Está en la página 1de 20

BULLETIN OF CANADIAN PETROLEUM GEOLOGY

VOL. 42, NO 3 (SEPTEMBER, 1994), P312-331

Geologyand hydrocarbon habitat in a rift setting: southernGulf of Suez,Egypt

A.S. ALSHARHAN ANDM.G. SALAH


Desertand Marine EnvironmentResearchCentel;
U.A.E. University,P.O.Box: 17777
Ai Ain, UnitedArab Emirates

ABSTRACT

The southernGulf of Suezin Egypt is locatedat the junction of the African and Arabian plates,and has excellent
hydrocarbonpotential.The stratigraphicunits in the areaare groupedinto two main megasequences, the pre-rift (Pre-
Oligocene)and the syn-rift (Oligocene-Recent) lithostratigraphicunits. Gravity, magnetic,seismicand well datawere
usedto delineateoutlines of severalnarrowly elongatednorthwest-trendingdepositionaltroughs,separatedby struc-
tural ridges. Severalpre-rift and syn-rift rich sourceunits occurand are matureenoughin the deeptroughsto generate
hydrocarbons.A geochemicalstudyof sourcerocks and oil samplesshowedtwo groupsof oil: 1. Gulf of Suezoils
from pre-rift sediments;and 2. southernGulf of Suezoils from Middle Miocenecarbonates.The reservoirsare also
classified into: 1. pre- rift reservoirs, such as fractured and weatheredPrecambrianbasement,Nubia sandstone,
Cretaceoussandstoneand fracturedEocenelimestone;and 2. syn-rift reservoirssuchas Lower and Middle Miocene
carbonatesand sandstones.Most oil fields in the regionhave multiple, producingreservoirs.The MioceneEvaporite
Group forms the primary sealfor mostof the reservoirs,and the shalesand densecarbonatesof both the pre-rift and
syn-rift sectionsform secondaryseals.Traptypesinclude structural,stratigraphicand combinationtraps.The southern
Gulf of Suez,which sharesmore than one-third of the whole Gulf of Suezreserves,remains high in hydrocarbon
potentialwith manyuntestedplays.

RESUME

La partie sud du golfe de Suezen Egypte est situeeala jonction desplaquesafricaine et d' Arabie, et possedeun
excellentpotentielde decouvertesd'hydrocarbures.Les unitesstratigraphiques dansla region sontregroupeesen deux
megasequences principales,I'unite litho stratigraphiquedu pre-rift (pre-Oligocene)et celIe du syn-rift (Oligocene-
Recent).Des donneesgravimetriques,magnetiques, sismiqueset de foragesfurentemployeesafin de delineerles con-
tours de plusieursfossesde sedimentationetroites et allongeesen direction nord-ouest,separeespar des cretesstruc-
turales.Plusieursunitesde roche mere pre-rift et syn-rift sontpresenteset sont suffisarnrnentmaturesdansles fosses
profondespourproduiredeshydrocarbures.Une etudegeochimiqued'echantillonsde rochemereetde petroledemon-
tra qu'il existe deuxgroupesde petroles: I) les petrolesdu golfe de Suez,formesdansles sedimentspre-rift et 2) les
petrolesde la partie sud du golfe de Suez,qui provinrentdes rochescarbonateesdu Miocene moyen.Les reservoirs
sont aussiclassifiesen I) reservoirspre-rift, telsque les rochesfractureeset desagregees du socleprecambrien,Ie gres
nubien,les gres du Cretaceet les calcairesfracturesde l'Eocene; et en 2) reservoirssyn-rift leis que les rochescarbon-
ateeset les gres du Miocene inferieur et moyen. La majeurepartie des champspetroliferesde la region possedent
plusieursreservoirsproductifs.Le groupedesevaporitesdu Mioceneforme la barriereetancheprincipale pour la plu-
part desreservoirs,tandisque les schistesargileuxet)es rochescarbonatees sansporositedescoupespre-rift et syn-rift
formentdes unitesde scellementsecondaires. Les types de piegesincluentles piegesstructuraux,stratigraphiqueset
combines.La partie sud du golfe de Suez,qui renfermeplus d'un tiers de toutesles reservesdu golfe de Suez,demeure
tine regiona potentieleleveenhydrocarburesqui receledeszoneset qui n'ont pasencoreetetestees.
Traduit par Marc Charest.

INTRODUCTION ShadwanIsland and EshEl MellahaRange(Fig. 2). The latter


hasa full, pre-rift sequencewhere it plungesto the southcov-
The Gulf of Suezis a rift zone that runs in a northwest-
.southeast direction and forms an elongated depressionof ered by the Miocene reef complex of the Gebel Abu Shaar
about 320 kIn in length (Fig. 1). It is boundedby two major (Fig. 2).
sets of marginal faults. The most characteristictopographic Oil was first found in the Gulf of Suezin 1886 whencrude
featuresof the area are the exposuresof huge Precambrian oil seepedinto tunnels which weredug for extracting sulphur
basementblocks at three different localities: Gebel Zeit, in the Gemsaarea on the westerncoastof the Gulf of Suez.
312
GEOLOGYAND HYDROCARBON
IJAB/TATIN A RIFT SETTING:SOUTHERNGULF OF SUE4 EGYPT 313

Fig. 1. Location map of the Gulf of Suez (A) with regional structural setting of the Gulf of Suez (8) (sources: Moustafa,1976; Rashed, 1990;
and Hammouda, 1992).

Since then,the drilling was conductedcloseto the surfaceoil were described by Sadek (1959), Kostandi (1959), EGPC
seepsin the west coastalstrip of the southernGulf of Suez. Stratigraphic Committee (1964), Issawi (1973), Webster
This resultedin the discoveryof the GemsaOil Field in 1907, (1982), Be1eity (1982), Sellwood and Netherwood (1984),
the first discoveryin the Middle East.The explorationcontin- Salah (1989), and Ayad and Stuart (1990) as summarized
ued in the onshorearea and in the adjacentislands until the below.
SecondWorld War. Exploration activity resumedin 1961 and
has continued since. It has resulted in the discoveryof such PRE-RIFT LITHOSTRATIGRAPHIC UNITS
major oil fields as Zeit Bay, ShoabAli, EastZeit, Geisumand
The pre-rift stratigraphic section ranges from Precambrian
Ashrafi (Fig. 2).
to Late Eocene (Fig. 3).
The principal aim of this paperis to definethe geology,the
hydrocarbonpotential and the tectonicinfluence on hydrocar- PRECAMBRIAN BASEMENT
bon generation,migrationand accumulationwithin the south- Basement rocks have been penetrated to depths ranging
ern Gulf of Suez. The term, "southern Gulf of Suez", is
from 1000 to 5000 m depending on the drilling site, and are
applied in this studyto the areathat is borderedby longitudes
interpreted as granitic on the basis of petrophysical and struc-
34006' and 33027' E and latitudes27023' and27057' N (Fig.2).
tural similarities with their surface exposures. The basement is
highly weathered and intensively fractured in response to the
tectonic activity in this area.
STRATIGRAPHY
PALEOZOIC-EARLY CRETACEOUS CLASTICS
The stratigraphicsequencein the study area rangesfrom
Precambrianto Recentand can be classifiedinto two megase- The term Nubia sandstone is applied for the Palaeozoic-
quences:pre-rift and syn-rift (Fig. 3). The stratigraphictime Early Mesozoic clastic section which lies unconformably over
and rock units, determinedby examinationsof outcrop sec- the basement. Pollens and spores were used to determine geo-
tions,subsurfacecores,an electric logs as well as microfaunal logical ages of the Nubia facies. The Nubia sandstone consists
andpalynologicalstudiesfrom ditch samplesand thin sections, of four units in ascending order: Nubia D and C (Early
314 A.S. AI..5HARHAN and M.G. SAlAH

0089-1
331

,
GH -376

GH-385-1
...
SINAI

-<:>-

Shoab
Ali GH 397-1 -<:>-

' GH 404-1
A Ashrafi
YAshraf i North

GH 420-1 GH 423-1
"*" GH -421 -<>-
"*"
...~.:\t 2745.
GH 434-1
,.
North Ras.~ -<:>- -<}-
Bahar(1-3 Zeit Bay -<}-Gubal Ncx1h-1

x
,.
x ,
«'

2,i Hareed

aHareed 5-3

SKm
3400

Oil Field ~I
Gas Field

Oil Well

GasWel1

Dry Well

Fig. 2. General geology and well locations of the southern Gulf of Suez (modified from Salah,1992).
GEOWGY AND HYDROCARBON
HABITAT IN A RIFTSETTING:SOUTHERNGULF OF SUEz.EGYPT 315

Paleozoic), B (Carboniferous), and A (Early Cretaceous).NubiaOLIGOCENESUCCESSION


B is a dark shale with very minor sand streaks while The Abu Zenima Formation is Oligocene in age and is
units A, C and D are predominantly sandstone with thin presentin only one well (Zeit Bay-I, seeFig. 2) in the south-
interbeds of shale. The total Nubia ranges in thickness from ernGulf of Suez,with a thicknessof about122m. The forma-
about 23 to 427 m, and was deposited in a continental to shal- tion unconformablyoverlies the ThebesFormationand con-
low marine setting. sists of interbedded limestones, sandstones and shales,
commonlywith a reddishcolour.The formationwasdeposited
CENOMANIAN-LOWERSENONIAN SUCCESSION
in a continentalsetting.
This Cretaceous clastic sequence consists of four forma-
tions in ascending order: Raha (Cenomanian), Abu Qada EARLY MIOCENE SUCCESSION
(Cenomanian), Wata (Turonian), and Matulla (lower This sectionis knownas the GharandalGroupand consists
Senonian). In the outcrops, these formations are considered as of two formationsfrom baseto top: Nukhul andRudeis.
one unit (known as the Cretaceous clastics) which lies uncon- The Nukhul Formationis the oldest in the Miocene strati-
formably over the Nubia sandstone. In the subsurface it is easy graphic sequenceand unconformably overlies the Eocene
to identify the Matulla Formation; however, the three other
limestone over much of the southern Gulf of Suez. The
formations are difficult to differentiate due to the interfinger-
Nukhul Formation consists of highly calcareousshale with
ing of different facies and lack of diagnostic fossils.
interbedsof sandstone, carbonateand occasionalanhydrite in
The Raha, Abu Qada and Matulla formations consist mainly
the upperpart of this section.The formationis well represented
of sandstone, shale and carbonate interbeds while the Wata
Formation consists predominantly of carbonates with thin
in the studyareabut varies in both faciesand thickness,rang-
interbeds of shale. These formations were deposited in a
ing between10to 730m. The Nukhul Formationwasdeposited
marine, inner sublittoral to littoral setting. in fluviatile, openmarineto lagoonalsetting.
The RudeisFormationvaries greatlyin lithology andthick-
CAMPANIAN-MAASTRICHTIAN SUCCESSION ness in responseto the irregular paleorelief over which sedi-
These are the youngest Cretaceous sedimentary rocks in the mentationtook place.It consistsmainly of shaleandlimestone
stratigraphic section. They consist of two formations, the interbeddedwith sandstone.The unit varies in thicknessfrom
Brown Limestone (early Campanian) and Sudr Chalk (late about 11 to 1304 m. The depositionalsetting of the Rudeis
Campanian to Maastrichtian). These rocks consist predomi- Formationis consideredshallowto deepmarine.
nantly of limestone with interbeds of highly calcareous shale.
The lower part of the succession contains a pale brown chert MIDDLE MIOCENE SUCCESSION
while the upper part is more argillaceous. The two combined This successionis known as lower Ras Malaab Group and
formations range in thickness between about 15 and 106 m in consists of two formations from base to top: Kareem and
the northern part of the southern Gulf of Suez, but are absent Belayim.
in most of the wells drilled in the southern part due to erosion The Kareem Formation conformably overlies the Rudeis
and/or non-deposition. The Brown Limestone Formation con- Formationandconsistsmainly of interbeddedsandstone, shale
formably overlies the Matulla Formation. These sedimentary and carbonateswith thin streaksof anhydritein the lower part
rocks were deposited in a marine, sublittoral setting. of the section. Generally, the sand per centage increases
toward the marginal boundaries (Tawfik et al., 1992). The
PALAEOCENESUCCESSION
thicknessof the Kareem Formation in the southernGulf of
The section, known as the Esna Formation, consists of soft,
Suezvaries from 15 to 539 m. The depositionalsettingof the
fossiliferous shale. The Esna Shale never exceeds 21 m in
Kareem Formation was shallow, partly open marine, with
thickness and conformably overlies the Sudr Chalk of the
Cretaceous Carbonate Group. The Esna Formation was localized lagoonalconditions.
deposited in a marine, outer sublittoral to upper bathyal set-
The Belayim Formation representsthe beginning of the
main Mioceneevaporiticcycle. It rangesin thicknessfrom 53
ting.
to 427 m and was depositedin a lagoonalto shallowmarine
EOCENESUCCESSION setting.It is subdividedinto four membersin ascendingorder:
The Thebes Formation consists of the Eocene sediments Baba,Sidri, FeiranandHammamFaraun.
and is well represented in the surface section on the back of 1. Baba Member:This is composedmainly of anhydrite with
the Esh El Mellaha Range, where it attains a thickness of subordinateshale.The memberrangesin thicknessfrom 14
about 122 m. In the subsurface section the unit did not exceed to 81 m in the southernGulf of Suez.
a thickness of more than 61 m. The Thebes consists mainly of 2. Sidri Member: This consists mainly of shale with thin
limestone with very thin streaks of shale and conformably streaks of limestone and/or sandstone.It is the thinnest
overlies the Esna Shale. It was deposited in a marine outer member of the Belayim Formation with a maximum
sublittoral setting. recordedthicknessof 13 m in the studyarea.
3. Feiran Member: This is r:nainlycomposedof halite with
SYN-RIFr LITHOSTRAllGRAPHICUNITS anhydrite and thin shale interbeds.The thickness of this
The syn-rift stratigraphicsectionrangesfrom Oligoceneto member ranges between 27 and 174 m. Generally, it
Recent(Fig. 3). increasesin thicknesssouthwarddueto saltwithdrawal.
316 A.S. ALSHARHAN and M.G. SALAH

Fig. 3. Stratigraphic column of the southern Gulf of Suez (sources: Barakat, 1982; Khalil and Meshref, 1988; Salah, 1992; and Hammouda,
1992).
GEOLOGY AND HYDROCARBON HABITAT IN A RIFT SETTING: SOUTHERN GULF OF SUEZ, EGYPT 317

4. Hammam Faraun Member: This consists of shale with sand be consideredas a failed rift. Generally,the Gulf of Suezis
and/or limestone or dolomite interbeds. The sand ratio subdividedinto three tectonicprovincesthat are separatedby
increases toward the basinal margins. The member ranges two accommodationor hinge zones,Zaafaranain the north
in thickness from 6 to 152 m. and Morgan in the south (Fig. IE). The central tectonic
province is characterizedby NE dip while the northern and
LATE MIOCENE SUCCESSION southernprovincesare characterizedby SW dip as described
The late Miocene succession is collectively known as upper by Meshref (1988)and Khalil (1988).
Ras Malaab Group and contains two formations, South Gharib A cross-sectionacrossthe southernGulf of Suezshows
and Zeit. drastic topographicalrelief with denudedbasementreaching
The South Gharib Formation lies conformably over the elevationsof nearly 2000 m on the flanks (Fig. 4). Its deepest
Belayim Formation and consists mainly of halite with some depocenters along the axial trough have over 5000 m of
anhydrite and shale interbeds. Locally it contains some sands Neogenesyn-rift sedimentaryrocks (Evans,1990).
in the marginal areas. The thickness of this formation varies Both surfaceand subsurfacedatawere usedto establishthe
from 46 to 2,286 m. The environment of deposition of the geometry of the southernGulf of Suez. Aeromagnetic and
South Gharib Formation is considered to have been a restricted seismic interpretation,surfaceoutcroppatternson both sides
to a shallow marine setting. of the southernGulf of Suezand the subsurfacedata from
The Zeit Formation conformably overlies the South Gharib somewells in the areawere integratedto define the geometry
Formation and consists mainly of interbeds of anhydrite and of the southernGulf of Suez.A relief map on top of the base-
shale with some salt bodies in parts. Sands are recorded espe- ment was constructedto showthe structural configurationof
cially in the marginal areas. The formation varies in thickness the southernGulf of Suez(Fig. 5). The interpretationof these
from 26 to 914 m. The Zeit was deposited under alternating data showedthat the southernGulf of Suezconsistsof elon-
restricted and open marine conditions to shallow marine set- gate troughs separatedby high trends (elongated structural
ting. highs), both trending NW-SE. The stratigraphic succession
POST MIOCENE SUCCESSION
and depthto basementvary from one structuralhigh to another
and also vary within the samehigh. Thesehighs are dissected
The post-Miocene sediments and sedimentary rocks are
by major cross-gulf trending faults named as cross faults
known as the post-Zeit Formation of Pliocene to Recent age.
The thickness and lithology of these sediments show a marked
(Meshrefet at., 1988).
The major troughs in the southernGulf of Suezare, from
variation from one place to another within the southern Gulf of
northeastto southwest: Eastern,Ghara-EastShadwan,East
Suez. Generally, they consist of sand and sandstone, shale
Zeit, West Shadwan,and Gemsa(Fig. 6). On the other hand,
and/or carbonate with thin streaks of anhydrite.
the highs (shownalso as Trendsin Fig. 6) are: Eastern,Shoab
Ali, B, Islands,Geisum,Hareed,Ras Bahar,Gemsa,Felefel,
STRUCTURE
andCoastal.
The northernend of the Red Searift -a largetensionalfea-
ture causedby the separationof the Arabian plate from the HYDROCARBONHABITAT
African plate -forms the Gulf of Suez. It is an elongated
The hydrocarbonpotential of the study area is generally
depressionrunning in a NW-SE direction (Said, 1962)(Fig.
high because:1. rifting tends to produce both restricted and
1). This tectonic basinis approximately60 to 80 kIn wide and
contains a sedimentaryprism about 3-5 km thick, ranging openmarinesettingsfavorableto a sourcerock accumulation.
Relatively high geothermal gradients would help convert
from Mioceneto Recent(Jameset al., 1988).
The Suezrift startedbetween24 and 21 Ma, or the latest organic matter in the sourcerocks to hydrocarbons;2. subse-
Oligoceneto the earliestMiocene (Evans,1990).Rifting was quentrotationalfaulting and marginaluplifting produceclastic
caused by tensional stressestransmitted through the litho- systemsfrom the matureshield terranesand form shoal areas
sphere in addition to an upwelling of hot asthenosphere.In whereporousreefbuildupsanddolomitizedlimestones,poten-
other words,the Gulf of Suezrifting waspassive(Hammouda, tial reservoirs,could develop; and 3. rotational faulting of
1992). Both the crustal extensionand tectonic subsidenceof theseunits producestructural traps, which may be sealedby
the axial trough reachedtheir peaks between19 and 15 Ma onlappingbasinalmudrocksor evaporitesduring later thermal
(Steckleret al., 1988). However,between20 and 17 Ma, the subsidenceof the rift.
flanks of this basinbeganto be lifted up due to heating effect
SOURCEROCK POTENTIAL
(Steckler,1985).
By 15 Ma, the movementalong the Aqaba-Jordanrift (or The source rock potential of the southern Gulf of Suez has
transformfault) had begun(Fig. 1, Bartov et al., 1980).By 5 been studied by many authors, such as Rohrback (1982),
Ma, this transformfault replacedthe Gulf of Suezas the pri- Barakat (1982), Shaheen and Shehab (1984), and Salah (1992).
mary plate boundarybetweenthe African and Arabian plates
SOURCEROCK RICHNESSAND TYPE
(Evans,1990).
The geometryof the fault systemin the basinindicatesthat Five potentially rich source rock intervals have been identi-
the areais in an extensionalsetting,and the Gulf of Suezcan fied on the basis of total organic carbon content (TOC) and
318 A.S. ALSHARHAN and M.G. SALAH

-SUEZ RIFT
~i
SINAI
Km
RED SEA HILLS +++++++" +- , -+2
+2J ++++++
~ rMODERNGULF
~f ++++++.
oj +++++++++++++++
+++++++++++++++++
+++++++++++++++++++ +,
..
-0

2~ + ++ +++++++++ J++++ -2
++++++ ++++J++
+++++" ++++/+
+++++ ++.++
4. ++++ ++
/

+++ + + ++
+ + +.+ + + + + + +
61 +++++++++
++++++++

~
~ Syn-rlft evaporItes

[ZJ Syn-r~t clastics

.Pre-rift sediments

~f"+:""+::+lBasement

Fig. 4. Cross section across the southern Gulf of Suez (modified from Moretti and Chenet, 1987).

pyrolysis result (S2)within the southernGulf of Suez(seeFig. troughs in the southernGulf of Suez.The location of these
7A). Theseare in ascendingorder: UpperCretaceouscarbon- modelledsectionsis shownin Figure 8D. Thesesectionswere
ates (Brown Limestone and Sudr Chalk), Eocene Thebes, constructedbasedon seismicandmagneticmeasurements.
Lower Miocene Rudeis,Middle Miocene Kareem, and also The geothermalgradientof mostof the drilled exploratory
Middle Miocene Hammam Faraun Member of the Belayim wells in the SouthernGulf of Suezwas calculated from the
Formation (Fig. 7A). BotP the Upper Cretaceouscarbonates availabledrillstem tests,electric logs and temperaturesurveys
(an averageTOC of 2.5%) and EoceneThebes(an average after correctingthe bottom hole temperature.Thesecorrected
TOC of 1.5%) are the pre-rift deposits formed during the readingswere usedfor calculptingthe time-temperatureindex
Tethyan transgressionacrossnortheasternAfrica. The Rudeis (TTI) on the burial history diagrams(Fig. 8B). This type of
Formation (with an average of 2.5% TOC), and both the multiparameterapproachis considerednecessaryto adequate-
KareemFormationandthe HammamFaraunMember(with an ly assessthe maturity of the sourcerocks in the southernGulf
of Suez.As this part of the Gulf of Suezis characterizedby
averageof 1.5%TOC) are syn-rift deposits(Fig. 7A). In terms
the heterogeneityof crustal thickness(Salah,1989),there are
of volumes of well-preserved source rocks, the synrift
some hot spots which gave rise to localized sourcekitchens
sequenceis more importantthan the pre-rift. To evaluatekero-
evenwithin shallowdepths(Salah,1992).The syn-rift source
gen types,a Van Krevelen-typeplot was madeusing the ana- kitchens (primarily Miocene)are the Eastand WestShadwan
lytical resultsof samplesfrom 17wells in the studyareaandis and Gemsatroughs(Fig. 8D). The pre-rift sourcekitchens in
shownin Figure 7B which showsthatthe pre-rift sourceinter- the southern Gulf of Suez from east to west are: Eastern
vals are typically oil-prone (type I) and occasionallyoil and Ghara, East Shadwan,East Zeit, West Shadwanand Gemsa
gas-prone(type II). The syn-rift sourcerocks are of multiple troughs(Fig. 8D). The Gemsatroughis the deepestkitchen in
types which may be oil-prone, oil and gasprone or gas-prone the southernGulf of Suezas the basementreachesto more
(typesI,ll and III, respectively,of Tissot,1984). than 4600 m in places,which site the pre-rift sourcerocks in
the gas generationwindow and evendeeperas shownin mod-
SOURCE ROCKMATURITY
elled section number 2 (Fig. 8B). The other pre-rift source
Maturity was estimatedon the basisof vitrinite reflectance kitchens extend to the PrecambrianBasementranging from
(Ro) and thermal alteration index (TAl) measurements.To 2900to 4000 m, which site the pre-rift sourcesin the oil gen-
substitutethe maturity estimatein undrilled areas(particularly eration window, e.g., modelled section number 5 (Fig. 8B).
in structurallydeeperareas),time-temperatureindexproposed The oil generationthreshold (OGT) is believedto have been
by Waples(1980)was calculatedfirst from a combineduseof generated10Ma for the pre-rift sources,and around4 Ma for
a burial history plot and the geothermalgradientdata(SeeFig. the syn-rift sources(mainly Miocene) in the southernGulf of
8 A-C); the equivalentvitrinite reflectancevaluewas thenesti- Suez.The depth to the onset of oil generationranges in the
mated. The burial history of the analyzedformations were areafrom about2290to over3660 m anddecreases southward
investigatedfor nine modelled sectionsscatteredin the main within the studyarea(Fig. 8C).

,Km
GEOWGY AND HYDROCARBON HABITAT IN A RIFT SETTING: SOUTHERN GULF OF SUEZ, EGYPT 319

EJ Sou rce Kitchens -Oil Field .Location of modelled points

Mig ration Pathways ~ Gas Field ,'/


'-~ Islands
";*,;If

Fig. 5. Relief map on top basement of the southern Gulf of Suez (sources: Salah, 1989; Soudy, 1990 and Fichera et al., 1992). See legend in
Figure 2.
320 A.S. ALSHARHAN and M.G. SAlAH

D Deep troughs Wells Synthetic Faults


Re9ional dip SW (;) Islands Antithetic Faults

Fig. 6. Major tectonic elements of the southern Gulf of Suez (sources: Meshref et al., 1988; Rashed, 1990; and Saoudy, 1990).

.
GEOLOGY AND HYDROCARBON HABITAT IN A RIFT SETTING: SOUTHERN GULF OF SUEZ; EGYPT

Ha~IA.ShaarNE I GS 382 ~GH 3861 W~II N~m~


REMARKS
1152 \ -1152 I TOC

C
LATE I ~T8ELAYI
ORGANIC ICARBON
HAMMAM roc
'" ~ FARAUN < 0.5 POORSOURCE
... ~ FEIRAI
-I
0.5-1.0 FAIR SOURCE
C -' SIDRI
UJ ;.0-1.5 GOOD SOURCE
C m BABA
> 1.5 EXCELLENT
L&J

~ KAREEM "'.', "..,.'"


~ jJ.. ? SOURCE

u
< J1
1/1
r:::-:::~1
0 >-
-' IU
C
)
II: :J
~
~ -<
III

~ GOOD
EXCELLENT
TO
SOURCE

('/1
II

Fig. 7 A. Source rock richness and kerogen types in the southern Gulf of Suez.

OIL STUDY
Multiple analytical parameters of seven oil samples (A to
G), collected from both Miocene and Pre-Miocene reservoirs,
and several extracts, located in the offshore and onshore areas
of the southern Gulf of Suez were used to compare the genetic
1.~1 relation of the oils in the southern Gulf of Suez with the ana-
lytical parameters of the oil in the whole Gulf of Suez
u
-
:r:
described by Rohrback (1982). These analyses included liquid
chromatograph separation, gas chromatography, GC-mass
a 1; spectroscopy (GC-MS) and stable isotope mass spectroscopy.
'<! The Gulf of Suez oils are interpreted to be of the same genetic
a: family, suggesting the same or highly similar source rock of a
u marine origin (Rohrback, 1982). The analyses of the seven oil
~
a samples from the study area showed that six of these samples
..., 0.5
~ (A to F) are genetically different from the Gulf of Suez Oil
group (group 1), and suggested another group of oils (group
2). One sample, G, is similar to the Gulf of Suez oils (Group
1) (Fig. 9A-C). The characteristics of Group 2 include lower
sulphur content, isotopically heavier, relative increase in C29
0.05 010 015 020 0.25 o~ distribution, pristane/phytane ratio greater than 1.0, abundance
ATOMIC RATIO O/C of biomarkers (Gammacerane) and a carbon performance
index greater than 1.0. The characteristics of this group indi-
cate that its source is a non-marine sediment, most probably
Fig. 78. Van Krevelentype diagramfor the kerogentypes of source. . d ." . d
rocksin the southernGulf of Suez(referencecurves:Tissotand Welte, deposited under hypersalme con iuons (z.e.,a restrlcte envl.-
.
1984). ronment).

r1
f>~
~
rorAL
322 A.S. AUHARHAN and M.G. SAlAH

0 5Km
() Hot Spots Well 1.8 F/100m ~ I

Fig. 8A. Geothermal gradient map of the southern Gulf of Suez (sources: Barakat, 1982; Shaheen and Shehab, 1984; and Salah, 1992).

.
GEOLOGY AND HYDROCARBON HABITAT IN A RIFT SETTING: SOUTHERN GULF OF SUEZ, EGYPT 323

Oli!Joc~n~ MI ocen e
oj
c9~1
.to. -5'0
'to?, "I,>
1'0
1000~ -9(1 C..s
O'f'
',s-~ -t-q),. q)",
"" /6
0,. ~~o?,
;c:-
'>1~t. 0",
~o
'o/) '- I>,"'..
20001 /"lI,cif
'01)
~~~.:::t -.3i~~e~e:a.!l~n- ---
2400m (7900Ft)
12 13 ---
3000-

,1,- -:

15- --
4350 m (14,270Ft) :
~- 16--
Onset of gas generation
17- --

28 24 20 16 12 8 " 0

Modelled point No.2


TTI ( See Fig 8 D for location)

TTI

Fig. 88. Burial history curve of modelled sections of the southern Gulf of Suez (sources: Shaheen and Shehab, 1984; and Salah, 1989). The
locations of these modelled sections are shown in Figure 80.

B
4000,
324 A.S. AL5HARHANand M.G. SALAH

Well GH 404 . basementrangesbetween1 and 8%; permeability up to 200


md. The basementis granitic in composition and is cut by
8.0001 mafic and acidic dykes.The reservoirpropertiesdependupon
crystaldisaggregationscausedby weatheringof the basement
complex, and on the tectonic brecciationcausedby faulting
andfracturing.
y B -Nubia Sandstone
The Nubia in the southernGulf of Suez,characterizedas a
'\ maturewell-sorted sandstone, forms one of the major pre-rift
reservoirs.Its net paythicknessrangesbetween30 and 304 m,
with the known recovery factor between 15 and 60%. The
Nubia is absentin mostof the wells drilled in the southernpart
of the studyareawhile its maximumrecordedthicknessis 463
m in the northernpart. Generallyit thins southwardand yields
O~~:~f~~~
~1;5~~;r-':fi;;-n
~~~
K
:.
:.
a porosityranging from 13 to 25% and permeabilityfrom 70
to 400md. The quality of the reservoirdependson the amount
, of shale,the diageneticprocesseswhich mayhavecausedsec-
,I ondary silica dissolution and precipitation, and the depth of
:
burial. The Nubia producesoil in manyfields in the area(Fig.
10).
.'\ C -Cretaceous Sandstone
'\ These are the Matulla, Raha and Abu Qada sandstones
~\ which produceoil from five fields in the southernGulf of Suez
12.000L
0.1 02 03
.
04 05 06 07 08
(Fig. 10). Porosityrangesbetween15 and 20% andpermeabil-
Vitrinite reflectence(R.) ity between100and 250 md. The quality of reservoirdepends
on the depthof the sandstoneand amountof argillaceousmat-
ter and/orcalcareouscement.
Fig. 8C. Depth-temperature curvefor discoverywell GH 404-1 in the
D -Thebes Limestone
Hilal Fieldin the southernGulfof Suez.
This formation is a potential reservoir in the Shoab Ali
Field only and consistsof fractured marine carbonates.The
The correlation between the extracts of the rich source units averageporosityis 12%andthethicknessof the netpayis 15m.
showed two extract types: extract 1 which belongs to the pre-
rift source, and extract 2 which belongs to the Middle Miocene SYN-RIFfREsERVOIRS
syn-rift (Kareem Formation and Hammam Faraun Member of The syn-rift reservoirshavegreaterpotential in the southern
Belayim Formation; Fig. 90). Moreover, it showed a close Gulf of Suez than the pre-rift becausethey are better pre-
relation between extract 2 and group 2 oils (Fig. 9E). It is served,well distributedand producedfrom four formationsas
believed that the six oil samples within the study area are from follows:
either Kareem Formation and/or Hammam Faraun Member of
A -Nukhul Formation
Belayim Formation, as indicated from the oil/source correla-
The Nukhul sandstoneis well developedin the southern
tion. It is normal to have a mixture of group 1 and group 2 oils
Gulf of Suezbut is locally absentparticularly in places that
in the same field and even in the same pool.
remainedstructurallyhigh without being submergeduntil later
time. The formation thins toward the margins of the Gulf of
RESERVOIRParnNTIAL
Suezand reachesits maximum thickness in the central off-
The southern Gulf of Suez is known for its multi-reservoir shorearea.It producesoil from six fields in the southernGulf
character where each field produces from several reservoirs of Suez(Fig. 10). The sandstoneis conglomeraticin parts and
(Fig. 10). The reservoirs can be classified into pre-rift reser- yields porositiesrangingbetween17and25%.
voirs and syn-rift reservoirs (for more details see Meshref et The Nukhul carbonatesof reefal origin produce oil from
al., 1988; Khalil and Meshref, 1988; Salah, 1989; and Tawfik two fields in the area(Fig. 10). The averageporosity of these
et al., 1992). carbonatesis 16%. The net pay thicknessof the Nukhul reser-
voirs (carbonatesand/or sandstones)in these fields ranges
PRE-RIFf RESERVOIRS
from 21 to 61 m.
A -Fractured and WeatheredBasement
The basement is a common reservoir in the southern Gulf B -Rudeis Formation
of Suez, where it produces oil/gas in eight fields (Fig. 10) and The Rudeis reservoirsare presentover most of the study
has tested hydrocarbons in other discoveries. Porosity of the area.The Rudeissandstonehas producedoil from four fields

'~
'~
GEOLOGYAND HYDROCARBON
HABITAT IN A RIFT SETTING:SOUTHERNGULF OF SUEz.EGYPT 325

3340

L Low H High C1 = 1000 m -Oil Field 0 GasField

Fig. 8D. Major source kitchens and migration pathways in the southern Gulf of Suez (sources Saoudy, 1990; Shaheen, 1984 and Salah,
1992).
326 A.S. ALSHARHAN and M.G. SAlAH

fields in the region(Fig. 10). It hasan averageporosityof 22%


and a net pay thicknessranging from about6 to 36 m. Three
major alluvial fans of sandare recordedin the southernGulf
of Suez:1. a northernfan, with a 14%averageporosity,whose
sourceis Gebel Zeit; 2. an easternfan with a 25% average
porosity,whosesourceis Sinai Massif; and 3. a southernfan
with a 20% averageporosity, whose source is the Esh El
MellahaRange.
D -Belayim Formation
The Belayimsandstones (Sidri and HammamFaraunmem-
bers in Fig. 10) produceoil in only one field and havetested
hydrocarbonsin two discoveries.Two alluvial sandfans were
recorded in the study area, one from the east and the other
from the west.The Belayimsandstones havean averageporos-
ity of 16% with thicknessrangingfrom about8 to 36 m.
Fig. 9A. Oil/Oil correlation, Aromatic Isotope versus Pristane/ The Belayimcarbonatesaremore importantin the southern
Phyane Ratio in the southern Gulf of Suez. Gulf of Suezthanthe Belayimsandstones. Hydrocarbonswere
testedin four discoveriesand arebeing producedfrom one oil
field in the southernGulf of Suez(Fig. 10). The Belayim car-
bonatesare reefal buildups on fault controlled highs and have
porosity ranging between10 and 19%. The averagenet pay
thicknessof the Belayimcarbonatesis about12m.
SAC

SEALS
The pre-rift Cretaceouscarbonate,Esna shale and Thebes
limestone formations can act as vertical seals over the
Cretaceoussandstones. Within the syn-rift sequence,however,
the Miocene evaporitesare always consideredto be the ulti-
mate sealin the Gulf of Suez(Rashed,1990).This is particu-
larly true in the southernGulf of Suezwheretheyare generally
thick either in the downthrownsideof majorclysmic faults or
on the downdip direction of uplifted tilted fault blocks.
However,the magnitudeof throw on the c1ysrnicfault is criti-
cal in the effectivesealing mechanism(Meshref et ai., 1988).
A small throw will succeedin juxtaposingthe evaporitesec-
tion on the down thrownside againstthe Mioceneporoussec-
tion on the uplifted block. A large throw will bring the
Miocene evaporites in juxtaposition with the Pre-Miocene
reservoirson the uplifted block as at the Hilal Field (Saoudy,
Representative sample lor the Gull 01 Suez Oils 1990).
The Miocene clastic section, such as the Rudeis and
Kareem formations, can act as sealing agents especially in
Fig. 98. Oil/Oil correlation, Galimove Curve in the southern Gulf of areaswheresomeshalyfacieshavedeveloped.In sucha case,
Suez. porous intervals within the formation will act as reservoirs,
whereasthe shaly intervals will becomevertical and/orhori-
and tested gas from one discovery (Fig. 10). The net pay zontal seals,dependingon the magnitudeof the throw of the
thickness of the reservoirrangesbetweenabout 15 and 30 m fault. The Miocene shalesalso play an importantrole in the
with porosity ranging between15 and 23% and permeability stratigraphictrap, where they laterally face a body of sand-
between10 and 1000md. stoneasa faciesvariation.
The Rudeis carbonatesare producersin only three fields
(Fig. 10) with an averageporosity of 16%. Thesecarbonates HYDROCARBONENTRAPMENT
are particularly well developedin submergedhigh areaswithin
Several mechanisms for hydrocarbon entrapment are
the lower Miocenebasin,suchas in the North Bahararea.
recorded in the southernGulf of Suez.Theseare structural,
C -Kareem Formation stratigraphicand combinationtraps,as describedin detail by
This is the most important reservoir rock of the southern Meshref et at. (1988), Salah (1989), Saoudy (1990) and
Gulf of Suezas it produceshydrocarbonsfrom most of the oil Hammouda(1992).
GEOLOGYAND HYDROCARBON
HABITATIN A RIFT SETTING:SOUTHERNGULF OF SUEZ,EGYPT 327

Fig. 9C. Oil/Oil correlation, variation in sterane distribution (C27' C2s' and C29) in the southern Gulf of Suez.

STRUCTURALTRAPS However, in the study area alone, there is only one proven
This is the most important trap type in the southern Gulf of stratigraphic trap at the Ras EI Bahar discovery,where the
Suez, where most oil accumulations are trapped structurally Mioceneporouscarbonatewedgeis sealedvertically andlater-
(Fig. 11). These traps are represented by: ally by a facies changeto densecarbonate.Oil sourceswere
acrossfaults or updip from the pre-rift sections.
A -Faulted Structural Trap
Both the pre-rift and syn-rift reservoirs produce oil from a COMBINATIONTRAPS
faulted trap sealed vertically by one of the seals and juxtapose
Therearetwo provencasesof combinationtraps:
a younger seal on the down thrown side of the fault.
Hydrocarbons in this trap are from either pre-rift sources A -Fractured EoceneLimestone
across synthetic faults, or the underlying pre-rift or syn-rift This limestone'ssourceis itself with an updip contribution
sources as in the Hilal and East Zeit fields.
from the Upper Cretaceouscarbonatesand sealedby syn-rift
B -Four WayDip Closures mudstonesas in the ShoabAli oil field.
This trap is present as the hanging wall anticlinal Miocene
reservoirs sealed vertically by intraformational mudstones or B -Reefal Buildup
Miocene evaporites with sources across or up faults from pre- This is on a fault-controlled high, seal by Miocene evapor-
rift locations. ites whose source was pre-rift source rocks through a long
STRAnGRAPHICTRAPS
migration range, as in the RR 89 discovery. These reefs possess
The stratigaphic traps have recently become important tar- very high porosity (up to 3%), as in the Miocene reef complex
gets for hydrocarbon exploration in the Gulf of Suez in general. at Gebel Abu Shaar.
GEOLOGY AND HYDROCARBON HABITAT IN A RIFT SETTING: SOUTHERN GULF OF SUEZ, EGYPT 329

M/Z 191 TERPANES

Fig. 9E. Oil/Source correlation, G.C.M.S. in the southern Gulf of Suez.

Age ZEITBAYI E ZEITI HILAL SIDKI IGEISUM IASHRAFIIGESMESA


of
Reservoir

!:
FARAUNCARBON:;1
>-
.. DRI SANDSTONESIDRI
..
OJ OJ
CARBONATE
C

OJ E KAREEM SAND
"
u
~ KAREEM CARBON
0
" RUDEIS SAND

~ ""~
a: RUDEIS CARBONATE

.NUKHUL SAND

.: NUKHUL CARBONATE

Eocene THEBES LIMESTONE

MATULLA SAND
Upper
Cretaceous
=J
WATA&RAHA SANDS

Pre-cam brianl BA SEMENT

Producing Horizons Number 10 6 4 4 3 3 4 6 4 5 2 4

~Oil ~Gas&Oi( EJ Gas *" Undeveloped discovery

Fig. 10. Reservoir potential in the southern Gulf of Suez (sources: Khalil and Meshref, 1988; Salah, 1989; and Saoudy, 1990).

~~~
===1JJJ~~
.:
330 A.S. ALSHARHAN and M.G. SALAH

sw SEA LEVEL NE-.J

x x
x xxxx~ " " "
xxxxxx --~
"" "
xxxxxx + + + + + + "I
xxxxx x :' + -+ + I
xxxxxxx x x X : -+ +-1
x x x x x x X X
x x x x x x X X X xx:'
x x x x x x x : xxxxxx'

x
x x x x x x x x
x x x x x x x :'
x x x x x x x x x i
xxxxx x X X X X
xxxx
xxxxx
'XXXXXX;
x x x
x xx
x x

x x
X
x
XXXX
:
x

xx
~ XXX
X

xx
X"X,,
X ;.

XXXX
X

xxx
:;::~
, ~ x x ~X; x x x \ x x "VI
., xXx X X X X X X X

X X X X X
X X X X X
X X X
SOURCES RESERVQIRS SEAL FIEL X
1- Shoab Ali
x
\ ~Syn-Rift Source ~ Hammam Faraun ~ Miocene Evaporites
I:::'! Miocene Shale 8.
0 Kareem ~ dense Carbonate 2- Zeit Bay,Hilal
~ Pre-RiftSource G3 Pre-Miocene Shale II.
~ Rudeis e9dense Carbonate
3- Geisum. Zeit Bay

D Nukhul 4- Ghara
5- North R as Bahar -2
II:;!1IThebes
0 Cretaceous Sandstones 6- Ashrafi a.RR89

D Nubia Sandstone --" Fault


I!!:!lJFractured a.
!!::!] Basement rocks
Weathered Basement

Fig. 11. Hydrocarbon trapping model in the southern Gulf of Suez (modified from Salah, 1989).

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Beleity,A. 1982.Thecompositestandardanddefinition of Paleoeventsin the


Gulf of Suez. 6th Petroleum Exploration and Production Conference,
We would like to thank Drs. C.G.St.C. Kendall and K. Cairo,p. 181-199.
Magaraand anonymousreviewersof the journal for reviewing EGPC StratigraphicCommittee1964. Oligoceneand Miocenerock stratigra-
phy of the Suezregion. Published by the Egyptian General Petroleum
the manuscriptand offering constructivesuggestionsand rec- Cooperation,Cairo,p. 142.
ommendationswhich improved our paper.The co-authorof Evans,A.L. 1990. Miocene sandstoneprovenancerelations in the Gulf of
this paperwould like to thankDrs. W. Meshref(vice chairman Suez. Insights into synrift unroofing and uplift history. American
of the EgyptianGeneralPetroleumCorporation)andN. Khalil Associationof PetroleumGeologists,Bulletin, v. 74,p. 1386-1400.
(chairmanof the EgyptianPetroleumExplorationists)for their Fichera,R.,Giori,I. andMilad, G. 1992.SouthernGulf of Suez,integrationof
seismic,gravity and magneticdata as constraints26 in the resolutionof
fruitful discussionand valuable comments on the different deep structural setting. II th Petroleum Exploration and Production
aspectspresentedin the paper. Conference,Cairo,p. 31-45.
Hammouda,H. 1992. Rift tectonics of the southern Gulf of Suez. 11th
REFERENCES PetroleumExplorationandProductionConference,Cairo,p. 18-19.
Helmy,H. 1988.Structuralgeologyof the B-Trendoil fields, southernGulf of
Ayyad, M. and Stuart, C. 1990. Sequence stratigraphy without seismic tech- Suez.9th PetroleumExplorationand ProductionConference,Cairo,p. 46-
niques applied in the Gulf of Suez. 10th Petroleum Exploration and 68.
Production Conference, Cairo, p. 139-213. Issawi, B. 1973. Nubia Sandstonetype section. American Association of
Barakat, H. 1982. Geochemistry criteria for source rock, Gulf of Suez. 6th PetroleumGeologists,Bulletin, v. 57,p. 741-745.
Petroleum Exploration and Production Conference, Cairo, p. 224- 252. James,N.P.,Coniglio,M.,Aissaoui,D.M. and Purser,B.H. 1988.Facies and
Bartov, Y., Steinitz, G., Ayal, M. and Ayal, Y. 1980. Sinistral movement along geologic history of an exposedMiocene rift-margin carbonateplatform.
the Gulf of Aqaba -its age and relation to the opening of the Red Sea. Gulf of Suez,Egypt. American Association of Petroleum Geologists,
Nature, v. 285, p. 220-222. Bulletin, v. 72,p. 555-572.

x~"
GEOLOGY AND HYDROCARBON HABITAT IN A RIFT SETTING: SOUTHERN GULF OF SUEz, EGYPT 331

Khalil, B. and Meshrif, W.M. 1988. Hydrocarbon occurrences and structural Saoudy,A.M. 1990. Significanceof NE cross faults on oil explorationin the
style of the southern Suez Rift Basin, Egypt. 9th Petroleum Exploration southern Gulf of Suez area, Egypt. 10th Petroleum Exploration and
and Production Conference, Cairo, p. 86-109. ProductionConference,Cairo,p. 104-143.
Kostandi, A.B. 1959. Facies maps for the study of Palaeozoic and Mesozoic Shahin,A.N. and Shehab,M. 1984. PetroleumGeneration,Migration and
sedimentary basins of the Egyptian region. 1st Arab Petroleum Occurrencein the Gulf of Suez offshore, South Sinai. 7th Petroleum
Conference, Cairo, v. 2 p., 54-62. ExplorationandProductionConference,Cairo,p. 126-152.
Meshref, W.M., Abu Karamat, M.S. and Gindi, M. 1988. Exploration concepts Sellwood,B. and Netherwood,R. 1984. Faciesevolution in the Gulf of Suez
for oil in the Gulf of Suez. 9th Petroleum Exploration and Production area-Sedimentation historyas an indicator of rift initiation and develop-
Conference, Cairo, p. 1-24. ment. ModernGeology,v. 9, p. 43-69.
Moretti, F. and Chenet, P.Y. 1987. The evolution of the Suez rift: a combina- Steckler,M.S. 1985.Uplift and extensionof the Gulf of Suez.Nature,v. 317,
tion of stretching and secondary convection. Tectonophysics, v. 133, p. p. 135-139.
229-234. -' Berthelot,F.,Lyberis,N. and Le Pichon,X. 1988. Subsidencein the
Moustafa, A.G. 1976. Block faulting in the Gulf of Suez. 5th Petroleum Gulf of Suez: implications for rifting and plate kinematics.
Exploration and Production Conference, Cairo, p. 14-38. Tectonophysics,v. 153,p. 249-270.
Rashed, A. 1990. The main fault trends in the Gulf of Suez and their role in Tewfik, N., Harwood,C. and Deighton,I. 1992. The Miocene, Rudeisand
oil entrapment, lOth Petroleum Exploration and Production Conference, Kareemformations of the Gulf of Suez. Aspectsof Sedimentologyand
Cairo, p. 1-24. '.. Geohistory. 11th Petroleum Exploration and Production Conference,
Cairn,p. 84-113.
Rohrback, B.G. 1982. Crude oil geochemistry of the Gulf of Suez. 6th
Tissot, B.P. and Welte, D.H. 1984. Petroleum formation and occurrence (2nd
Petroleum Explorlltion and Production Conference, Cairo, p. 212- 224.
ed.) Berlin, Springer-Verlag, 699p.
Sadak, H. 1959. The Miocene in the Gulf of Suez region, Egypt. Special pub- Waples,D.W. 1980.Time andtemperaturein petroleumformation application
lication by the Geological Survey of Egypt., Cairo, 118p. of Lopatin's methodto petroleumexploration. American Associationof
Said, R. 1962. The geology of Egypt. Elsevier,Amsterdam -New York, 377p. PetroleumGeologists,Bulletin, v. 64,p. 916-926.
Salah, M.G. 1989. Geology and hydrocarbon potential of the southern sector Webster,D.l. 1982. Post EoceneStratigraphyof the Suez Rift, Egypt. 6th
of the Gulf of Suez, Egypt. Unpublished M.Sc., Cairo University, 140 p. PetroleumExplorationandProductionConference,Cairo,p. 76- 189.
-1992. Geochemical evaluation of the southern Gulf of Suez, Egypt.
11th Petroleum Exploration and Production Conference, Cairo, p. 383- Manuscript received: August 24, 1993
395. Revised manuscript accepted: January 10, 1994