The Late Permian Zechstein carbonates in the Southern Permian Basin were deposited under marine conditions. The carbonates form part of a largely progradational infill, with a gradual northward facies shift. The paleogeography of the Zechstein carbonate deposits has been reviewed recently on the base of well data, cores and publications. This has resulted in three updated maps of the carbonate units. These maps reflect the increase in knowledge of the palaeogeography of the Zechstein as a result of several decades of subsurface exploration. It is found that deposition of the carbonates was controlled by various factors, i.e., rifting during deposition of the basal Zechstein, sea-level fluctuations and basin subsidence. This resulted in an overall E-W orientated facies distribution in the Zechstein carbonates, and in the gradual northward shift of the various facies belts in time.
Reefs in the Zl Carbonate Member and off-platform highs and turbidites in the Z2 Carbonate Member have been identified as potential future exploration targets.