Southern Italy Thrust Belt

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The Southern Apennines thrust belt holds the largest oil field complex in continental Europe with reserves exceeding 700 MMbbls oil and 500 Bcf of gas. The largest oil discoveries have been found in the core of the thrust belt in complex structural situations and also in the more external part of the thrust belt and in the foredeep domain.

Hydrocarbon distribution in the Southern Apennines thrust belt is directly related to the geologic characteristics and to the evolution of the thrust units. In this structural-stratigraphic context, the main exploration target is represented by the fractured carbonate units of the Apulian Platform, which contains the largest and deepest oil fields in the region. The proved reservoir, source and cap rocks in the region are respectively the Mesozoic-Cenozoic carbonates of the Apulian Platform, the associated Albian shaly limestone, and the middle late Pliocene shale of the autochthonous pre-Bradano unit. Oil traps are faulted anticline whose depths range from 3000 to 5000m below sea level and inverted fault blocks.

The report integrates available geological and geophysical subsurface data, stratigraphy and tectonic published information related to the Southern Apennines Geology and to the Apulian Carbonates and outcrop data, collected by research projects carried out by GEPlan in this area.

In addition, the report provides an assessment of the areas where existing play types have not been adequately evaluated together with ideas for future exploration of newer play types which are currently poorly understood by the petroleum industry .

The offshore part of the Thrust belt has not been properly explored for HC and only recently, the offshore has been opened for further exploration activity. The opening up of the Gulf of Taranto offers the opportunity to extend existing and new plays into this region following the structural trends already proved.

southern apennines