Download article

Geological structure, sedimentary environments and oil and gas potential of Oligocene-Miocene and Pliocene-Pleistocene deposits in the Levant basin

A.I. Konyukhov, V.F. Sharafutdinov, V.V. Kalabin

Review article



open access

Under a Creative Commons license

An extensive sedimentary-rock basin is located within the continental margin of the Levant, where, since 2008, numerous natural gas fields have been discovered, including Tamar, Tannin, Dalit and Leviathan in the offshore zone of Israel, and Aphrodite in the zone of economic interests of Cyprus. Deposits of biogenic methane, located in the deep-water Levantine depression, are confined to terrigenous sandstones of late Oligocene-Early Miocene age. The discovery of another gas field Zohr in 2015 in the area of the underwater uplift of Eratosthenes caused a real boom among petroleum geologists. The fact is that natural gas deposit with reserves of about 30 trillion cubic feet is not in the terrigenous, but carbonate reservoir of the reef genesis, which opens significant prospects for the discovery of new large gas accumulations in the area of this major uplift. All the above-mentioned deposits are located in the same range of sea depths (1600-2000 m) in the propagation zone of the Messinian evaporites, that serves as a regional screen. An analysis of the materials currently published suggests that in the epochs of the sediments formation in which gas deposits are located, the depths of the seabed in the southern regions of the Levant depression were significantly lower compared to modern ones. Currently, there is no doubt that in the Levant region there is the largest gas-bearing basin in the Mediterranean region, with gas reserves of several hundred trillion cubic feet.


Levant basin, seamount Eratosthenes, biogenous gas accumulations, terrigenous and carbonate reservoirs, Messinean evaporites


  • Barakat M.K. (2010). Modern geophysical techniques for constructing a 3D geological model on the Nile delta, Egypt. Theses of dissertation. Berlin Technique University, 152 p.
  • Bowman S., Toothill S.R. (2011). Structural development of the Latakia ridge and adjacent basins based on recent long-offset seismic acquisition offshore Syria. Conference: New and Emerging Plays in the Eastern Mediterranean, Abstracts, pp. 78-79.
  • Bowman S. (2011). Regional seismic interpretation of the hydrocarbon prospectivity of offshore Syria. GeoArabia, 16(3), pp. 95-124.
  • Christensen J., Power G. (2013). Formation evaluation challenges in Tamar field, offshore Israel. SPWLA 54th Annual Logging Symposium, 12 p.
  • Efthymiou E. (2017). The Eratosthenes carbonate platform: an explorationist’s perspective. Abstracts of ILP-conference, Limassol, Cyprus.
  • Esestime P., Hewitte A., Hodgson N. (2016). Zohr – a newborn carbonate play in the Levantine basin, East-Mediterranean. EAGE. First break. Unconventionals and сarbon capture and storage, 34, pp. 87-93.
  • Fuhrmann A., Weimer P., Bouroullec R. et al. (2011). Origin of Lower Pliocene-Pleistocene remobilized deep-water mounded deposits, Yafo formation, Levantine basin, SE Mediterranean sea. Symposium: New and emerging plays in the Eastern Mediterranean, Abstract, pp. 75-76.
  • Furstenau J., Hawie N., Comstock J. et al. (2013). Aspects of the depositional history of the Levant basin, offshore Cyprus and Lebanon. Petroleum Geo-Services. Offshore Mediterranean Conference, Ravenna, Italy.
  • Gardosh M., Druckman Y., Buchbinder B. et al. (2008). The OligoMiocene deep-water system of the Levant basin. Geological Survey of Israel, 33, pp. 1-73.
  • Ghalayini R., Daniel J-M., Homberg С. et al. (2014). Impact of Cenozoic strike-slip tectonics on the evolution of the northern Levant basin (offshore Lebanon). Tectonics. AGU publications. American geophysical union, 22 p.
  • Gvirtzman Z., Buchbinder B. (1977). The Late Tertiary of the coastal plain and continental shelf of Israel and its bearing on the history of the Eastern Mediterranean. Initial reports of the deep sea drilling projects, vol. 42, pp. 1195-1222.
  • Gvirtzman Z., Csato I., Granjeon D. (2014). Constraining sediment transport to deep-marine basins through submarine channels: the Levant basin in the Late Cenozoic. EGU General Assembly. Geophysical research abstracts, 16, p. 1468.
  • Hawie N., Gorini C., Deschamos R. et al. (2013). Tectono-stratigraphic evolution of the northern Levant basin {offshore Lebanon). Marine and petroleum geology, 48, pp. 392-410. marpetgeo.2013.08.004
  • Hawie N. (2014). Architecture, geodynamic evolution and sedimentary filling of the Levant basin: a 3D quantitative approach based on seismic data. Dissertation on Earth sciences. University Pierre et Marie Curie VI.
  • Homberg C., Barrier E., Mroueh M. et al. (2010). Tectonic evolution of the central Levant domain ((Lebanon) since Mesozoic time. Geol. Soc. London Spec. Publ., 341, pp. 245-268.
  • May P.R. (1991). The Eastern Mediterranean basins: evolution and oil habitat. AAPG Bulletin, 75, pp. 1215-1232. https://doi. org/10.1306/0C9B2911-1710-11D7-8645000102C1865D
  • Mokhar M., Saad M., Selim S. (2016). Reservoir architecture of deep marine slope channel, Scarab field, offshore Nile Delta, Egypt: application of reservoir characterization. Egyptian journal of petroleum, 25, pp. 495-508.
  • Ortega J., Hebert R., Gellman Y. (2018). The dynamic Tamar reservoir – insights from five years of production. Scientific Conference: Eastern Mediterranean – an emerging major petroleum province, Abstracts, Burlington house, pp. 48-49.
  • Sagy Yael. (2016). Tectono-sedimentary processes in the deep Levant basin. Dissertation. Tel-Aviv university, 136 р.
  • Skiple C. (2011). Regional Geological Understanding Offshore Cyprus and Lebanon from Interpretation of Dual-sensor Streamer Data. SPE142290, 19 p.
  • Steinberg J., Gvirtzman Z., Folkman Y. et al. (2011). Origin and nature of the rapid late Tertiary filling of the Levant basin. Geological society of America, 39(4), pp. 355-358.
Aleksandr I. Konyukhov
Lomonosov Moscow State University
1, Leninskie gory, Moscow, 119234, Russian Federation
Vadim F. Sharafutdinov
3, build. 1, Pokrovskiy boul., Moscow, 109028, Russian Federation
Vasiliy V. Kalabin
3, build. 1, Pokrovskiy boul., Moscow, 109028, Russian Federation

For citation:

Konyukhov A.I., Sharafutdinov V.F., Kalabin V.V. (2019). Geological structure, sedimentary environments and oil and gas potential of Oligocene-Miocene and Pliocene-Pleistocene deposits in the Levant basin. Georesursy = Georesources, 21(2), pp. 80-93. DOI: https://