Abstract

3D seismic data and wireline logs from 17 wells in the onshore East Nile Delta were utilized to study the stratigraphic architecture and evolution of Oligocene deposits. The Oligocene is readily recognized on seismic cross-sections by a series of northward prograding clinoforms. The Oligocene sequences show lateral facies changes from fluvial to deepwater via a shelf-edge delta. Such deltaic features include distributary channels, interdistributary bay fill, and a delta plain and front, gradually changing downslope into prodelta and slope deposits. The slope deposits include three main depositional elements: a deeply incised channel, a complex of laterally switched leveed channels and lobes, and crevasses and frontal splays. These depositional elements are formed in the main western slope basin and local eastern intraslope ponded sub-basin. The reactivated E–W- and NW-trending faults as well as NE–SW inverted structures are the main controls on slope physiography that formed the main corridors for Oligocene sediment distribution. Two main globally correlated Oligocene sequences are encountered being separated by the major drop in global eustatic sea level at 28.1Ma. The lower Oligocene sequence has two main stages: (1) the formation and filling of a basal canyon; and (2) the formation and progradation of shelf deltas to form shelf-edge deltas, and then progradation with an ascending shelf-edge trajectory (clinoforms 1). The upper Oligocene sequence is characterized by accretionary shelf-edge deltas with descending and then flat trajectories (clinoforms 2–4). The frontal splay and lobe complex exhibits potentially favourable reservoir continuity and areal coverage followed by the slope channels.

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