner–Nagaur Basin in India, South China and SE Siberia) host prolific Neoproterozoic–Cambrian petroleum systems with giant to supergiant fields. Three key elements: (1) tectonic stability, (2) relatively late phase of hydrocarbon generation and (3) presence of an effective evaporite seal, seem to be critical for the development of effective Neoproterozoic–Cambrian petroleum systems. These key elements appear of less consequence for the development of ‘unconventional’ hydrocarbons, and the future prospectivity in many of these basins may lie in the exploration for, and production of, shale gas and shale oil directly from the thermally mature, organic-rich source rocks.