The present-day stress pattern in the Middle East and Northern Africa and Their importance: The world stress map database contains the lowest wellbore information in these petroliferous areas
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Knowledge of the present-day stress field is vital for a range of earth science disciplines, including hydrocarbon and geothermal energy production, mine safety and seismic hazard assessment. The scientific importance of understanding the present-day maximum horizontal stress orientation has been demonstrated by the findings of the World Stress Map (WSM) Project, which has spent over 25 years building an extensive freely-available repository of present-day stress information as a collaborative project between academia, industry and government. The WSM project has revealed that the plate scale present-day stress is controlled by the tectonic forces exerted at tectonic plate boundaries. However, numerous studies in sedimentary basins have shown that stresses in the oil-patch can be complex, and controlled by both major far-field forces (plate boundaries, body forces from mountain belts) and intra-basinal forces, such as detachment zones, salt, faults and basin geometry. The World Stress Map project contains free and public information for over 80 basins around the world. However, the project contains almost no wellbore data for the Middle East and Northern Africa, despite this region hosting much of the world's global oil production and extensive industry activity. To date, the World Stress Map Project only contains limited datasets from petroleum wells in Egypt, Oman and Iran - but no data at all for Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Libya, Algeria, UAE, Kuwait or Qatar. In this paper we first review different methods for determining and calculating the present-day stress pattern in the region, then we highlight the lessons learned from the World Stress Map project on the controls of present-day stress in the oil-patch. Finally, we focus in detail on the stress data that currently exists for the Middle East and Northern Africa. Copyright 2014, International Petroleum Technology Conference.
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