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A seismic stratigraphic analysis constrained by well and wireline log data has been undertaken on the Paleocene and earliest Eocene succession of the South Buchan Graben (Quadrants 20 and 21), Outer Moray Firth Basin (OMFB). Two principal sequences have been described relating to two regressive/transgressive second-order cycles of relative sea-level change. The Maureen, Andrew, Glamis Tuff and Balmoral sandstone members are expressed as a stacked set of lowstand basin floor fans separated by mudstone intervals representing four cycles of third-order relative sea-level change. The Sele and Balder formations contain both basinal and shelfal packages as an expression of two cycles of third-order relative sea-level change. The Forties Sandstone Member is deposited within highly mounded, levee-confined channels downlapped by a prograding slope succession with well-defined clinoforms and deltaic topsets attributed to the Dornoch and Beauly formations. The individual parasequences of the prograding wedge are related to higher-order eustatic fluctuations with incision and slope fans, attributed to the Cromarty Sandstone Member, deposited during periods of relative sea-level lowstand.

It is demonstrated that through the integration of lithostratigraphic, seismic geomorphological and sequence stratigraphic analyses an understanding of depositional environments and the distribution of facies within them can be obtained. The identification of basinal and slope features with reservoir potential, along with an understanding of their chronostratigraphic relationship to sealing facies, play an important role in regional play fairway mapping and risk analysis in this area and beyond. Future prospectivity within mature basins, such as the OMFB, relies on subtle stratigraphic traps typical of lowstand systems tracts, where the main risk is associated with reservoir quality and containment.

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