This paper discusses the exploration potential of extensional structures in pre-Messinian formations in central Nile Delta Basin. The study aims at detailed description of extensional events and discusses the exploration potential of specific structures generated.

Particularly, structural elements of pre-Messianian sequences were partially deciphered in the past, due to quality of seismic data and spare and scarce wells drilled to these levels. The newly acquired high quality 3D seismic data has been able to improve the image underneath the pre-Messinian. This has resulted in the understanding of tectonic activity, faults system and structures developed.

Two extensional events characterize the tectonic activity in the Late Oligocene through Messinian.

First extensional event is related to onset of Gulf of Suez rifting and generate a W-E system of basement involved faults and reactivation of syn-rift hinge zone. Related structures of this extensional phase are represented by growth anticline, drag folds and rotated blocks.

The second extensional tectonic event occurred in Tortonian. The structural style corresponds to tilted and eroded fault blocks dipping to north and being aligned in a north- south direction corresponding to the main normal faults trend.

This study of the pre-Messinian extensional structures described here will have a direct impact on the exploration activities design, several important prospects being delineating among the structures developed during both extensional phases.

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