Source rock characterization of mesozoic to cenozoic organic matter rich marls and shales of the Eratosthenes Seamount, Eastern Mediterranean Sea

Abstract : Several significant hydrocarbon accumulations were discovered over the past decade in the Levant Basin, Eastern Mediterranean Sea. Onshore studies have investigated potential source rock intervals to the east and south of the Levant Basin, whereas its offshore western margin is still relatively underexplored. Only a few cores were recovered from four boreholes offshore southern Cyprus by the Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) during the drilling campaign Leg 160 in 1995. These wells transect the Eratosthenes Seamount, a drowned bathymetric high, and recovered a thick sequence of both pre- and post-Messinian sedimentary rocks, containing mainly marine marls and shales. In this study, 122 core samples of Late Cretaceous to Messinian age were analyzed in order to identify organic-matter-rich intervals and to determine their depositional environment as well as their source rock potential and thermal maturity. Both Total Organic and Inorganic Carbon (TOC, TIC) analyses as well as Rock-Eval pyrolysis were firstly performed for the complete set of samples whereas Total Sulfur (TS) analysis was only carried out on samples containing significant amount of organic matter (>0.3 wt.% TOC). Based on the Rock-Eval results, eight samples were selected for organic petrographic investigations and twelve samples for analysis of major aliphatic hydrocarbon compounds. The organic content is highly variable in the analyzed samples (0–9.3 wt.%). TS/TOC as well as several biomarker ratios (e.g. Pr/Ph < 2) indicate a deposition under dysoxic conditions for the organic matter-rich sections, which were probably reached during sporadically active upwelling periods. Results prove potential oil prone Type II kerogen source rock intervals of fair to very good quality being present in Turonian to Coniacian (average: TOC = 0.93 wt.%, HI = 319 mg HC/g TOC) and in Bartonian to Priabonian (average: TOC = 4.8 wt.%, HI = 469 mg HC/g TOC) intervals. A precise determination of the actual source rock thickness is prevented by low core recovery rates for the respective intervals. All analyzed samples are immature to early mature. However, the presence of deeper buried, thermally mature source rocks and hydrocarbon migration is indicated by the observation of solid bitumen impregnation in one Upper Cretaceous and in one Lower Eocene sample.
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Sebastian Grohmann, Susanne W. Fietz, Ralf Littke, Samer Bou Daher, Maria Fernanda Romero-Sarmiento, et al.. Source rock characterization of mesozoic to cenozoic organic matter rich marls and shales of the Eratosthenes Seamount, Eastern Mediterranean Sea. Oil & Gas Science and Technology - Revue d'IFP Energies nouvelles, Institut Français du Pétrole, 2018, 73, pp.49. ⟨10.2516/ogst/2018036⟩. ⟨hal-01909160⟩

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