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Relation between petroleum accumulations and hydrogeothermics in Tunisia

Relation between petroleum accumulations and hydrogeothermics in Tunisia

ETAP's Memoir Series 5(Pages 1-47

The possibility that positive geothermal anomalies and hydrocarbon occurrences in deep sedimentary basins are genetically related to formation-water flow has been suggested by various authors in recent years. These suggestions have been corroborated by several studies in the central and the Saharan parts of Tunisia. In Central Tunisia, 8 of 10 known major accumulations are located within a region of positive geothermal gradient anomalies ranging from 35 degrees to 45 degrees C/Km. At a larger scale and for the whole Tunisia, it is noteworthy that temperature gradients are relatively low in the older reservoirs (25 degrees to 30 degrees C/km for Paleozoic fields), while they are high in the Tertiary fields (52 degrees C/km). The Douleb (Aptian) and Sidi Lytaiem (Ypresian) fields are located in areas of formation-water convergence and discharge. Other areas of flow convergence have been recognized from hydrogeological studies but their oil-potentials have not yet been assessed. In the Saharan region, including parts of Algeria, background heat flux is approximately 80 mWm-2, whereas the actual values range between 60 and 140 mWm-2. The anomalies appear to be due to regional formation-water flow, with the low values being associated with recharge areas (Algerian Tinrhert and High Plateaux), and the high ones with discharge areas (Tunisian Jeffara and Algerian Reggane). The hydraulic perturbation of the normal heat flux is estimated to be on the order of 10 to 20 mWm-2. The main vehicle for the transport of both heat and oil appears to be, therefore, regional formation-water flow. The role of the water in thermal perturbation is clearly demonstrated by the shallow geothermal studies showing that discharge zones are characterized by shallow hot water, high apparent geothermal gradient and low topography. While recharge zones are characterized by shallow cold water, low apparent geothermal gradient and high topography.

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