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Research Area: Exploration

Carbonate - Siliciclastic - Evaporite systems in rift basins: The Miocene El Qaa Fault Block, Suez Rift, Egypt

Project Number: 6261
Project Duration: 1. September 2012- 31. July 2015

Project Director: Rob Gawthorpe, UIB

Objective

In order to make a more rational use of our natural resources is fundamental to know how these form and store. In the case of hydrocarbons, these are originated and trapped within sediments accumulated in topographic depressions called sedimentary basins that result from the interaction between different tectonic plates. The purpose of this project is to study the link between different sedimentary systems in those basins formed by extension of the lithosphere in regions dominated by arid climates. A present day example of this type of settings constitutes the Red Sea. In there, sediment is delivered to the sea by intermittent fluvial systems that discharge during a few days a year after short duration storms that occur in winter time. Sediment is deposited in a variety of settings, from deltas formed along the shores to the bottom of the sea, interacting in its path with vast carbonate rock bodies formed by coral living in shallow waters. The third sedimentary component in this mixed system is constituted by the evaporites that result from the precipitation of salts in sea water due to the high evaporation rates occurring under arid conditions.

From field work in Suez Rift, Egypt 2014From field work in Suez Rift, Egypt 2014

Classical sedimentary models for extensional basins tend to be mainly built from observations made from basins under wet climatic regimes and relatively little is known about their arid counterparts. The need to understand these differences is not only due to scientific curiosity but also from the necessity of the energy sector to explore new targets. Hydrocarbon accumulations typically occur in the subsurface, so surface studies are crucial in order to gain knowledge of what cannot be observed directly in the underground. For this matter the present project focuses in marine rock successions of Miocene age that have been recently uplifted and exposed in the El Qaa region, western margin of the Sinai Peninsula, Gulf of Suez, Egypt. The main aim of the project is to determine the location, geometry, heterogeneity and inter-relationships of the major sedimentary environments within mixed carbonate-siliciclastic-evaporite depositional systems within extensional arid basins and quantify the controls on their development.

Field work Egypt 2014

The outcome of this project will have direct impact on the exploration models used for hydrocarbon producing basins such like the pre-salt petroleum systems of the South Atlantic, the Red Sea and the Miocene systems of SE Asia. Obtaining a correct understanding of the interrelationship between carbonate, siliciclastic and evaporate sedimentary systems will also benefit to environmental studies of marine areas under arid climatic settings.

Publications:

Muravchik, M., Gawthorpe R.L., Sharp, I. ABSTRACT ACCEPTED. Accommodation space controlled delta progradation in arid extensional basins, El Qaa Fault Block, Suez Rift, Egypt. AAPG Annual Convention and Exhibition, May 2015, Denver, USA.

Muravchik, M., Gawthorpe R.L., Sharp, I., Hodgetts, D. ABSTRACT ACCEPTED. Structural embayments and straits control on early syn-rift shallow marine deposition: Nezzazat Fault System, Suez Rift, Egypt. AAPG Annual Convention and Exhibition, May 2015, Denver, USA.

Muravchik, M., Gawthorpe R.L., Sharp, I. 2014. Sedimentary evolution in arid rift basins, El Qaa Fault Block, Suez Rift, Egypt. 19th International Sedimentological Congress, August 2014, Geneva, Switzerland.

Muravchik, M.; Gawthorpe R.L.; Sharp, I. 2014. Internal structure of a fault degradation complex, Coastal Fault Belt, Suez Rift, Egypt. Geometry and Growth of Normal Faults, Petroleum Group, The Geological Society, June 2014, London, UK.

Muravchik, M.; Gawthorpe R.L.; Sharp, I. 2014. Carbonate and siliciclastic clinothem cycles and their relation with evaporite deposition. El Qaa Fault Block, Suez Rift, Egypt. AAPG Annual Convention and Exhibition, April 2014, Houston, USA.

Muravchik, M.; Gawthorpe R.L.; Sharp, I. 2013. Mixed siliciclastic-carbonate-evaporite depositional systems in extensional settings, El Qaa Fault Block, Suez Rift, Egypt. 30th IAS Meeting of Sedimentology, September 2013, Manchester, UK.

Muravchik, M.; Gawthorpe R.L.; Sharp, I. 2013. Evaporite-Carbonate-Siliciclastic Interactions in Extensional Settings, El Qaa Fault Block, Suez Rift, Egypt. AAPG Annual Convention and Exhibition, May 2013, Pittsburgh, USA.

Muravchik, M.; Gawthorpe R.L.; Sharp, I. 2013. Structure and Evolution of a Fault Degradation Complex, Coastal Fault Belt, Suez Rift, Egypt. AAPG Annual Convention and Exhibition, May 2013, Pittsburgh, USA.

PostDoc: Martin Muravchik

E-mail: martin.muravchik@geo.uib.no
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