Sirte Basin

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The Sirte Basin is a late Mesozoic and Tertiary triple junction continental rift (extensional basin) along northern Africa that was initiated during the late Jurassic Period. It borders a relatively stable Paleozoic craton and cratonic sag basins along its southern margins. The province extends offshore into the Mediterranean Sea, with the northern boundary drawn at the 2,000 meter (m) bathymetric contour. It borders in the north on the Gulf of Sidra and extends south into northern Chad.


The Sirte Basin ranks 13th among the world’s petroleum provinces, having proven oil reserves estimated at of oil equivalent (36.7 bbl, 37.7 tcf of gas, 0.1 bbl of NGL), an amount that constitutes 1.7% of the world’s known oil reserves. The basin consists of one dominant total petroleum system, known as the Sirte-Zelten.

The Late Cretaceous Sirte Shale is the primary hydrocarbon source bed. Reservoirs range in rock type and age from fractured Precambrian basement, clastic reservoirs in the Cambrian-Ordovician Gargaf sandstones, and Lower Cretaceous Nubian Sandstone to Paleocene Zelten Formation and Eocene carbonates usually in the form of bioherms.

Hydrocarbon generation commenced about 50 million years ago (Ma) in the deeper basins, about 40 Ma in many other areas, and may continue to the present day. Geothermal gradients generally range from to ; horst and grabens...
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