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Despite some setbacks in the exploration of this initially highly prospective frontier province, oil and gas discoveries off mid-Norway, and, recently, on the Faroes and western United Kingdom shelf provide continuing encouragement to exploration. Large parts of the area (including the northeast Greenland shelf, a portion of shelf similar in size to the productive area offshore mid-Norway) remain almost totally unexplored. Therefore, numerous basic questions remain unanswered on the region’s geological evolution and petroleum prospectivity. These include provenance and source to sink relationships for the principal reservoir targets (Cretaceous and Paleocene sandstones), and the distribution and relative contribution to the hydrocarbon budget of different source rocks. However, in this paper, we concentrate on the fundamental problems relating to the lithosphere-mantle structure of the margin. Many of these challenges stem from the status of the region as a classic volcanic passive margin.

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