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Oligocene and Lower Miocene deposits in the Paratethys are important source rocks, but reveal major stratigraphic and regional differences. As a consequence of the first Paratethys isolation, source rocks with very good oil potential accumulated during Early Oligocene time in the Central Paratethys. Coeval source rocks in the Eastern Paratethys are characterized by a lower source potential. With the exception of the Carpathian Basin and the eastern Kura Basin, the source potential of Upper Oligocene and Lower Miocene units is low. In general, this is also valid for rocks formed during the second (Kozakhurian) isolation of the Eastern Paratethys. However, upwelling along a shelf-break canyon caused deposition of prolific diatomaceous source rocks in the western Black Sea.

Overall, Oligocene–Lower Miocene sediments in the Carpathian Basin (Menilite Formation) can generate up to 10 t HC m−2. Its high petroleum potential is a consequence of the interplay of very high productivity of siliceous organisms and excellent preservation in a deep silled basin. In contrast, the petroleum potential of Oligocene–Lower Miocene (Maikopian) sediments in the Eastern Paratethys is surprisingly low (often <2 t HC m−2). It is, therefore, questionable whether these sediments are the only source rocks in the Eastern Paratethys.

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