Several wells have been drilled in the south eastern side of Tunisia but only two wells are producing. However, to better understand the petroleum system mechanism of the area, a geochemical study was performed including oil-oil and oil-source rock correlation that was proved to be an essential tool for assessing oils occurrence, source rocks characteristics, their depositional environments and their distributions. The geochemical study was followed by 1D basin modeling to better understand the petroleum system functioning of the area.

The geochemical survey is based on the analysis of a total of 214 cutting samples and 6 crude oil samples. In a first part, potential Silurian and Ordovician source rocks were analyzed by Rock Eval to characterize their petroleum potential. In the second part, DST oil samples are correlated to Silurian and Ordovician source rocks using biomarkers and light hydrocarbon fraction. Migration distances calculation was based on carbozoles and benzocarbozoles.

Rock Eval results show that Silurian Hot shales exhibit good petroleum potential with mature type II oil prone kerogen, while Ordovician Shales show poor to fair petroleum potential and contain bad preserved type II kerogen.

Geochemical correlations study proved that the Silurian Hot shales are the main source rock in the basin and excluded any contribution from the Ordovician shales.

Carbozoles and benzocarbozoles concentrations in the oils of the northern part of the area suggest close proximity to the source kitchen while oils from the southern part seem to be sourced by a kitchen located in Ghadames basin.

The 1D modeling indicates that oil and gas generation from the Silurian hot shales began in the Carboniferous at about 360 Ma and reaches the maximum generation phase in the Upper Jurassic at about 160 Ma. The Hercynian unconformity surface was the main drain of secondary migration in the basin.

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