The synrift section is a wholly contained petroleum system in continental rift basins. The foundational element of the petroleum system is the source rock. The distribution of the source rock and reservoir facies in a continental rift basin are controlled by climatic factors and the geometry of the rift basin. There are three archtypical rift basin geometries, asymmetric half grabens, symmetric grabens, and compound rift basins. The stratigraphic succession of the synrift section in continental rift basins typically exhibit eight sedimentary depositional environments. The lateral and vertical distributions of these depositional environments are remarkably similar from basin to basin and therefore offer a predictive model for defining the source rock and reservoir sequences. There are two source rock facies in continental rift basins, algal-rich lacustrine shales and more humic-rich shales deposited in swamp environments. These source–prone facies are generally found near the deepest portion of the basin and the asymmetric basin flanks. Reservoir facies are found in fluvial, delta and shoreface, and fan delta sequences, as well as the transitional red bed sequence that overlies many continental rift basins.


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