The Viking Graben of the North Sea contains a major deltaic reservoir—the Brent Group. Within the Brent Group, the Etive Formation, a coastal barrier sand, is both areally continuous and has excellent porosity and permeability. It is sandwiched between the fine-grained micaceous sandstones of the Rannoch Formation below and the impermeable mudstones of the Ness Formation above. Consequently, the Etive Formation has acted as the most important regional conduit for secondary migration of Upper Jurassic sourced oils. Oil migration through time has left a heavy residue in the uppermost part of the formation. These residues are aromatic-asphaltic, but otherwise resemble locally reservoired oils. Migration-sensitive biological marker ratios obtained from the residues change with distance from source. Secondary migration route mapping, based on the movement of oil by buoyancy in well-defined, isolated pressure compartments, integrated with timing of oil generation, indicates that the Ninian field could be sourced from two areas—Late Cretaceous migration from the southeast in the Viking Graben and Tertiary migration from the west and southwest—explaining some of the contrasting reservoir and oil characteristics of the Ninian and Lyell fields.

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