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Despite representing a widespread play in the Central North Sea, production from Lower Cretaceous chalks is currently confined to the Valdemar Field in the Danish Central Graben. The field comprises a heterogeneous reservoir succession, less than 100 m thick, consisting of hemipelagic chalks, marly chalks, and marlstones of Late Hauterivian-Early Aptian age. Although the field has in-place reserves in the order of 115 × 106 m3 (725 × 106 BBL), the recovery from this complex reservoir was initially estimated to be only approximately 1%, primarily due to low permeability. The argillaceous chalks of the Lower Cretaceous reservoir are highly faulted and fractured, overpressured and undercompacted, giving rise to a complex distribution of hydrocarbons. Due to the lithological heterogeneity of the succession, internal stratigraphic barriers are common and result in stratigraphic compartmentalization. In addition, clay smearing in fault zones has created structural barriers and the development of structural compartments, as reflected by spatial differences in oil saturations, oil types and maturity, formation pressure and porosity distribution. Analysis of the reservoir properties and structural development of the Valdemar Field has provided data that can be extrapolated to the remainder of the Danish Central Graben, indicating that the Lower Cretaceous is most prospective in the central and southern Danish Central Graben.

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