Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation


Earth and Ocean Sciences



First Advisor

Christopher C. G. Kendall

Second Advisor

Camelia Knapp


This study is focused on the hydrocarbon potential of Cyrenaica in NE Libya, a country that produces 1.74 million barrels of oil a day. Today Libya’s productive sedimentary basins include the Sirt, Ghadamis, Murzuq, and Tripolitania basins that collectively contain the country’s major 320 producing oil fields whose reserves exceed 44 billion barrels of recoverable oil and 37 trillion cubic feet of gas. Hydrocarbons in these basins and grabens largely come from Silurian and Cretaceous organic-rich Type II shale, and are controlled by a mix of tectonic activity, sedimentation and erosion.

On the north east flank of these enormous areas of Libya with continued high petroleum potential is the study area, Cyrenaica, in northeastern Libya. This region has a long geologic history from the Precambrian to the Miocene. It divided structurally into four tectonic provinces; the stable Cyrenaica platform to the south, the unstable Al Jabal Al Akhdar uplift to the north (previously trough), the Marmarica Trough to the east, and the Ash Shulaydimah Trough to the west (including Antelat Trough and Soluq depression).

Sedimentology, seismic interpretation and source rock evaluation of the northeastern Libya in the study outlined in the following dissertation indicates that the Cyrenaica area has the most of the petroleum system elements.

In Cyrenaica, reservoir potential and structural traps are abundant in the Devonian sandstones to Tertiary carbonates. The main geological constraint to geological exploration of the region has been the source rock potential, which previous to this study, has yet to have been fully appraised. This dissertation describes how this source rock potential has been more extensively evaluated and these results, in addition to exploration success in adjacent regions, are expected to provide a background for future exploration in northeastern Libya.

The Oil and gas shows in Cyrenaica occur at many localites in different horizons from the Devonian through Tertiary, though the stratigraphic and structural

complexity of the region has downplayed exploration. The positive results of source rock evaluations described in this disertation have expanded the potential for commercial exploration success.


© 2010, Hassan Salem Hassan