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A migration geochemical study was conducted over an area of approximately 15,000 km2 (5792 mi2) in northeast Saudi Arabia to define regional migration patterns and de-risk oil charge away from the Late Jurassic source kitchen of the Gotnia Basin to prospects further to the south and west on the shelf margin and Summan Platform. Discovered accumulations range in depth from more than 10,000 ft (3048 m) subsea on the shelf margin in the north to around 5000 ft (1524 m) on the Summan Platform in the south. Shallowing south/southwestward is associated with a wide API gravity variation (15–35°) and gentler molecular and isotopic maturity trends. Defining migration patterns based on bulk, isotopic, and saturated and aromatic hydrocarbon distributions alone proved ineffective, especially given that all oils examined from the target Arab-A reservoir have a narrow peak-oil window maturity and a largely common source, that is sulfur-rich (up to 6.1 wt.%) anoxic marine carbonate, presumably within the Hanifa/Tuwaiq Mountain formations or their equivalent Najmah/Sargelu formations in the Gotnia Basin. Molecular geotracers, based primarily on compositional correlation coefficients of aromatic nitrogen compounds, identified several southwest-trending migration pathways that have charged traps in the Late Jurassic Arab Formation. Prospects falling along inferred migration pathways or entry/spill routes are therefore high-graded.

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