Positive geological and geochemical prerequisites have been identified for the purpose of increasing hydrocarbon resource potential in the under-explored study area. A methodology has been developed for assessing the hydrocarbon potential and prospecting for new promising oil and gas accumulation zones using the technology of basin modeling, provided there is a lack of initial data. A high hydrocarbon source rock generative potential and the degree of thermal maturity of the Lower Permian, Mid Carboniferous and Upper Devonian strata of the south-eastern part of the Precaspian depression have been revealed. Seismostratigraphic interpretation and geodynamic analysis were carried out and the main stages of the geodynamic evolution of the study area were reconstructed based on combination of all available geological and geophysical information, recent exploration drilling results and unpublished subsurface studies. The results of thermotectonic modelling confirm the possibility of vertical migration of hydrocarbons generated in Upper Paleozoic source rocks. A revision of the previously performed interpretation of 3D seismic data has been carried out; and for the first time, intrasalt sedimentary packages of presumably Upper Permian age have been identified as independent objects, which can be potential hydrocarbon traps.

For the Lower Permian deposits, type III kerogen predominates, which may be associated with an increase in collisional processes in the Late Paleozoic time and an active input of plant organic matter. For Mid Carboniferous sediments, type II or mixed type II / III kerogen prevails. Analysis of the evolution of thermal maturity indicates the unevenness of the entry of potential source rocks into the main zone of oil generation. For kerogen type III of the Lower Permian source rocks, the peak of oil generation falls on the Late Cretaceous. For predominantly carbonate and terrigenous-carbonate Middle Carboniferous source rocks the peak of generation falls on the Jurassic. The most buried Devonian source rocks presumably entered into the zone of wet gas generation.

The development of salt tectonics from Late Triassic to Cenozoic contributed to the vertical migration of hydrocarbons into the post-salt complex. The identified petroleum accumulations in the Upper Triassic-Jurassic stratigraphic section are mainly confined to the four-way dip structural closures above the steep flanks of salt diapirs.

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