The sedimentary basins of the Alpine-Carpathian mountain belt extend from France to Romania. These basins, some being known hydrocarbon provinces since the mid-XIX century, form important exploration areas in several countries. Although mature, the basins attract considerable interest, following the political changes of the early 1990s and application of new petroleum technologies. During the 2000-2005 period, new concessions were granted, 2D/3D seismic programs recorded, and over 250 exploratory wells drilled, resulting in some 145 successful operations. Bulk of the action was reported from Austria (51 wells), Poland (87 wells) and Romania (about 100 wells). Significant new discoveries of the period are Erdpress, Strasshof Tief (Austria), Jasionka, Terliczka, Trzebownisko, Stobierna (Poland), two Bilca wells and Fratauti (Romania). History of reserves additions (creaming curves) shows that new gas discoveries are generally small and new oil discoveries have been scarce since the mid-1970s. Apart from Poland, the arrival of a diachronous gas plateau is observed for majority of the basins since mid-1980s. The remaining hydrocarbon potential is believed to be principally associated with the prospects at greater depths, sub-thrust plays and stratigraphic traps. Application of 3D seismic is expected to help resolve internal flysch structures.


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