The hydrocarbons exploration area, located south of Cyprus, is part of the Exclusive Economic Zone of the Republic of Cyprus covering an area of around 51.000 square kilometers. The water depth ranges from 300 m on the Cyprus Arc, closed to the island of Cyprus to more than 3.000 m in the deeper part of Herodotus Basin.
The main structural units within that area are:
- Levantine and Herodotus Basins, formed by rifting and spreading from the Triassic to Lower Cretaceous. The total thickness of the sediments attains 12 to 15 km, consisting mainly by lithofacies of deepwater.
- The Eratosthenes Seamount is considering being a continental block detached from Arabia and transferred to its current position due to tectonic activities. Its sedimentary cover is essentially made of shallow-water to slope carbonate deposits with the thickness of about 5 km.
- West Eratosthenes sub-basin of Miocene age.
- Cyprus Arc, formed in the Late Cretaceous and reactivated in the Neogene.
Two major regional events, related to sediment deposits, have important consequences for the prospectivity of hydrocarbons in the offshore area of Cyprus:
- The Nile Delta, the development of which started Early Oligocene and continued until today, which especially affected the area west of Eratosthenes within the Herodotus Basin.
- The Messinian Salinity Crisis with deposition of thick layers of evaporites in the Levantine and Herodotus Basins. They constitute a regional seal in the offshore Cyprus and their deformation resulted in the formation of numerous structures of interest to exploration.