Stratigraphy of the Cenozoic succession in eastern Azerbaijan: Implications for petroleum systems and paleogeography in the Caspian basin

Vusala Aghayeva, Reinhard Sachsenhofer, C. G.C. van Baak, Sh Bayramova, S. Ćorić, Matthias Frühwirth, E. Rzayeva, Stephen J. Vincent

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The Cenozoic succession in the Lower Kura Basin includes largely uniform, often carbonate-free mudstones. Because age dating of these sediments has proved difficult, the stratigraphy of the Cenozoic succession and the distribution of organic-rich strata are poorly known. A better understanding of the Cenozoic succession is not only important for petroleum-systems-analysis, but also for the understanding of the Cenozoic evolution of the Caucasus region. Therefore, bulk geochemical data (carbonate, TOC, sulphur, Rock-Eval) of 885 samples and biostratigraphic data were collected along seven outcrop profiles. This enabled the establishment of a continuous stratigraphic record from the Middle Eocene to the Late Miocene (Pontian). The study results show that potential source rocks are present in three stratigraphic units: the Middle Koun (Middle Eocene), Maikop Group (Oligo-Miocene) and Diatom Formation (Upper Miocene). The Middle Koun is about 100 m thick near the Caspian Sea and contains highly oil-prone sediments (2–24 wt% TOC; HI 300–577 mgHC/gTOC), which may generate 1.5 tHC/m2. The Maikop Group contains on average 1.8 wt% TOC, but is often gas-prone. Highly oil prone layers (2–5 wt% TOC; HI 300–450 mgHC/gTOC) are rare. Nevertheless, the Upper Maikop Formation may generate ∼2 tHC/m2. The Diatom Formation contains paper shales with high TOC contents (3–22 wt%) and HI values (350–770 mgHC/gTOC). The paper shale unit is more than 60 m thick near the Caspian Sea and can generate 3.8 tHC/m2. Previously it was thought that the Maikop Group had the highest petroleum potential, whilst Upper Miocene and Middle Eocene source intervals were overlooked. The Middle Eocene to Lower Oligocene succession in the Kura Basin is largely carbonate-free. In contrast, coeval successions elsewhere in the Caucasus region contain sediments with varying, but often high carbonate contents. Differences in carbonate content imply greater water depth during deposition in the Kura Basin.
Original languageEnglish
Article number106148
Number of pages25
JournalMarine and petroleum geology
Issue numberApril
Early online date31 Jan 2023
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023

Bibliographical note

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  • Diatom formation
  • Eastern Paratethys
  • Koun formation
  • Maikop group
  • Organic matter
  • Rock-Eval
  • Source rocks
  • South Caspian basin

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