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Abstract

Recent drilling activity in the Levant Margin offshore Israel has resulted in the discovery of up to 25 TCF of gas. As exploration efforts continue, the previously under-explored Levant Margin is revealed as one of the most prolific petroleum provinces of the Mediterranean region. Study of regional seismic data show that this margin evolved in three main tectonic phases: Permian to Early Jurassic riffing, middle Jurassic to middle Cretaceous passive margin and late Cretaceous to Tertiary inversion and partial subsidence.

Well results indicate the existence of both biogenic and thermogenic petroleum systems. Dry-gas found in Mari-B, Tamar, Leviathan, and several smaller fields suggests basin-wide charge of reservoirs containing bacterial gas, likely originated in Late Tertiary, organic-rich deep-marine shale. Two play types are associated with the biogenic gas system: (A) the Tamar play includes lower Miocene, deep-water turbidite sands in upper Miocene compressional structures; and (B) the Yafo play includes lower Pliocene turbidites in basin-floor fans and mobilized sand mounds.

The existence of thermogenic petroleum systems in the Levant Margin is indicated by significant, highgrade oil shows found in several wells, although commercial production of these oils has not yet been established. Potential source rocks are organic-rich carbonates of mid-Triassic, mid-Jurassic, late Cretaceous, and early Tertiary age. Two types of plays are considered: (A) Jurassic, fractured shallow-marine carbonates in compressional structures located near the basin margin; and (B) Cretaceous, deep-water turbidite sands found in the deep, central part of the basin. Both play types are planned to be soon tested by drilling.

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