click to view map
hide useful links
hide transport infrastructure
hide seismic lines
click to view column
hide structural environment
TOTAL-EXXON MOBIL-HEL.PE. (preferred bidder)
Forearc basins result from plate convergence. These basins are situated offshore between an outer-arc high and the mainland. These regions have not been considered important petroleum provinces, partly because low heat flow may limit thermal hydrocarbon generation. The Backstop area west of Crete bounded to the east by the Hellenides thrust-and-fold belt (Hellenides TFB) and to the west by the Mediterranean Ridge presents similar settings with the Apulian platform to the North, which is also bounded by the Hellenides TFB and the Calabrian prism to the east and the west respectively.
The area does not have conventional forearc geometry and it is covered by a thick salt blanket that conceals an older mountain chain. This chain of limestones and clastic rocks is characterized by many highs. Some of these highs probably underwent subaerial exposure or developed Mesozoic pre-salt build-ups. In some cases, the post-Messinian-salt sediments could also act as reservoirs, a petroleum model that was studied and tested in other forearc settings.
Multichannel seismic data, acquired in 2012, exhibit bright spots in these carbonate build-ups probably associated with gas-bearing sediments. Amplitude versus offset analyses will be necessary for gas exploration, while modelling will help in evaluating thermal hydrocarbon generation. Heat flow ranges between 40 and 60 milliWatts per sq. m. (mW/m2). Palaeozoic mudstones and shallow-marine carbonates, Cretaceous shales and Neogene sapropels and mudstones are three possible source rocks where oil and gas generation is possible within the main depocenters of the basin where deep burial (>5 km) can compensate for low heat flow.