New potential hydrocarbon source-rocks in the Lower Eocene Metlaoui Formation (Central-Northern Tunisia, Northern Africa)


  • A. Arfaoui Université de Sfax
  • M. Montacer Université de Sfax



Ypresian, Source Rocks, TOC, Tmax, n-Alkanes, Sub-oxic conditions, Tunisia.


New potential hydrocarbon source-rocks in the Lower EoceneMetlaoui Formation (Central-Northern Tunisia, Northern Africa)Significant quantities of organic matter accumulated and were preserved in central-northern Tunisia during theYpresian (Early Eocene). The organic geochemical characterization of the organic-rich facies of the YpresianMetlaoui Formation (Ousselat and Es-Sfeïa sections) shows their significant potential as source rocks andincreases interest in the Central-Northern Tunisia oil play. The TOC content in these rocks ranges from 0.09 to3.71% suggesting their petroleum potential, whereas their T maxfluctuates from 429 to 439°C. These values andthe predominance of the hetero compounds (NSO; 2-95%) point to low organic matter maturation. The diversematurity levels reported for these organic-rich rocks never reached the conventional oil window peak stage andresulted from their different locationswithin the basin. The HI values and the high saturate concentrations(1-91%) compared to aromatics (1-33%), as well as the predominance of short-chain n-alkanes centered at n-C18 and n-C20 are indicative of unequivocal type-II kerogen. The fluctuation of the pristane/phytane ratio(0.97-2.53) records changes of the basin redox conditions, which mainly evolved around the sub-oxic range

Author Biographies

A. Arfaoui, Université de Sfax

Faculté des Sciences, Département de Géologie.

M. Montacer, Université de Sfax

Faculté des Sciences, Département de Géologie.







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