History of deepwater exploration in the Black Sea and an overview of deepwater petroleum play types
G. C. Tari, M. D. Simmons, 2018. "History of deepwater exploration in the Black Sea and an overview of deepwater petroleum play types", Petroleum Geology of the Black Sea, M. D. Simmons, G. C. Tari, A. I. Okay
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Deepwater hydrocarbon exploration drilling only began in the Black Sea less than 20 years ago, primarily because of the economical/technological challenges associated with mobilizing suitable rigs through the Bosporus. However, to date (end 2017), c. 20 deepwater wells have now been drilled, targeting a large variety of plays in this underexplored basin. The deepwater wells drilled to date are categorized by their main play objectives, within either the sag/post-rift or syn-rift basin fill of the Black Sea. The sag/post-rift play types have proven to be more successful, finding either biogenic gas in Miocene to Pliocene reservoirs associated with the Paleo-Danube and Paleo-Dnieper/Dniester or oil in Oligocene deepwater siliciclastic systems. Syn-rift or early post-rift plays, in contrast, assumed mostly shallow water carbonate reservoir targets. Only one well targeted pre-rift stratigraphy. Most of the exploration failures to date are directly related to the lack of reservoir at the targeted stratigraphic levels. However, the recent discoveries have underlined the presence of at least two active and effective petroleum systems that cover large parts of the deepwater Black Sea Basin.
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The Black Sea remains one of the largest underexplored rift basins in the world. Future success is dependent on a better understanding of a number of geological uncertainties. These include reservoir and source rock presence and quality, and the timing of migration of hydrocarbons relative to trap formation. An appreciation of the geological history of the Black Sea basins and the surrounding orogens is therefore key. The timing of basin formation, uplift of the margins, and of facies distribution remain issues for robust debate. This Special Publication presents the results of 15 studies that relate to the tectono-stratigraphy and petroleum geology of the Black Sea. The methodologies of these studies encompass crustal structure, geodynamic evolution, stratigraphy and its regional correlation, petroleum systems, source to sink, hydrocarbon habitat and play concepts, and reviews of past exploration. They provide insight into the many ongoing controversies concerning Black Sea regional geology and provide a better understanding of the geological risks that must be considered for future hydrocarbon exploration.