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The Forties Field, the largest oilfield in the UK North Sea, has been a prolific producer since its initial development. With an initial plateau rate of 500 000 bopd the field had produced some 2500 mmbo and the field rate had declined to 41 000 bopd by 2003 when the operatorship changed from BP to Apache. From 2004 to 2012, over 100 bypassed pay targets were drilled with a success rate of 75%, establishing a late life plateau of 50 000–60 000 bopd.

The Forties reservoir is provided by Paleocene turbidites of the Forties Sandstone Member of the Sele Formation, deposited in a channelized proximal area of the Forties Fan. In this paper, the reservoir architecture is described, and bypassed pay examples are discussed in the context of the reservoir architecture and the production history. Bypassed pay is shown to occur in both the high net to gross channel axes and the heterogeneous wing deposits. Oil is trapped by subseismic channel architecture and subtle faulting. The occurrence of bypassed pay at a particular location is also shown to be dependent on the continually evolving pattern of injection and production within the field.

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