Geological Setting & Hydrocarbon Plays


The Israeli EEZ occupies the central part of the Levant Basin. This deep marine basin, where water depth reaches up to 2000m, is located in the southeastern part of the Mediterranean Sea, surrounded by the land mases of Egypt, Israel, Lebanon, Syria and Cyprus. The Levant Basin started to develop in Triassic-Jurassic times through rifting and extension (Gardosh et al. 2008a). During the Late Cretaceous and Tertiary it became subject to compression and subsidence and was filled by thick succession of clastic sediments and evaporites. The unique geologic history of the Levant Basin is associated with the existence of various types of petroleum systems and hydrocarbon plays (Gardosh et al. 2008b). The Oligo-Miocene Play includes the giant fields of Tamar and Leviathan where biogenic gas was found in the thick succession of the Tamar turbidite sands. Smaller but commercial quantities of biogenic gas were found in the Pliocene, Yafo turbidite sands and gas shows were identified in Upper Miocene turbidite sands included in the underexplored Upper Miocene/Pliocene Play. Significant shows of very light oil and condensate discovered in Middle Jurassic, fractured carbonates in several wells (Yam-2, Yam Yafo-1) indicate that Mesozoic, organic-rich source rocks generated oil and gas that is found in a Jurassic Play. Thermally mature, Mesozoic source rocks likely charged the extensive, deep marine turbidite sandstone of the Lower Cretaceous Play, which was not tested yet by drilling in the deep part of the Levant Basin.

The hydrocarbon potential of these plays was recently evaluated through a comprehensive Basin Modelling and Petroleum System Analysis conducted by Beicip-FranLab (2015). The results of the study are highly encouraging, indicating unrisked volumes of 7700 BCM of gas and 26 Billion bbl of oil (P50 in place); and Yet-To-Find volumes of 2100 BCM of gas and 6.6 Billion bbl of oil (P50 in place) in the Israeli EEZ. The recent discovery of gas in Miocene carbonate in the Zohr Field offshore Egypt, indicates that other hydrocarbon plays and giant traps may still be found in the Levant basin offshore Israel.

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