An integrated workflow for modeling sedimentary basins including source to sink stratigraphic forward simulations, thermal and burial evolutions and uncertainty analyses, has been designed and applied on the frontier Levant Basin in the East-Mediterranean region (model covering around 200,000 sq. km, with horizontal cells grid resolution of 5 sq. km and less than 50m thick). The objective of this workflow is to produce reasonable multi-scenario simulations and probabilistic information that can help make sound decisions for less risky hydrocarbon exploration. Alternatively, the same approach can be applied to better understand sedimentary basins for developing hydrothermal energy resources and/or carbon and energy storage elsewhere.
The keyword is "integration", and it involves a variety of numerical tools (as well as concept-thinking). Uncertainty has to be quantified ultimately, and minimized for plausible geological and physical simulations. To reach that end, a unique working environment for efficient basin analysis has to secure the following steps:
basic characterization/integration of all available geological, geophysical and geochemical data (leading to conceptual models);
sedimentary facies modeling (with stratigraphic forward numerical engines);
structural characterization and modeling (deformation, inversion and faults);
burial/thermal and petroleum systems modeling; and
uncertainty analysis and modeling (risk management).
Bridging the gap between sedimentologists, structural geologists, geochemists, petroleum geologists, and geo-modelers proved to be a must for achieving integrated concepts and thereafter numerical models.
More than 60TCF of gas have been recently discovered in the frontier, deep water, Levant Basin within a few producing and upraised fields (e.g. Tamar, Leviathan, Aphrodite, Zohr, Calypso; Figure 1). According to a 2010 USGS report, this region has 112 TCF of natural gas and 1.4 billion barrels of recoverable oil (P50 estimates). Still, data - except for seismic reflection surveys - are lacking, deterring further classical exploration. For example, calibration of numerical petroleum system models by scarce well data remains seldom possible over the whole basin.