Sie sind auf Seite 1von 17

OIL AND GAS POTENTIAL - OFFSHORE SOUTHERN ITALY

J ack Holton, Wavetech Geophysical, Inc., Denver


Oil and Gas Journal, Vol. 97, No. 48, 49, 51 (1999)
Opportunities for exploration and production by international companies in Italy will expand dramatically in the
next few years, the result of recent changes in Italian law, rapidly increasing demand and the interest generated by
several very large oil discoveries in southern Italy during the last decade.

Membership in the European Union has necessitated changes in Italian law, opening a number of formerly
restricted industries to outside investment and participation. Several recent articles in industry publications (OGJ ,
Sept. 6, 1999) have highlighted regulatory changes that have opened Italy's gas and power generation industries to
participation by foreign companies. In addition, Italy's dependence on imported oil and natural gas is expected to
increase significantly over the next ten years. Forecasts indicate that the proportion of Italian gas demand satisfied
by imports will rise from 66% in 1997 to 90% by 2010. Over the same period, imports will also account for over
90% of the crude oil consumed in Italy. These changes are expected to result in substantial new opportunities for
foreign companies in all aspects of Italy's energy sector.

The increasing need for hydrocarbons has resulted in a more attractive climate for exploration in Italy, especially in
areas which remain relatively unexplored. In light of the very large reserves discovered in the lightly explored
southern Apennines over the past decade (>1.0 BBOE recoverable), attention is now concentrated on southern
Italy. This article summarizes the petroleum geology of Italy and Sicily and examines the potential of the virgin
deep water areas offshore of the southern coast on the basis of new regional seismic.

HISTORY

The level of hydrocarbon exploration in Italy and Sicily has remained quite modest since the first hydrocarbon
exploration well was drilled in 1895. This was especially true through the first five decades of exploration. At the
end 1951 the total number of wells that had been drilled in the country stood at only 359. The early part of the
1950's saw a substantial increase in the exploration for hydrocarbons, as the Italian economy recovered from the
destruction of World War Two. The total number of exploration and development wells drilled for hydrocarbons
increased from 13 during 1951, to 101 in 1957 (Figure 1).


A variety of reasons can be cited for the historically low levels of activity in Italy. Most important is undoubtedly
the relative complexity of its geology. Due to its location at the margin of several different plate and tectonic
regimes, Italy's geology ranks among the most complex and interesting in Europe. However, for the same reasons
its structure, stratigraphy and petroleum potential remain some of the least understood, especially that of the
Mesozoic carbonate section of the southern Apennines.

During the 1970's a very limited drilling program resulted in the discovery of a few modest Mesozoic fields in the
southern Apennines. Further exploration was curtailed by the poor quality of seismic data in the area, the result of
the rough topography and complex, thrusted subsurface geology. However, improved seismic techniques, including
3D, resulted in the discovery of a major new oil province in the Val D'Agri area of the southern Apennines in 1989.
At least four large fields have been discovered in the area so far. Total recoverable reserves for three of the fields
(Monte Alpi, Monte Enoch and Cerro Falcone) are estimated at 600 MMBOE. Those for the fourth, Tempa Rossa,
are estimated at 420 MMBOE.

The discovery of the large Val D'Agri oil fields, in combination with large gas fields discovered previously in
southern Italy (Luna field, 1.3 TCF) suggested that the virgin deep water areas to the south could also hold the
potential for large discoveries. It was not until the recent development of deep water drilling technologies that
exploration in those waters was feasible. In addition, prior to late 1998 seismic coverage in the area south of Italy
was limited to a few scattered lines acquired by various organizations for academic purposes. These data were
generally of insufficient quality and extent to be useful in evaluation of the hydrocarbon potential of the area.
Therefore, in order to provide a regional grid of modern seismic data for evaluation of the deep water areas, during
late 1998 Wavetech Geophysical and Fugro-Geoteam acquired 3,350 km of high fold, long offset seismic data
(Figure 2). That data set provides the basis for the ideas presented here.
CURRENT OIL AND GAS DEMAND
Italy is the third largest user of hydrocarbons in Europe, behind only Germany and the UK. Government statistics
for 1997 ("Attivita di Ricerca e Coltivazione di Idrocarburi in Italia Nell'Anno 1997", Ministero Del'Industria, Del
Commercio e Del'Industria) show that Italian use of natural gas outstripped domestic production by a ratio of
almost 3:1. Natural gas consumption for 1997 was 2.045 TCF (57.9 Bm
3
), while domestic production totaled only
688 BCF (19.5 Bm
3
). From 1996 to 1997 gas demand increased by over 3%, while domestic gas production fell by
4%. The disparity between domestic supply and demand was even greater for crude oil. Italy's 1997 oil production
(44 MMBO) satisfied less than ten percent of demand.

Oil currently accounts for 56% of the energy balance in Italy, with natural gas at 27% and the remainder coal and
other fuels. This balance is expected to reverse over the next decade as the majority of Italy's oil-fired power
generation facilities are converted to natural gas. By 2010 natural gas consumption is expected to reach 3.18 TCF
per year (90 Bm
3
).
GENERAL STRUCTURE AND GEOLOGY
The general structure of southern Italy and Sicily are similar, except in orientation. Tectonic structure is dominated
by the north-northeast oriented Apennine thrust system in southern Italy, and the roughly east-west trending
Maghrebian wrench/thrust system on Sicily. Each includes four general structural zones. The oldest and highest of
these is formed by Hercynian metamorphic and magmatic rocks exposed in extensive nappes of the Calabrian zone
of northeastern Sicily and southwestern Calabria (Figure 2 and Figure 3). These rocks overlie an allochthonous
sequence of intensely deformed Mesozoic oceanic sediments and obducted ophiolites of the Liguirian nappes. The
central portion of each area is dominated by an extensive, allochthonous section of Miocene flysch, deposited in
front of and subsequently deformed by the eastward and southward advancing Apennine and Maghrebian thrust
fronts. Immediately east and south of the respective thrust fronts lies a Pliocene-Pleistocene foredeep section of
widely variable thickness. Beneath the allochthonous Miocene section lies a thick section of Triassic through Early
Miocene platform carbonates. These carbonates are allochthonous in the southern Apennines, but are
autochthonous on the Hyblean Plateau in southern Sicily and the Apulian platform of southeastern Italy.


Hydrocarbon production has been established in all of the zones except the Calabrian and Ligurian nappes.
Mesozoic carbonates are oil productive from thrust stacks of the Val D'Agri play of the south Apennines and
autochthonous platforms in southern Sicily. Allochthonous Miocene flysch sandstones produce gas and occasional
oil in eastern Italy and central Sicily. Sandstones of the Plio-Pleistocene foredeep section are the major gas
reservoirs of the Po Basin, Adriatic and along the Apennine thrust front in east-central Italy.
E
m
ilia
N
a
p
p
e
Tunisia
Tyrrhenian Sea
Sardinia
Corsica
Malta
R
o
m
a
g
n
a
N
a
p
p
e
Outer Boundary
Zones C, D, F, G
A
p
u
lia
n
P
la
tfo
rm
Hercynian metamorphic
and magmatic rocks
Ligurian Nappes
(include ophiolites)
Mesozoic basinal facies
including Lagonegro rocks
Mesozoic-Paleogene
shelf carbonates
Tertiary volcanics
and intrusives
Miocene flysch
Gas Field Oil Field
Figure 2: Geology of Italy and Siclly
2
0
0
0
m
Barbara
Complex
Villafortuna
Benevento
Val D'Agri
Fields
S Salvo
Torrente Tona
Candela
Torrente Vulgano
Luna
Nilde
Vega
Gela
Gagliano
Plio-Pleistocene
Foredeep
2000 m
2000 m
2
000
m
Vallecupa
Po Basin
Malta Escarpment
Caltanisseta
Basin
Etna
Pisticci
Apennine
Thrust Front
M
a
g
h
re
b
ia
n
T
h
ru
s
t F
r
o
n
t


Mt Etna
Caltanisseta
Basin
Pantelleria
Calabrian
Nappe
Ligurian
Nappe
Hyblean
Platform
G
e
la
N
a
p
p
e
Gela
Perla
Tyrrhenian Sea
Vega
Alexia
M
a
l
t
a

E
s
c
a
r
p
m
e
n
t
Gagliano
Malta
Nilde
Figure 3: Geology of Sicily
Hercynian metamorphic
and magmatic rocks
Ligurian Nappes
(include ophiolites)
Mesozoic basinal facies
including Lagonegro rocks
Mesozoic-Paleogene
shelf carbonates
Tertiary volcanics
and intrusives
Miocene flysch
Gas Field Oil Field
Ragusa

STRUCTURAL EVOLUTION
MESOZOIC

The structural evolution of Italy and Sicily is the product of post-Hercynian interactions between the
European and African-Arabian continents caused by differential spreading rates in the central and southern
Atlantic. During the Triassic Italy and Sicily lay just south of the Hercynian fold belt on the broad
northwest shelf of the Tethys, an area of broad carbonate platforms separated by narrow, deep-marine
troughs. The Upper Triassic section includes both extensive shelf carbonate reservoirs and important source
rock intervals, including organic rich black shales, marls and limestones. Several of the large fields of
southwestern Sicily produce heavy oil derived from Upper Triassic source rocks and reservoired in Upper
Triassic shelf carbonates.

By Middle J urassic time active spreading along the southern edge of Europe had connected the narrow
Alboran, South Penninic-Ligurian, and Dinarid-Hellenic troughs with the Tethys, leaving the shelf as a
broad promontory (Italo-Dinarid) extending north from Africa. Internally, the promontory consisted of
three broad carbonate platforms. The Apenninic platform occupied the western third of the promontory,
with the Apulian and Karst platforms to the east. The narrow troughs dividing the platforms continued to
subside during J urassic time. Deep marine shale, marl and limestone were deposited in the deep marine
Lagonegro trough between the Apenninic and Apulian platforms, as well as the smaller Molise trough,
which lay within the Apulian platform.

During the Late J urassic and Early Cretaceous, the western and central Mediterranean area underwent a
major shift in tectonic regime. Late J urassic spreading in the Central Atlantic initiated a counterclockwise
rotation of Africa with respect to Europe, along with major movements along the Azores-Maghrebian-
South Anatolian wrench system. In the central Mediterranean area the net result was a north-northeast
convergence of Africa/Arabia with Europe. By Aptian-Albian time the western portion of the Tethys had
disappeared and the northeastern Italo-Dinarid promontory was in active collision with Europe along the

Alps on the north and Hellenides on the east (Figure 19). Despite the active thrusting along the northeastern
margin of the promontory carbonate deposition continued over its western and central parts, persisting into
Lower Miocene time in a few areas.
Outcrops of Mesozoic carbonates are extensive in southern Italy and Sicily. Allochthonous Apenninic
platform carbonates are exposed along the western side of the peninsula, with allochthonous rocks of the
Lagonegro and Molise troughs in the central portion. Autochthonous carbonates of the Apulian platform
are exposed in southeastern Italy, from the Gargano Peninsula through the Apulian platform. On Sicily,
carbonate rocks of the Apenninic platform are exposed in several areas along the northwestern coast and on
the Hyblean Peninsula to the south.
A
p
e
n
n
i
n
i
c
P
l
a
t
f
o
r
m
H
e
l
l
e
n
i
d
e
s
B
a
y
o
f B
is
c
a
y
Black Sea
Karst
Apulian Platform
Iberian
Massi f
Tethys Sea
M
o
l
i
s
e

T
r
o
u
g
h
L
a
g
o
n
e
g
r
o

T
r
o
u
g
h
Pl atform
Europe
Italo-Dinarid
Promontory
Azores-S Anatolian
Fracture Zone
Alps
Africa
Sicily
Italy
Italo-Dinarid
Promontory
Carbonate
platform
Deep marine
trough
Cratonic,
Continental
Foredeep
trough
Uplift
Generalized
plate motion
CS
Figure 19: Paleocene Paleogeography


EOCENE - OLIGOCENE

Tectonics in the central Mediterranean region were dominated by the Eocene-Oligocene main phase of Alpine
orogeny, as the collision of the Italo-Dinarid promontory with Europe continued (Figure 20). Following the
Late Oligocene incorporation of the Karst platform, active consumption of the promontory by underthrusting
along the Dinarides and Hellenides nappe systems slowed. Concurrently, Apennine thrusting was initiated
along the western side of the promontory as it collided with the Corsica/Sardinia block. This fragment of the
Hercynian Spanish-French continental margin was rifted away from the continent and rotated southeastward
(counterclockwise) during the Oligocene. It collided with the west side of the Apenninic platform in the Late
Oligocene, thrusting deep oceanic sediments and ophiolites of the Ligurian Nappe eastward onto the platform.


Cratonic or
continental sed.
Carbonate
platform
Deep marine
trough
Foredeep
trough
Uplift
Generalized
plate motion
C
a
l
a
b
r
i
a
Figure 20: Upper Oligocene Paleogeography
Ionian S
ea B
asin
H
e
l
l
e
n
i
d
e
s
B
a
y
o
f B
i s
c
a
y K
a
r
s
t
Iberian
Massi f
Europe
Africa
Sicily
Italy
A
p
e
n
n
i
n
i
c
Cyrenica
Pl atform
Apulian Platform
Pelagian
Shelf
Alps
(
L
a
g
o
n
e
g
r
o

T
r
o
u
g
h
)
CS

LOWER-MIDDLE MIOCENE

Following the collision of the Corsica/Sardinia block and Apenninic platform convergence was replaced by
a period of active back-arc spreading in the southern Tyrrhenian Sea. The Corsica/Sardinia block retreated
largely intact, but left one fragment permanently accreted to the western edge of Apenninic platform. The
Hercynian metamorphic and magmatic rocks of this fragment form the Calabrian Nappe of southernmost
Italy and northeastern Sicily (Figure 3).

Thrusting continued in the Apennines throughout the Miocene, producing successive nappes of Ligurian,
Apenninic and Lagonegro rocks. Ahead of the advancing thrust sheets, a thick wedge of Miocene
(Numidian) flysch sediments were deposited in the foredeep created in the eastern part of the Lagonegro
basin.
UPPER MIOCENE

During Late Miocene time the continuing rotation of Africa-Arabia progressively narrowed the connection
of the Mediterranean area with the Tethys (Figure 21). With the eventual collision of the Arabian plate with
southern Europe, and Spain with Africa at Gibraltar, all connections between the Mediterranean and the
open marine waters were severed. This restriction of marine circulation, coupled with the tectonic
highlands that surrounded the Mediterranean, resulted in the deposition of the Messinian evaporite
sequence. Thick sections of Messinian evaporites were deposited in the Algero-Provencal, Tyrrhenian and
Ionian-Levantine basins, along with lesser amounts in various local depocenters. These local depocenters
often included "piggyback" basins on the back of the advancing thrust front. Such was the case in southern
Sicily, where thick Messinian evaporites have been mined commercially for decades in the Caltanisseta
basin. Evaporite deposition ended with a major Early Pliocene transgression and the return of deep waters
and normal salinities to the region.

Cratonic or
continental sed.
Carbonate
platform
Deep marine
trough
Foredeep
trough
Uplift
Generalized
plate motion
D
in
a
r
id
e
s
Pyrenees
CS
Sicily
Italy
Ionian Sea Basin
B
a
y
o
f
B
i s
c
a
y
Iberian
Massi f
Europe
Africa
Cyrenica
Platform
Pelagian
Shelf
Alps
H
e
l
l
e
n
i
d
e
s
Figure 21: Upper Miocene Paleogeography


PLIOCENE AND LATER

Early Pliocene rocks are dominated by deep water facies, including diatomaceous shales and marls. At the
conclusion of Early Pliocene time the Lagonegro and Miocene flysch sections were thrust eastward over
the western edge of the Early Pliocene foredeep and the western part of the Apulian platform. Significant
thicknesses of Upper Pliocene and Quaternary rocks are largely confined to the resulting foredeep, with
only a thin cover in other offshore areas.

Large scale vertical movements along the margins of the Malta-Hyblean and Apulian platforms probably
began during Late Miocene time, with the initial foundering of the central portion of the survey area
between the two platforms. Even greater subsidence along the platform bounding normal fault systems was
reserved for Late Quaternary time, where the faults underlie the present bathymetric escarpments.

OIL AND GAS FIELDS

The oil and gas fields of Italy and Sicily produce a variety of oil and gas types, from a wide range of traps. The
major oil and gas fields of Italy can be divided into four general structural/stratigraphic settings. These zones,
which extend from west to east in the Apennine system and from north to south in the Maghrebian, consist of
the internal zone of the Apennine thrust system, the external zone of the Apennine and Maghrebian thrust
systems, the Plio-Pleistocene foredeep and the Mesozoic carbonate foreland.
INTERNAL ZONE - APENNINE THRUST SYSTEM

The western (internal) portion of the Apennine system is composed of stacked, imbricate thrust sheets
containing rocks ranging in age from Late Triassic to Upper Miocene. Oil and gas fields have been
discovered in allochthonous Mesozoic carbonates throughout the length of the system. The northernmost
fields of the internal zone are Gaggiano and Villafortuna, located just south of the intersection of the
Apennine system with the Alps. Gaggiano and Villafortuna produce light oil (34-42
o
API) from thrusted
Middle Triassic dolomites, at depths of 4,650-6,200 m. Villafortuna, discovered in 1984, is currently Italy's
most productive oil field (60,000 BOPD).
During the last decade attention has also been focused on the internal zone of the southern Apennines. The
discovery of several fields containing light to medium gravity oil during the 1970's sparked initial interest
in the area. These fields, including Castelpagano (31
o
API, 1971) and Benevento (46
o
API, 1973), are
productive from stacked sections of allochthonous Mesozoic carbonates (Figure 5). However, further
progress was hampered by the poor quality of seismic data in the region, the result of rough topography and
the structural complexity of the subsurface. Improved seismic techniques, including 3D, led to the first
discovery in the prolific Val D'Agri area in 1988. To date at least four major fields have been discovered in
the area, Tempa Rossa (1988), Monte Apli (1988), Monte Enoch (1994) and Cerro Falcone (1992). These
fields are characterized by high flow rates (3,000 - 12,000 BOPD) and large oil columns (600-1,000 m).
The total recoverable reserves for the four fields are estimated at 1.02 BBOE. The Val D'Agri fields are
discussed in more detail later in this article.

Allochthonous Miocene (flysch) sandstones are also productive within the internal Apennine system. They
form reservoirs for light oil, gas and condensate fields in the Emilian and Romagna nappes, along the
southern edge of the Tertiary Po basin of northern Italy.
Cretaceous-Paleogene
Carbonates
U Triassic-Jurassic
Carbonates
Figure 5: Internal Zone, Apennines (Val D'Agri Oil Play)
West
East
Miocene flysch


EXTERNAL ZONE - APENNINE AND MAGHREBIAN THRUST SYSTEMS

Fields of the external zone are dominantly gas productive, but also include several oil and condensate
fields. The main reservoirs are allochthonous Miocene flysch and Lower-Middle Pliocene foredeep
turbidite sandstones.

The largest field of the external zone is Luna (Figure 7), a gas field that along the west side of the Gulf of
Taranto in southernmost Italy. The field contains large reserves of dry gas in sandstones, which lie at or
immediately above the top of the allochthonous Miocene flysch section. The structure is the product of both
Upper Miocene and Lower Pliocene movements. A thin section of Messinian evaporites is present on the
flanks, but is absent over the crest of the Luna structure, the result of Early Pliocene uplift and erosional
truncation of the Messinian. Lower Pliocene shales, possibly olistostromal, provide the seal.
Gas Oil
Miocene flysch
U Pliocene-Pleistocene
Messi nian
Evaporites
L Pl iocene
Figure 7: Luna Gas Field, Apennine External Zone
West East

The gas from Luna is dry (99% methane) and biogenic in origin. The field was discovered in 1971 and
currently includes 35 wells. Initial recoverable gas reserves were estimated at 1.3 TCF. During the four
year period from 1994 to 1997 gas production from offshore Zone D (which consists only of Luna and
several small nearby fields) was 348 BCF, and remained stable during 1998 at 70 BCF.

Gas fields with allochthonous Miocene reservoirs of the external zone of the Apennine thrust system are
common throughout the length of the Italian peninsula. The gas from most of these fields is dry and
biogenic, although the presence of heavier hydrocarbons in a few areas probably indicates limited mixing
with thermogenic gases.
The Apennine system of peninsular Italy is replaced by the regional Maghrebian wrench-thrust system on
Sicily. The Maghrebian system extends southwest from Sicily through Tunisia and westward across
northern Africa to the Atlantic. The external zone of the Maghrebian thrust belt contains several significant,
structurally trapped fields in north-central Sicily, as well as offshore to the west of the island. The largest
onshore field is Gagliano, which contains gas, condensate and light oil in allochthonous Miocene flysch
sandstones at depths of 2,800-3,000 m (Figure 8). Offshore, Nilde field produces 39
o
API oil from highly
productive Middle Miocene organic limestones, at rates of up to 10,000 BOPD.
PLIOCENE-PLEISTOCENE FOREDEEP

Pliocene and younger sandstones of the foredeep contain the majority of Italy's proved gas reserves. Most
of these reserves are currently located in the north-central Adriatic and Po basin of northern Italy. During
1998, production from four of the larger offshore fields (Barbara, Angela, Porto Garibaldi and Agostino)
totaled more than 270 BCF. The dry, biogenic gases lie in both stratigraphic and structural traps. Reservoirs
range from turbidite sandstones to gravel. Several of the larger fields of the north-central Adriatic and
central Italy are described below.

The large Barbara, N Barbara and NE Barbara gas field complex was discovered in 1971 in the north-
central part of the Adriatic. A total of 112 productive wells have been drilled to date. Gas production is
from an Upper Pliocene sandstone at an average depth of 1,400 m. The trap is a simple low relief (less than
100 m) structure draped over a broad uplift in the underlying Mesozoic foreland.

Onshore in central and southern Italy, South Salvo, Torrente Vulgano and Pisticci fields produce gas from
Lower and Middle Pliocene foredeep sandstones. South Salvo is stratigraphically trapped by the updip
pinchout of multiple Pliocene sandstones, which are overlain by approximately 800 m of allochthonous
Miocene flysch. The field includes 74 productive wells, with an average depth of 1,200 m. In addition to
Pliocene gas, Pisticci field also contains heavy oil in autochthonous foreland carbonates along the western
side of the field (Figure 6).
Gas
Oil
Miocene flysch
Miocene-Cretaceous
carbonates
Figure 6: Pisticci Field, Apennine External Zone
West East
Pli ocene-Pl eistocene


At least two fields, Torrente Tona and Candela, produce both light oil (40
o
API) and gas from Middle and
Upper Pliocene foredeep reservoirs along the east coast of central Italy. At Torrente Tona, sandstones and
limestones are stratigraphically trapped by updip olistostromes derived from the eastern south Apennines.
MESOZOIC CARBONATE FORELAND

Several large oil fields have been discovered in the relatively undisturbed platform carbonates of the
Mesozoic foreland of southern Italy and Sicily, both on and offshore. Onshore, the fields are overlain by
various thicknesses of allochthonous Miocene flysch and in some cases a thin section of Plio-Pleistocene
sediments. Offshore the allochthonous Miocene section is generally absent and the Mesozoic foreland
sequence is overlain by sediments of the Plio-Pleistocene foredeep.
Sicily's largest oil field, Gela, is located along the southwestern coast of the island, on a broad anticline in
the autochthonous foreland section (Figure 9). Productive Upper Triassic shelf carbonates are overlain and
sealed by organic-rich black shales of the Triassic Streppenosa formation and Cretaceous-Eocene basinal
limestones. The southern feather-edge of the allochthonous, olistostromal Gela Nappe and a thin interval of
Plio-Pleistocene sediments cap the section.

Gela was discovered in 1956 and includes 104 productive wells. Depth to the reservoir averages
approximately 3,300 m. Gela oil is the heaviest (10
o
API) produced from the foreland fields of southern
Sicily. All of the oils of the area are characterized by relatively low gravity oils (15-21
o
API) and a
significant sulfur content. Ragusa field, second to Gela in size, produces 19
o
API oil with a sulfur content
of 2%. Studies indicate that the relatively heavy oils of southern Sicily are immature, the result of a low
thermal gradient and the early expulsion of hydrocarbons from organic rich Upper Triassic shales. Only
Gela oils are believed to be additionally biodegraded.


Perla field is located offshore, just south of Gela. The reservoir lies at the top of an interval of Lower
J urassic shelf limestones (Siracusa formation) at depths of slightly less than 3,000 m. The reservoir is
overlain and sealed by marls and evaporite, and underlain by rich source rocks of the Streppenosa shale.
Further to the south Vega field produces similar oils (15-21
o
API) from the same stratigraphic level.
THE VAL D'AGRI OIL PLAY

The Val D'Agri fields, Tempa Rossa, Monte Alpi, Monte Enoc, Cerro Falcone and Costa Molina (Figure 4) rank as
some of the largest in Europe. The total proved recoverable reserves for the four fields are estimated at 1.02 BBOE
(AGIP, 1998). Production from Monte Alpi, Monte Enoc, Cerro Falcone and Tempa Rossa fields is expected to
reach 165,000 BOPD by 2002. Oil will be transported via a new pipeline (to be completed in 2001) to a refinery
and marine oil terminal at Taranto.
Tempa D'Emma 1
1998
Tempa Rossa 1
1989
Gorgoglione1
1997
Tempa Rossa 2
1991
Perticara 1
1997
Cerro Falcone 1, 1A, 1B
1992, 1992, 1999
Cerro Falcone 2, 2A, 2B
1996, 1996, 1997
Volturino 1
1998
Caldarosa 1,1A,1Ast
1986,1989,1997
ME Ovest 1
1998
ME NW1, 1A
1992, 1996
Monte Enoc 1
1994
Alli 1
1998
MAOvest 1
1994
MANord 3
1992
MA2
1991
MonteAlpi 1
1988
CMW1
1993
Costa Molina 1
1981
CM2
1983
CM3
1988
MAEst 1
1996
MA3
1993 MA4
1992
MA5
1996
Monte Al pi
Fiel d
Monte Enoc
Fi eld
Tempa Rossa Fi eld
(420 MMBOE)
Cerro Falcone
Fi eld
Figure 4: Val D'Agri Area Wells
Tempa Del Vento
Perticara
Cerro Falcone
Monte Alpi
Gorglione
Tempa D'Emma Caldarossa
Total
600 MMBOE

Val D'Agri wells are productive from multiple zones in a variety of carbonate facies, with oil columns of 600-1,000
m. Although the specific type and character of the zones varies, in general the reservoir properties of the productive
limestones and dolomites are excellent. The reservoirs include dolomites and leached, sometimes karstic, vuggy
limestones. The section is also characterized by large, open fracture systems. Flow rates in the recent South
Apennines oil discoveries range from 3,000-12,000 BOPD, plus associated gas. The produced oils display a wide
range of gravities, from 17-46
o
API, but most commonly cluster from 32-37
o
.
Tempa Rossa Field
Tempa Rossa was discovered in 1988 by a group of companies headed by Petrex. To date six wells have
been drilled in the field, including the Tempa Rossa 1, 1A and 2; Tempa D'Emma 1; Gorgolione 1; and
Perticara 1. All of the wells are oil productive from Miocene through Cretaceous limestones and dolomites.
The oil column in the field is estimated at 1000 m gross and 700 m net. Proved recoverable reserves are
estimated at 420 MMBOE, with associated gas forming about 7% of the total (AGIP, 1998). Production is
expected to reach 45,000 BOPD by 2002.



Tests rates range up to 8,038 BOPD and long term test results from at least two wells have been published.
The #2 well produced a total of 116,000 BO (17o API) during a 135 day test, at an average rate of 1,220
BOPD. The test produced no water and produced no decrease in reservoir pressure. A 1992 sidetrack of the
#1 well tested oil rates of over 7,600 BOPD (17-22
o
API) and had produced over 500,000 BO through
December 1996 during "test" production. As of the end of 1996 the well was producing at a rate of 3,700
BOPD.
Monte Alpi Field

Monte Alpi was discovered in 1988 by a group headed by Fina Italiana. The field currently consists of 9
wells (all productive), including the Monte Alpi 1, 2, 3, 4, 5; Monte Alpi Est, Nord and Ovest wells; and
the Volturino 1. Oil (30-37
o
API), with associated gas, is produced from Upper Cretaceous limestone and
dolomite reservoirs. The oil column is 1,060 m gross and 702 m net. Oil flows (constrained by gas flaring
restrictions) range up to 6,793 BOPD. The production of 45,000 BOPD is projected for the field by 2000.
Monte Enoc Field

Monte Enoc was discovered in 1994 and currently consists of 8 wells, all of which are oil productive (30-
37
o
API), including the Monte Enoc 1, 2, 3 and 9; Monte Enoc NW 1 and 1A; Monte Enoc Ovest 1; and
Alli 1A). Oil flows (constrained by gas flaring restrictions) range up to 7,717 BOPD.
Cerro Falcone Field

Cerro Falcone consists of 6 wells, all oil productive, drilled between 1992 and 1997. Oil (32-36
o
API) has
been tested at rates of up to 6,600 BOPD, along with significant volumes of associated gas (up to 4.4
MMCF/D). The field produces from Miocene to Cretaceous carbonate reservoirs, with an oil column of 760
m.

A total of 42 production wells are currently planned for Monte Alpi, Monte Enoch and Cerro Falcone
fields. Eighteen of these have been completed, with four wells currently on production. Production is
expected to peak at 120,000 BOPD in 2002. Total recoverable reserves for the three fields are estimated at
600 MMBOE, of which approximately 12% is associated gas (AGIP, 1998).
SOURCE ROCKS AND HYDROCARBON TYPES

The oil and gas fields of southern Italy and Sicily contain a wide variety of hydrocarbon types, all of which are
believed to have been generated within three general source rock intervals.
Mesozoic oil-prone carbonates
Miocene oil and wet gas prone clastics of the syntectonic flysch sequence
Pliocene-Quaternary foredeep clastics
The large volumes of heavy oil discovered in carbonate reservoirs of the Mesozoic foreland can be traced to the
development of organic-rich carbonates in the narrow troughs between the Mesozoic carbonate platforms. These
include black shales and marls of the Upper Triassic-Lower J urassic Streppenosa Shale and Noto Formation of
Sicily, and the Upper Triassic Meride Limestone of northern Italy. The oils generated from these intervals are
relatively heavy (11-22
o
API), contain significant amounts of sulfur and are thought to be thermally immature.

Moderate to light oils (25-40
o
, no significant sulfur) have been found in Miocene and Pliocene reservoirs in
scattered fields of the Italian peninsula, and in the allochthonous Mesozoic carbonates of northern Italy
(Villafortuna field) and the Val D'Agri trend of the southern Apennines. The characteristics of these oils indicate
that they originated in source rocks within the Miocene flysch section, although specific intervals have yet to be
identified.


Analysis of the gases found in Miocene, Pliocene and Quaternary reservoirs, including the fields of the Po Basin
and Adriatic, indicates that over 80% are biogenic in origin, derived from terrestrial organic matter in the abundant
clays of the foredeep section.
OFFSHORE POTENTIAL
The new seismic data indicate that all three of Italy's major productive sequences are present and prospective in the
deep water areas offshore. No direct well ties were available for this interpretation, but the overall sequences can be
identified on the basis of their character and relationship to the timing well established structural movements. The
seismic figures included here have been selected to illustrate several of the general sedimentary and tectonic
provinces within the area of the survey. In deference to the original survey subscribers, the location of the specific
portions of the seismic data shown in the figures is described only generally.

The area extending from the southern coast of Italy to roughly the 2,000 m bathymetric contour is characterized by
thick Miocene and Pliocene sections and large scale thrusting which extends into the Mesozoic carbonate section.
Two different periods of compression are evident. The earliest, probably Late Messinian to Early Pliocene in age,
involved Mesozoic through Messinian rocks in moderately high angle thrusts (Figure 10). The relief produced by
these movements resulted in large thickness variations in the post Lower Pliocene section and a prominent
unconformity over the crest of some of the structures (Figure 11). The steep slopes also resulted in the development
of large Pliocene slump related depositional structures like those shown in Figure 12. A second period of
compression began in Late Pliocene time and is expressed in vertical offsets in the current sea floor (Figure 13). It
included both reactivation of earlier faults and the introduction of large scale, low-angle thrusting.

The sections shown in Figures 10, 11 and 12 include a number of potential prospective structures at various
stratigraphic levels. Thrusted Mesozoic carbonates and Miocene flysch reservoirs may be prospective for light oil
and gas on the large structures shown in Figures 10, 11 and 13. The Pliocene depositional features of Figure 12 may
hold large reserves of dry gas and the thrusted anticline to the right may be prospective at all three levels.
Large structures dominated by normal faulting (Figure 14) or by a combination of normal and high-angle reverse
faulting (Figure 15) are also present in the area. Such an association of normal and reverse faulting strongly
suggests that the latter is wrench related. These structures may also hold potential in all three of the major
productive sections.

Figure 16 shows an especially intriguing feature from the eastern part of the area. A pronounced unconformity tops
the large horst block in the left center of the section. Subsequent uplift of the block produced several hundred
milliseconds of relief at the unconformity surface.

1.0 sec
Miocene
Pliocene
Mesozoic
N S
Figure 10: Late Messinian age high-angle reverse faulting, offshore Italy
42 km



1.0 sec
Miocene
Pliocene
Mesozoic
25 km
SW NE
Figure 11: Mid-Pliocene unconformity over structural crest, offshore Italy


1
.
0

s
e
c
35 km
N S
Figure 12: Upper Pliocene Depositional Structures, Offshore Italy
Pliocene
Miocene
Mesozoic
Carbonates



Miocene
Pliocene
1.0 sec
30 km
N S
Figure 13: Late Pliocene Thrusting, Offshore Italy



1
.
0

s
e
c
52 km
SW NE
Miocene
Mesozoic ?
Pliocene
Figure 14: Pliocene normal-fault dominated uplift, offshore Italy



Miocene
Pliocene
1.0 sec
30 km
Figure 15: Possible wrench faulting, offshore Italy
SW NE


1.0 sec
Unconformity
25 km
W E
Figure 16: Large horst block topped by unconformity, offshore Italy


A second distinct province within the survey area is shown in Figure 17. The stratigraphic section consists of thin
Plio-Pleistocene interval, thick section of Miocene without internal reflectors, and a relatively undisturbed
Mesozoic foreland section. Within the central part of the survey area the province is confined to a relatively narrow,
north-south band just east of the faults of the Malta Escarpment. In the southern part of the area however, it appears
to extend much farther to the east.
The section is notable both for the lack of reflections from within the thick Miocene section and for the presence of
the undisturbed foreland section in an area east of the Malta Escarpment. It most probably represents an area of
early foundering of the eastern margin of the Malta-Hyblean platform. The Miocene section may be allochthonous,
although it is not clear. The lack of internal reflectors suggests that it may be internally olistostromal, similar to
allochthonous Miocene section of the adjacent Caltanisseta basin of southern Sicily.

Messinian
Miocene
Flysch
Pliocene
Mesozoic
Carbonates
1.0 sec
42 km
W E
Figure 17: Miocene flysch over autochthonous foreland carbonates,
adjacent to Malta escarpment, offshore Italy-Sicily


In the offshore areas to the south and east of the Maghrebian and Apennine thrust fronts, the Malta-Hyblean and
Apulian platforms are overlain by relatively thin sections of Plio-Pleistocene sediments. Anticlines controlled by
modest normal faulting form structural traps for the large oil fields of southern Sicily. Figure 18 shows a strike line
over a large undrilled structure on the Malta-Hyblean platform. The feather edge of allochthonous Miocene-Lower
Pliocene rocks can be seen at the left end of the section. If structurally closed the feature would be highly
prospective for oil.
Miocene
Plio-Pleist.
Mesozoic
Carbonates
NW
SE
70 km
Figure 18: Malta-Hyblean Platform
1.0 sec

CONCLUSIONS

Ready markets, abundant infrastructure and recent legal changes should make Italy an attractive area for future
exploration, especially in the southern Apennines. The new seismic data, upon which this assessment is based,
indicate that all three of the major onshore producing sections are also present offshore, along with substantial
numbers of large structures.