Muscat – Dr Mohammed al Kindi, from the Earth Sciences Consultancy Centre, recently published a scientific paper in the Journal of Petroleum Geology identifying rocks that may be a source of petroleum in the Governorate of North Sharqiyah.
Speaking to Muscat Daily, Kindi said, “The newly identified potential source rocks of petroleum were deposited in deep oceanic environments, which is not a normal environment where rocks with high content of organic matter, essential to generate petroleum, are found.”
He explained, “When manually deepening a water well in a small village known as Quraisha’ah in Wadi Bani Khalid, North Sharqiyah, villagers noted oil oozing from natural fractures in recovered limestone debris. Evidence of oil was first encountered at about 46m below ground level and continued for several metres around the water table. The water table is known to fluctuate over a few metres in the well during periods of abundant rainfall and drought. Fragments of fractured limestone from the well bled oil when broken or cut. No oil seepage has previously been reported from the area which occurs in an unlikely geological setting for deposits in the Eastern Oman Mountains.”
According to Kindi, initially it was thought that the seepage was due to manmade petroleum waste in the area. The village is remote from any oil pipeline or known hydrocarbon accumulation. “Geochemical evidence, furthermore, confirmed that the oil is not a refined product but a mix of fresh and biodegraded charges indicating an active seepage rather than an impregnation. “
He informed that the quality of oil in the seepage is lighter compared to many Oman oils.
“The significance of the new oil seepage, remote from Oman’s oil and gas fields and other known seeps, remains to be established. However, it might trigger further interest to study the area and explore its prospects.”