Abstract

The Western flanks of the Hellenic Fold and Thrust Belt are similar to the nearby prolific Albanian oil and gas provinces, where commercial volumes of oil have been produced. The Lower Oligocene to Lower–Middle Miocene slope series at this part of the Hellenic Fold and Thrust Belt provides a unique opportunity to evaluate the anatomy and source rock potential of such a system from an outcrop perspective. Slope progradation is manifested as a vertical pattern exhibiting an increasing amount of sediment bypass upwards, which is interpreted as reflecting increasing gradient conditions. The palaeoflow trend exhibits a western direction during the Late Oligocene but since the Early Miocene has shifted to the East. The occurrence of reliable index species allowed us to recognize several nannoplankton biozones (NP23 to NN5). Organic geochemical data indicate that the containing organic matter is present in sufficient abundance and with good enough quality to be regarded as potential source rocks. The present Rock-Eval II pyrolytic yields and calculated values of hydrogen and oxygen indexes imply that the recent organic matter type is of type III kerogen. A terrestrial origin is suggested and is attributed to short transportation distance and accumulation at rather low water depth. The succession is immature with respect to oil generation and has not experienced high temperature during burial. However, its eastern down-slope equivalent deep-sea mudstone facies should be considered as good gas-prone source rocks onshore since they may have experienced higher thermal evolution. In addition, they may have improved organic geochemical parameters because there is no oxidization of the organic matter.

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