The objectives of this proposal are to study the shaping mechanisms behind gas seepage and slope stability in the Levantine basin (eastern Mediterranean), and to understand the geological forces shaping and controlling sedimentary basins under similar conditions. Fluid escape features and mass transport deposits are common in hydrocarbon-prone basins. Thus, studying the relationship between these features in the Levantine basin is crucial for hazard assessment and risk mitigation for safe hydrocarbon recovery.
Massive hydrocarbon reservoirs have recently been discovered in the, up to now, under-explored Levantine basin. Wells and boreholes show high quality gas trapped in lower Miocene sandstones at water depths over 1500 m. The estimated amount of gas in place for these fields is world class: with 25 trillion cubic feet. These giant sub-Messinian salt gas discoveries in the Levantine basin were considered, at the time of their finding, the largest of the last decade, thus bringing the eastern Mediterranean into the limelight. Israel’s energy sector is set to undergo significant changes that could transform the country into an exporter of natural gas. Increasing numbers of offshore constructions including undersea pipelines and oil rigs in relation to the development of these hydrocarbon reservoirs, require detailed hazard assessments. Gaining reliable data about frequency, causes and consequences of mass movements and their interplay with gas seepage is imperative prior to successful recovery and development of these fields.
The presence of fluid flow signatures piercing deep Messinian salt layers and reaching shallower depths requires the implementation of a comprehensive geological study of the Levantine basin based on the interpretation of 2D and 3D surveys, coupled by information retrieved from boreholes and sedimentary cores. This exercise serves as a solid basis to understand the mechanisms controlling slope stability in hydrocarbon-prone sedimentary basins.
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