You are on page 1of 58

Petroleum system analysis of the Khatatba

Formation in the Shoushan Basin,

north Western Desert, Egypt

Mohamed Ragab Shalaby, Mohammed

Hail Hakimi & Wan Hasiah Abdullah

Arabian Journal of Geosciences

ISSN 1866-7511

Arab J Geosci

DOI 10.1007/s12517-013-1109-9


Your article is protected by copyright and all

rights are held exclusively by Saudi Society for
Geosciences. This e-offprint is for personal use
only and shall not be self-

archived in electronic repositories. If you wish

to self-archive your article, please use the
accepted manuscript version for posting on
your own website. You may further deposit
the accepted manuscript version in any
repository, provided it is only made publicly
available 12 months after official publication
or later and provided acknowledgement is
given to the original source of publication and
a link is inserted to the published article on
Springer's website. The link must be
accompanied by the following text: "The final
publication is available at


Author's personal copy

Arab J Geosci

DOI 10.1007/s12517-013-1109-9


Petroleum system analysis of the Khatatba Formation in

the Shoushan Basin, north Western Desert, Egypt
Mohamed Ragab Shalaby & Mohammed Hail Hakimi &

Wan Hasiah Abdullah

Shoushan Basin which has been evaluated and
collectively named the Khatatba-Khatatba

Received: 12 January 2013 /Accepted: 10 September


# Saudi Society for Geosciences 2013

Abstract The Middle Jurassic Khatatba Formation

is an at-tractive petroleum exploration target in the
Shoushan Basin, north Western Desert, Egypt.
However, the Khatatba petroleum system with its
essential elements and processes has not been
assigned yet. This study throws the lights on the
complete Khatatba petroleum system in the

(!) petroleum system. To evaluate the remaining

hydrocarbon potential of the Khatatba system, its
essential elements were studied, in order to
determine the timing of hydrocarbon gen-eration,
migration and accumulation. Systematic analysis of
the petroleum system of the Khatatba Formation
has identified that coaly shales and organic-rich
shales are the most important source rocks. These
sediments are characterised by high total organic
matter content and have good to excellent
hydrocarbon generative potential. Kerogen is
predominantly types IIIII with type III kerogen.
The Khatatba source rocks are mature and, at the
present time, are within the peak of the oil window
with vitrinite reflectance values in the range of 0.81
to 1.08 % Ro. The remaining hydrocarbon potential
is anticipated to exist mainly in stratigraphic traps
in the Khatatba sandstones which are characterised
by fine to coarse grain size, moderate to well
sorted. It has good quality reservoir with relatively
high poros-ity and permeability values ranging

from 1 to 17 % and 0.05 1,000 mD, respectively.

Modelling results indicated that

M. R. Shalaby

Petroleum Geoscience Department, Faculty of Science,

University Brunei Darussalam, Bandar Seri Begawan,

hydrocarbon generation from the Khatatba

source rocks began in the Late Cretaceous
time and peak of hydrocarbon genera-tion
occurred during the end Tertiary time
(Neogene). Hydrocarbon primarily migrated
from the source rock via fractured pathways
created by abnormally high pore pressures
resulting from hydrocarbon generation.
Hydrocarbon second-arily migrated from
active Khatatba source rocks to traps side via
vertical migration pathways through faults
resulting from Tertiary tectonics during period
from end Oligocene to Middle Miocene times.

M. H. Hakimi (*)

Geology Department, Faculty of Applied Science, Taiz

University, 6803 Taiz, Republic of Yemen

Keywords Khatatba Formation Petroleum

system Source rock Basin modelling

Shoushan Basin

W. H. Abdullah

Department of Geology, University of Malaya, 50603


Lumpur, Malaysia

The north Western Desert of Egypt (Fig. 1) still has

a significant hydrocarbon potential, as recent oil
and gas discoveries have suggested (Dolson et al.
2001) with as much as 90 % of oil reserves and 80
% of gas in the Western Deserts basins yet to be
discovered (Zein El-Din et al. 2001). Recent
hydrocarbon dis-coveries that have been made in
the Abu Gharadig Basin and the Shoushan Basin to
the NW are thought to have significant exploration
potential (EGPC 1992, personal communication).
The area that forms the scope of this study lies in
the Shoushan Basin, north Western Desert, Egypt
(Fig. 1). The Shoushan Basin is the most productive
basin in the north Western Desert of Egypt and has
attracted the interest of numerous researchers,
authors and oil companies. The Shoushan Basin
contains sed-iments of Jurassic and younger ages.
The presence of possible source rocks in the
Shoushan Basin occurs in the Jurassic, Cretaceous
and Palaeozoic rock units (El-Ayouty 1990; Dahi
and Shahin 1992; Ghanem et al. 1999; Khaled
1999; Sharaf 2003; El-Nady et al. 2003; Al-Sharhan
and Abd El-Gawad 2008; Shalaby et al. 2011,
2013). The Jurassic organic-rich

Author's personal copy

Arab J Geosci

sediments of the Ras Qattara and Khatatba

Formations are considered to be the most
prolific oil- and gas-prone source rocks in
the basin (Shalaby et al. 2011). The
Khatatba Formation is widespread in the
Shoushan Basin and attains a thickness
(283358 m) in the basin. The Middle
Jurassic Khatatba Formation is an
attractive petroleum exploration target
which is composed mainly of sandstone
interbedded with coals and carboniferous
shales. Hydrocarbons (oil and gas) have
accumulated in formations from Jurassic
to Cretaceous (Fig. 2). The sandstones of
the Middle Jurassic Khatatba Formation
contain some of the largest hydrocarbon,
especially gas, resources in the north
Western Desert. A few studies have been
published relating Khatatba source and
reservoir rocks (Metwalli and Pigott 2005;
Shalaby et al. 2011) but have never been
published relating completely petroleum
system of the Khatatba Formation in the
Shoushan Basin. The objective of this
study is to reconstruct the Khatatba
complete petroleum system including
analysis of source and reservoir rocks
charac-teristics, the nature of the
overburden rock, trap development and
characteristics. With the aim of helping to
evaluate the Khatatba petroleum system,
the results are incorporated into basin
modelling in order to improve our
understanding of the petroleum system
within the Khatatba Formation.

Geological setting

The stratigraphic and structural history of

the area have been studied in details, and
significant contributions have been made
by several researchers and authors in

relation to the regional geology,

sedimentology, lithostratigraphy and
tectonic evolu-tion of individual parts of
the basin and adjoining areas (e.g. Meshref
et al. 1980; Barakat et al. 1987; Sultan and
Abdulhalim 1988, personal
communication; El-Ayouty 1990; Rossi et
al. 2001; Abdou et al. 2009). The north
Western Desert of Egypt is characterized
by a Palaeozoic section overlying
crystalline base-ment, which received a
thick succession of Mesozoic and Tertiary
sediments (Zein El-Din et al. 2001). The
structural setting of the basement is
dominated by two orthogonal trends
induced by successive phases. During
Palaeozoic time, at least two phases of
major deformation produced a north to
NW trending system of block faulting and
gentle folding with marked unconformities
within the Palaeozoic section (Sultan and
Abdulhalim 1988, personal
communication). The north Western Desert
consists of a number of coastal basins (Fig.
2), which started as rifts and formed
during the early Mesozoic in association
with the opening of the Tethys. The
Shoushan Basin, the largest of the coastal
basins, is a half-graben system with a
maximum thickness of Jurassic to
Palaeogene sediments (El-Shazly 1977;
Hantar 1990). Structures of the north
Western Desert including Shoushan Basin
resulted primarily from verti-cal
movement of basement blocks and
consisted of draped over

and/or faulted anticline features.

Compressional anticlines are subordinate
and probably derive from drag folding,
related to lateral movement along
basement faults. The structures in the north
Western Desert, focusing on the Shoushan
Basin, consist mainly of parallel,
elongated, tilted fault blocks, that is, horst
and half-graben structures, with associated
erosion of the up-thrown blocks (Fig. 3).
The stratigraphy can be divided into four
unconformity-bound cycles as proposed by

Sultan and Abdulhalim (1988, personal

communication). The earliest Jurassic
cycle consists of non-marine siliciclastics
(Ras Qattara Formation), which rest
unconformably on the Palaeozoic Nubian
sandstone and are overlain by the Middle
Jurassic Khatatba Formation (Fig. 2). The
Khatatba Formation is com-posed mainly
of sandstones with organic-rich shales and
coal seams. These sediments were
deposited in a deltaic to shallow marine
environment (Keeley and Wallis 1991).
The Khatatba Formation underlies the
Upper Jurassic shallow-marine carbon-ates
of the Masajid Formation, which is capped
by the Cimmerian unconformity, recording
a period of uplift, tilting, partial erosion
and karstification of the Jurassic
succession (Keeley et al. 1990; Keeley and
Wallis 1991). The Cimmerian
unconformity separates the Masajid
Formation from the over-lying Alam El
Bueib Formation (AEB) at the base of the
next cycle, whose basal interval is
composed of Early Cretaceous shallowmarine sandstones and carbonates (units 6
and 5 of AEB). These are followed by
marine shale and a succession of massive
fluvial sandstones (units 4 and 3).
Individual sand bodies are separated by
marine shale. The sands are overlain by
the alternating sands, shales and shelf
carbonates of units 2 and 1, culminating in
the Alamein dolomite associated with the
Aptian transgression (Fig. 2). The Dahab
Shale marks the end of this cycle. The
continental and shoreline sandstones of the
Kharita Formation are overlain by the

shallow-marine and nearshore deposits of

the Bahariya Formation (Lower
Cenomanian). A marked deepening of
depositional conditions is indicated by the
G member of the Abu Roash Formation
(Upper Cenomanian). Widespread
transgression occurred dur-ing the
Turonian with deposition of the Abu Roash
members F to A (predominantly
carbonates). The unconformably overlying
Khoman Chalk Formation was deposited
only in the north Western Desert. The
cycle is terminated by an unconformity,
above which the Eocene Apollonia
Formation was deposited. The Dabaa and
Moghra formations (marine clastics) above
the Apollonia Formation are capped by the
Marmarica Limestone (Zein El-Din et al.

Samples and methods

Our knowledge of the main elements of

the Khatatba petro-leum system is
extensive, but has never been
completely integrated. Type, quality and
distribution of source and reser-voir
rocks are used to evaluate the petroleum
system of the

Author's personal copy

Arab J Geosci

Fig. 1 Location map of Mesozoic Shoushan Basin in the north Western Desert of Egypt, including studied fields

characterizing, respec-tively, the organic

richness, hydrocarbon potential of the organic

Khatatba Formation in the Shoushan Basin.

The analyses of the Middle Jurassic
Khatatba Formation are based on the
interpretation of organic geochemical,
petrographic and petrophysical data. The
geographic locations of the fields chosen for
this study are shown in Fig. 1.

Organic geochemical and petrographic


Organic geochemical and petrographic analyses

were performed on shale and coaly shale samples
from the Khatatba Formation. The analytical
methods employed includ-ed Rock-Eval
pyrolysis, total organic carbon (TOC) content,
maceral analysis and vitrinite reflectance data.
TOC and Rock-Eval pyrolysis analyses were
performed on 100 mg crushed rock sample,
which was heated to 600 C in a helium atmosphere, using a TOC module-equipped RockEval II instrument. Parameters measured include
TOC, S1, S2, S3 and temperature of maximum
pyrolysis yield (Tmax). Hydrogen index (HI) and
oxygen index were calculated as described by
earlier works (e.g. Espitalie et al. 1977 and
Peters and Cassa 1994). The pyrolysis
parameters are reported in this paper for

matter and its thermal maturity level (Espitalie

et al. 1977; Espitalie 1985; Peters and Cassa
1994). Following the Rock-Eval/TOC
analysis, some samples were selected for
further petrographic analyses and microscopic
examinations. Petrographic examinations
(kerogen composition and vitrinite
reflectance) were conducted on Khatatba
samples using a Leica CTR 6000-M
microscope with reflected white and
ultraviolet light sources and oil immersion

Petrophysical and petrographic description

The reservoir characterization study is based on

several sand-stone core plug samples from the
Khatatba Formation representing different depths
and collected from different fields in the study
area (Fig. 1). The main petrophysical parameters
considered were porosity and permeability
values. Petrographic analyses are used to study
the lithological and diagenetic char-acteristics of
the Khatatba sandstones, which also relate the
variations in porosity and permeability in the
sandstones to the nature and distribution of

different cements and their impact on reservoir

quality. Analytical techniques utilized include
thin-section petrography and scanning electron
microscopy (SEM).

Author's personal copy

Arab J Geosci

Samples selected for thin-section petrographic studies were

Fig. 2 Generalized stratigraphic sketch of north Western Desert

impregnated with blue epoxy to facilitate the recognition of

including Shoushan Basin (modified after Schlumberger 1984, 1995,

personal communication)

Modelling procedure

index area (63200 mg HC/g TOC), and some of the samples

Basin modelling has been successfully applied to some implotted at relatively higher hydrogen index (201261 mg HC/g

portant petroliferous basins in world, such as the Masila Basin

TOC) (Fig. 8). Khatatba samples that contain type III kerogen

in Yemen by Hakimi et al. (2010), Shoushan Basin in Egypt

would be expected to generate gas while the samples with

by Shalaby et al. (2011, 2013) and the Jeanne DArc Basin,

hydrogen index >200 mg HC/g TOC would generate gas and

offshore Newfoundland by Baur et al. (2011). Time/depth

limited components of liquid hydrocarbon. Both T max and

constraints for the burial and thermal history modelling are

vitrinite reflectance data indicate that the studied samples have

provided by PetroMod (1D) data for selected wells in the

reached the main stage of hydrocarbon generation (Figs. 8 and

basin. The burial history was established using the stratigraph9). Maturity does affect the hydrogen index of the samples and

ic record of the region. Burial depths and lithological charachydrocarbon generation relatively decreases hydrogen index;

teristics for stratigraphic intervals were obtained from actual

therefore, the van-Krevelen diagram would reflect the present-

borehole data: event (e.g. deposition, erosion, hiatus or nonday generation potential and not the original source rock gen-

deposition), present-day and original thicknesses, lithology of

eration potential. Depending on the kinetic model, a typical

strata and present-day depth. To assess the maturation history

type II kerogen of thermal maturity equivalent to 0.77 to

of potential source rock, we used 1D basin modelling software

1.07 % Ro has reached 30 to 80 % fractional conversions

(PetroMod from Schlumberger) to calculate the levels of

(transformation ratio) (Fig. 10). Applying this range of trans-

thermal maturity and timing of hydrocarbon generation based

formation ratio to a measured HI value of 200 mg HC/g TOC,

on the principle of the measured vitrinite reflectance (Ro)

the original HI values ranged from 285 to 680 mg/g TOC.

modelling and subsequent kinetic model.

This is supported by three lines of evidence: (a) microscopic

observations of samples enriched in relatively high liptinite

(e.g. sporinite, bituminite and amorphous) (Fig. 7df), (b)

Khatatba petroleum system

microscopic observations of high levels of bitumen staining

(Fig. 7a, b) attributed to higher thermal maturity (0.771.07 %

Source rock characteristics

Ro) and (c) good positive correlation between crude oil accu-

mulated in the Khatatba sandstones and the Khatatba source

Organic petrographic and geochemical characteristics reveal a

rock extract as suggested by El-Nady (2008). Considering the

consistent characterization of the Khatatba source rocks. Based

current state of thermal maturity and their original generative

on the statistical summary of 52 samples from the fields in the

potential, the Khatatba Formation is clearly a source rock of oil

Shoushan Basin (Fig. 1), the Middle Jurassic coaly shales and
and gas in the Shoushan Basin.

organic-rich shales of the Khatatba Formation were identified

as source rocks in the Shoushan Basin (Fig. 4). The Khatatba

Hydrocarbon generation

source rock samples have high TOC content (1.032.5 wt.%;

Fig. 5), which meet the standard as a source rock with good to
In this study, Shams Field has been selected as a representative

excellent hydrocarbon-generative potential as show in Fig. 6.

site to model the timing of hydrocarbon generation. The

Kerogen typing carried out on whole-rock samples using orhydrocarbon generation potential of Khatatba source rock is

ganic petrographic analysis revealed that the Khatatba source

defined here as the amount of hydrocarbon generated per unit

rocks consist predominantly of type III vitrinitic and a mixture

volume of source rock. The models indicate that the onset of

of types IIIII liptinitic and possess moderately to heavily

the oil window (corresponding to 0.500.60 %Ro) of the

stained with bitumen (Fig. 7ac). The liptinitic contents are

Khatatba source rocks occurred during the Late Cretaceous

sporinite, bituminite and amorphous (Fig. 7cf). Under ultra(9575 Ma; Fig. 11). The Khatatba source rock reached the

violet light excitation, distinct fluorescence intensities were

main oil window at the end of the Late Cretaceous, and the gas

observed corresponding to sporinite and unstructured organic

window occurred in the Tertiary (Fig. 11). In summary, hy-

matter (bituminite) (Fig. 7e, f). Pyrite and quartz are the main
drocarbon generation started in the Late Cretaceous (90 Ma),

inorganic components observed in these samples (Fig. 7b).

and peak hydrocarbon generation occurred during the Tertiary

Kerogen type within the Khatatba source rocks was also

(3015 Ma; Fig. 12). The models also calculated the amount

characterised by Rock-Eval pyrolysis analysis. Khatatba source

of hydrocarbon generation using geochemical data. The vol-

rocks show HI values in the range of 63261 mg HC/g TOC.

ume of hydrocarbon generated from a unit volume of source

Most of the studied samples are plotted in the low hydrogen

rock is related to the amount, type and maturity of its kerogen.

Author's personal copy

Arab J Geosci

Author's personal copy

Arab J Geosci

Fig. 3 Location map of the main Mesozoic basins in the Western Desert, showing the Shoushan Bain. The enlarged area shows the pattern of
structures and main faults in the Shoushan Basin

expel eco-nomically adequate amounts of hydrocarbon

(mainly gas and oil) (Fig. 12).

The amount of hydrocarbon generation was evaluated based

on the transformation ratio and kerogen type. The
hydrocarbon generation curves (Fig. 12) show that significant
oil generation from the Khatatba sediments started at the Late
Cretaceous (90 Ma). During the Palaeogene (3530 Ma), oil
was the main product generated with significant gas (Fig. 12).
On the other hand, the main gas generation phase in this
region can be expected after reaching the maximum
transformation ratio and occurred during the Neogene (15 Ma;
Fig. 12). Therefore, it can be concluded that the Middle
Jurassic Khatatba Formation is a good source rock in the
Shoushan Basin and has the greatest ability to generate and

Reservoir rocks

The hydrocarbons discovered in the Shoushan Basin occur

hosted in clastic and carbonate reservoir rocks within the
formations and members ranging from Lower Jurassic to
Upper Cretaceous age (Fig. 2). Based on studied Khatatba

sandstone samples, the Khatatba Formation is considered

the main reservoir rocks in the Shoushan Basin. Thinsection petrography shows that the Khatatba sandstones are
mostly quartz arenite, which composed mainly of more

than 95 % quartz with non-quartz content (Fig. 13). These

sandstones characterized by fine- to coarse-grained,
moderately to well sorted and mostly subangular to
subrounded with rare round-ed grains.

Author's personal copy

Arab J Geosci

Fig. 4 Khatatba Formation type log (Shams NE-1 well) showing the petroleum system
elements of the Khatatba Formation. Hydrocarbon-bearing reservoirs, source rock and seal
intervals are highlighted

Author's personal copy

Arab J Geosci

Fig. 5 Distribution of total organic carbon content (TOC weight percent) versus depths (in metres) for Khatatba samples in the Shoushan Basin.
Most of the samples plotted in the good to excellent source area

Based on the petrophysical analysis, the Khatatba sand-stones

have normal porosity distribution with an average values ranging
from 1 to 17 %, and measured permeability values

Fig. 6 Rock-Eval pyrolysis S2 versus total organic carbon content

(TOC weight percent), showing generative source rock potential of
the Khatatba Formation

range from 0.05 to 1,000 mD (Fig. 14). The porosity types are
predominately intergranular pores (Fig. 16a) and affected by
compaction and formation of authigenic cements and clays

Author's personal copy

Arab J Geosci

Fig. 7 Photomicrographs of macerals from Khatatba Formation under oil immersion, reflected light.
a High bitumen staining associated with vitrinite phytoclasts (VR). b Inorganic compound of pyrite
(Py) associated with clay minerals. c Liptinite (LIP) associated with vitrinite (VR) and clay
minerals. d As c with incident ultraviolet light, showing unstructured amorphous organic matter
fluorescing greenish-yellow. e High concentration of fluorescing sporinite. f Unstructured organic
matter (bituminite) fluorescing orange to yellow associated with clay minerals

(Fig. 15). The cements recognized in the

Khatatba sandstones are calcite, quartz
overgrowth, authigenic kaolinite and
pyrite (Fig. 15). Calcite is the
predominant cementing agent as
poikilitopic form and completely sealed
the effective porosity and prevents pore
fluid migration (Fig. 15b). Secondary
poros-ity is also recognized in the
Khatatba sandstones and resulted from
fracturing and dissolution of calcite
cement and unstable grains (Fig. 16bd).
Dissolution of calcite cement is the important processes that affected and increased
the porosity (Fig. 16b). The vast majority
of fractures are opening (nonmineralized), discontinuous features
oriented sub-parallel (horizontal) to
bedding with aperture widths (Fig. 16c).
The important characteristic of these
fractures is that they are typi-cally
observed open forming great pathways for
fluid move-ment. These fractures have
been noticed in some samples fully
occupied with hydrocarbon (bitumen?;
Fig. 16d). Therefore, the best reservoir
quality of the Khatatba sandstones is
characterised by medium- to coarsegrained, good sorting, with

high percentages of detrital quartz and

low percentages of matrix and
cements. Reservoir quality is also
affected by frac-turing and dissolution
of calcite cement and unstable grains
which enhance porosity and

Seals and overburden rocks

In regard to seal rocks, the carbonate

Masajid Formation is the most
important regional seal for the Khatatba
reservoir rocks in the Shoushan Basin
because of its widespread distribution
and large individual bed thicknesses
that are generally in the range of 56
103 m (Fig. 2). In contrast, the shales
and coaly shale intercalations within the
Khatatba Formation serve as good local
seals (Fig. 4). Other minor important
seal rocks are shales of the Dahab and
Abu Roash Formations and other
Tertiary rock units (Fig. 2).

The overburden within the Khatatba

petroleum system in the Shoushan
Basin is considered to include all

Author's personal copy

Arab J Geosci

Fig. 8 Hydrogen index versus

pyrolysis Tmax for the Khatatba source rock, showing kerogen

quality and thermal maturity stages

units overlying the source rock of the Middle Jurassic Khatatba

Formation (Fig. 2). Overburden rocks range from Upper Jurassic
to Tertiary, which have an influence on source rock maturation
and organic matter transformation of the Khatatba Formation.
The present burial depth of most traps occurs at depths greater
than 3,000 m and generally between 3,500 and 3,900 m. In
addition, the Shoushan Basin has a higher than average
geothermal gradient based on bottom-hole tempera-tures (>120
C; Fig. 17). This is creating corresponding level of thermal
maturity that is capable of generating an economically adequate
amount of hydrocarbons.

Trap Formation

The structural traps of the north Western Desert including

Shoushan Basin formed during Palaeozoic time resulting primarily from vertical movement of basement blocks and
consisted of block faulting and gentle folding with marked

unconformities (Sultan and Abdulhalim 1988, personal communication; Fig. 18). These traps developed during the early
Mesozoic Alpine orogenic phase (Schlumberger 1995, personal communication) synchronously with the opening of the
Tethys (El- Shazly 1977; Hantar 1990). This tectonic event
caused formation of the coastal basins including the Shoushan

Basin in the north Western Desert. The Mesozoic structural

traps were reactivated and a climax developed during the
Tertiary from the end of the Oligocene to the Middle
Miocene time (Fig. 18). The Tertiary tectonic event caused
deformation of traps formed prior to the Oligocene and led
to the formation of newly formed traps of structural,
stratigraphic and combination types (Fig. 18).

Hydrocarbon migration and accumulation

Primary migration of HC in the study area is considered to be

due to several mechanisms as described by Momper (1978)
and Kobchenko et al. (2011). Following of Momper (1978)
and Kobchenko et al. (2011), hydrocarbon migrates through
micro-fractures created by abnormal pore pressures resulting
from hydrocarbon generation. If hydrocarbon generation is
responsible for primary migration, the generated oil and residual kerogen occupies a greater volume than the immature
kerogen. This hypothesis seems to be more reliable and applicable in case of the Khatatba Formation in the study area. This
is because the Khatatba source rocks have high organic matter
content (TOC 1.032.5 wt.%) and entered the mature to late
mature stage for hydrocarbon generation (Fig. 9). This may
suggest that much of the source rock may be oil wet.

Author's personal copy

Arab J Geosci

Fig. 9 Vitrinite reflectance data versus depth for the stratigraphic units including Khatatba
Formation; a Shams 2X well and b Shams NE well

Therefore, primary migration within the

Khatatba Formation has been
interpreted to be by abnormal pore
pressures causing hydrocarbon
expulsion through micro-fractures. The
best evi-dence of abnormal pore
pressure due to hydrocarbon

generation is the presence of multiple

fractures that are ob-served in some
sandstone samples within the
Khatatba Formation (Fig. 15c, d). In
the Khatatba sandstones, the vast
majority of these fractures are open

Author's personal copy

Arab J Geosci

Fig. 10 Predicted transformation of source rock kerogens versus maturity according to the Genex model (line), at a geological heating rate of 3.3
K/Ma, compared with estimates based on source rock data. Transformation of kerogen to oil for type II Kimmeridge shale (circle symbol) and
Khatatba samples (diamond symbol) (modified after Stainforth 2009)

Fig. 15c). Some of these fractures are observed fully healed

development of the Tertiary tectonics caused not only
with bitumen (dead oil; Fig. 15d). On the other hand,
destruction of the pre-Oligocene formed traps but also

Fig. 11 Reconstructed burial history curves with hydrocarbon generation zone for the Khatatba Formation in Shams Field, Shoushan Basin
(Shalaby et al. 2011)

Author's personal copy

Arab J Geosci

Fig. 12 Calculated (cumulative model) of transformation ratios and hydrocarbon generation from the Khatatba Formation in Shams Field,
Shoushan Basin (Shalaby et al. 2011)

escape of accumulated mature hydrocarbons generated in

the Shoushan Basin. Secondary hydrocarbon migration in
the Shoushan Basin is envisioned to be largely vertical,
having occurred along normal faults upwards from the
Khatatba active source rock towards the traps (Fig. 18).

Coarse-grained quartz with good intergranular porosity (blue

colour). c Medium-grained quartz and well sorted with good
intergranular porosity (blue colour). d Well-sorted fine-grained
sandstone quartz with fairly good intergranular porosity (blue


Fig. 13 Thin section photomicrographs of Khatatba sandstones

depicting bitumen filling intergranular porosity (black colour). a, b

The name of a petroleum system contains three elements: the

name of the main productive formation, the most generative
source formation and the level of certainty. The level of

Author's personal copy

Arab J Geosci

Fig. 14 Thin section photomicrographs of sandstones in the Khatatba Formation depicting the common cements recognized in the Khatatba sandstones: a
syntaxial quartz overgrowth which eventually acts as pore-occluding phase, decreasing porosity and permeability; b calcite developed in the intergranular
pore and completely blocking the pore spaces; c authigenic kaolinite filling in the intergranular pore spaces; d SEM photomicrograph showing
intergranular pore occluding clusters of vermicular kaolinite between quartz grains

certainty is defined as genetic correlation confidence between

produced hydrocarbons or shows and active source rock pod.
There are three levels used: proved (!), hypothetical (.) and
speculative (?) depending on the level of geochemical,

geophysical and geological evidence (Magoon 2004). Based

on this study, the Khatatba sandstone is interpreted as one of
the main producing reservoirs, and the organic-rich shales of
the Khatatba Formation are the most generative source rocks

Fig. 15 Cross plot of core permeability versus porosity of the Khatatba sandstones in three fields, Shoushan Basin

Author's personal copy

Arab J Geosci

Fig. 16 Thin section photomicrographs of

Khatatba sandstones depicting: a good reservoir
quality characterized by coarse grains with
good sorting, no matrix or cements; b
dissolution of calcite cement; c

open fractures giving high possibility for

good quality reservoir and d fracture
saturated with bitumen (black colour)
indicating hydrocarbon generation and

Fig. 17 Plots of corrected bottom-hole temperatures versus depths for studied wells in the
Shams Field, Shoushan Basin (calculated (lines) and measured (symbols))

Author's personal copy

Arab J Geosci

Fig. 18 Schematic northwestsoutheast geo-seismic cross section showing two representative trapping styles and general structural style across
Shoushan Basin (modified after Al-Sharhan and Abd El-Gawad 2008)

in the Shoushan Basin. The level of certainty can be assigned

to proved (!) due to the good positive correlation between
crude oil accumulated in the Khatatba sandstones and the
Khatatba source rock extracts (El-Nady 2008). As described
in the previous sections, the name can be arranged as the
Khatatba-Khatatba (!) petroleum system. The events chart of
the Khatatba-Khatatba (!) petroleum system in the Shoushan

Basin is shown in Fig. 19. It summarizes the relationship

between the essential elements and processes of the petroleum
system. It shows that hydrocarbons originated from the
Middle Jurassic Khatatba organic-rich shales and migrated
into Khatatba sandstones. The Masajid carbonate is the most
important regional seal within the basin. The overburden that
overlies the Khatatba source rock includes Upper Jurassic

Fig. 19 Events chart of the Khatatba-Khatatba (!) petroleum system in the Shoushan Basin showing the essential elements and processes
(generation, migration and accumulation)

Author's personal copy

Arab J Geosci

oil prone) with present day HI values

between 63 and 261 mg HC/g TOC.
through to Tertiary sediments. As
mentioned, most of the structural traps
formed during the Palaeozoic and
Mesozoic time and were reactivated
during a tectonic period from the end
Oligocene to Middle Miocene time.
Burial/thermal histo-ries indicate that
generation, migration and accumulation
started in the Late Cretaceous (9590
Ma) and continues to present. PreOligocene traps were reactivated, and
new traps were formed by Tertiary
tectonic events, from the end of
Oligocene to Middle Miocene, that
coincide with mature hydrocarbon
generation, expulsion and migration.
The critical moment of the system is
decided to be the Middle Miocene,
where no major tectonic and
stratigraphic changes occurred after this

The Middle Jurassic Khatatba

sandstones were recognised to have
good reservoir quality and represent
the main produc-ing reservoir rocks in
the Shoushan Basin.

The overburden rocks include Upper

Jurassic to Tertiary strata overlying
the source and reservoir rocks of the
Khatatba Formation, ensuring that the
Khatatba Formation source rock
attained sufficient levels of thermal
maturity for hydrocarbon generation.
The carbonate rocks of the Masajid
Formation within these overburden
rocks are from the regional seals in
the basin.


Based on our study of all essential

petroleum system elements and processes
with respect to the hydrocarbon
accumulation in the Khatatba Formation,
the following conclusions can be made:

A proven petroleum system has been

identified and named as the KhatatbaKhatatba (!) petroleum system.

The Middle Jurassic Khatatba

Formation consists of coaly shales and
organic-rich shales, characterised by a
high total organic carbon content (1.0
32.5 wt.%) and containing main-ly type
III and types IIIII kerogens (gas and

Hydrocarbon traps including

structural, stratigraphic and
combination types were formed
during the Palaeozoic to Cenozoic
times, which most of the structural
traps within the basin were
reactivated and developed during the
period end OligoceneMiddle

Basin modelling has revealed that the

Khatatba source rock reached maturity
and started hydrocarbon generation
during Late Cretaceous time and
reached peak generation towards the
end of the Tertiary. Primary
hydrocarbon migrated from the
Khatatba source rock to Khatatba
sandstones via micro-fracture pathways
as a result of abnormal pressure due to
hydrocarbon generation of organic

matter. Secondary hydro-carbon

generated in the basin migrated from
the active Khatatba source rock towards
shallower traps via vertical migration
pathways through faults activated by
Tertiary tec-tonic events during end
OligoceneMiddle Miocene time.

Dahi M, Shahin AN (1992) Paleozoic rocks

distribution and hydrocarbon potential in the
Western Desert, Egypt. Paper presented at the
11th Petroleum Exploration and Development
Conference, Cairo, 1992 Dolson JC, Shann
MV, Matbiuly SI, Hammouda H, Rashed RM
(2001) Egypt in the twenty first century:
petroleum potential in offshore

trends. GeoArabia 6:211230

Acknowledgments The authors would like to
thank Khalda Oil Com-pany, Egypt for
providing the data and samples for this study.
Schlumberger (Slb) is acknowledged for
providing the PetroMod Basin Modeling
software. The authors are more grateful to the
Department of Geology, University Malaya and
Petroleum Geoscience Department, University
of Brunei Darussalam for providing facilities
and support to publish this research. Special
thanks are offered to Mr. Peter Abolins for his
helpful comments on the basin modelling.


Abdou AA, Shahata MG, Kassab MAM

(2009) Petrography and proba-ble reservoir
potentiality of subsurface Jurassic rocks at
Abu Gharadig Basin and Shoushan Subbasin, North Western Desert, Egypt. Aust J
Basic Appl Sci 3:12061222

Al-Sharhan AS, Abd El-Gawad EA (2008)

Geochemical characterization of potential
Jurassic/Cretaceous source rocks in the
Shoushan Basin, north Western Desert, Egypt. J
Pet Geol 31:191212

Barakat M, Darwish M, Abdelhamid ML

(1987) Hydrocarbon source rock evaluation
of the upper Cretaceous (Abu Roash
Formation) east Abu Gharadig area, North
Western Desert, Egypt. Ain Shams Univ
Earth Sci J 1:120150

Baur F, Di Primio R, Lampe C, Littke R (2011)

Mass balance calculations for different models of
hydrocarbon migration in the Jeanne DArc Basin,
offshore Newfoundland. J Pet Geol 34:181198

El-Ayouty MK (1990) Petroleum geology.

In: Said R (ed) The geology of Egypt.
Balkema, Rotterdam, pp 567599

El-Nady M (2008) Biomarkers assessment

of crude oils and extracts from Jurassic
Cretaceous Rocks, North Qattara
Depression, North West-ern Desert, Egypt.
Pet Sci Technol J 26:10631082

El-Nady M, Harb F, Basta J (2003) Crude oil

geochemistry and its relation to the potential
source beds of some Meleiha oil fields in the
north Western Desert, Egypt. Pet Sci
Technol J 21:128

El- Shazly EM (1977) The geology of the

Egyptian region. In: Kanes AEM, Stehli FG
(eds) The ocean basins and margins. Plenum,
New York, pp 379444

Espitalie J (1985) Use of Tmax as a

maturation index for different types of
organic mattercomparison with vitrinite
reflectance. In: Burrus J (ed) Thermal
modeling in sedimentary basins. Editions
Technip, Paris, pp 475496

Espitalie J, Laporte JL, Madec M, Marquis

F, Leplat P, Pauletand J, Boutefeu A (1977)
Methode rapide de caracterisation des roches
meres, de leur potential petrolier et de leur
degre devolution. Revue de lInstitut
Francais du Petrole 32:2342

Ghanem M, Sharaf L, Hussein S, El-Nady M

(1999) Crude oil charac-teristics and source
correlation of Jurassic and Cretaceous oil in

some fields, north Western Desert, Egypt.

Bull Egypt Soc Sedimentol 7:8598

Hakimi MH, Abdullah WH, Shalaby MR

(2010) Organic geochemistry, burial history
and hydrocarbon generation modeling of the
upper Jurassic Madbi Formation, Masila
Basin, Yemen. J Pet Geol 33: 299318

Hantar G (1990) North Western desert. In:

Said R (ed) The geology of Egypt. Balkema,
Rotterdam, pp 407438

Keeley ML, Dungworth G, Floyd CS,

Forbes GA, Kin C, Mvgarvw RM, Shaw D
(1990) The Jurassic System in northern
Egypt. Regional stratigraphy and implication
for hydrocarbon prospectivity. J Pet Geol

Author's personal copy

Arab J Geosci

Keeley ML, Wallis RJ (1991) The Jurassic

System in the Northern Egypt: II,
Depositional and tectonic regimes. J Pet Geol

Khaled KA (1999) Cretaceous source

rocks at Abu Gharadig oil and gas field,
north Western Desert, Egypt. J Pet Geol

Kobchenko M, Panahi H, Renard F,

Dysthe DK, Sorenssen AM, Mazzini A,
Scheibert J, Jamtveit B, Meakin P (2011)
Invasion-percolation fracturing controlled
primary migration of hydrocarbons during
heating of organic-rich shales.
Geophysical Research Abstracts, 13,

Magoon LB (2004) Petroleum system:

natures distribution system of oil and gas.
In: Cleveland C (ed) Encyclopedia of
energy, vol 4. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp

Meshref WM, Abdelbaki SH, Abdelhady

HM, Soliman SA (1980) Mag-netic trend
analysis in the northern part of Arabian
Nubian Shied and its tectonic implications.
Ann Geol Survey Egypt 10:939953

Metwalli F, Pigott J (2005) Analysis of

petroleum system criticals of the MatruhShoushan Basin, Western Desert, Egypt.
Pet Geosci 11: 157178

Peters KE, Cassa MR (1994) Applied source

rock geochemistry. In: Magoon LB, Dow
WG (eds) The petroleum systemfrom

to trap. American Association of

Petroleum Geologists, Memoir 60, pp 93

Rossi C, Marfil R, Ramseyer K,

Permanyer A (2001) Facies-related
diagenesis and multiphase siderite
cementation and dissolution in the
reservoir sandstones of the Khatatba
Formation, Egypts Western Desert. J
Sediment Res 71:459472

Shalaby MR, Hakimi MH, Abdullah WH

(2013) Modeling of gas generation from
the Alam El-Bueib formation in the
Shoushan Basin, northern Western Desert
of Egypt. Int J Earth Sci 102: 319332

Shalaby MR, Hakimi MH, Abdullah WH

(2011) Geochemical character-istics and
hydrocarbon generation modelling of the
Jurassic source rocks in the Shoushan
Basin, north Western Desert, Egypt. Mar
Pet Geol 28:16111624

Sharaf LM (2003) Source rock evaluation

and geochemistry of conden-sates and
natural gases, offshore Nile Delta, Egypt. J
Pet Geol 26: 189209

Stainforth JG (2009) Practical kinetic

modeling of petroleum generation and
expulsion. Mar Pet Geol 26:552572
Momper A (1978) Oil migration
limitations suggested by geological and
geochemical considerations. Assoc Pet
Geol Course Note Ser 8, pp 1 60

Zein El-din MY, Abd El-Gawad EA, ElShayb HM, Haddad IA (2001) Geological
studies and hydrocarbon potentialities of the

Mesozoic rocks in Ras Kanayis onshore area,

North Western Desert, Egypt. Annals of the
Geological Survey of Egypt XXIV:115134