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3D basin and petroleum system modelling covering the NW German North Sea (Entenschnabel) was performed to reconstruct the thermal history, maturity and petroleum generation of three potential source rocks, namely the Namurian–Visean coals, the Lower Jurassic Posidonia Shale and the Upper Jurassic Hot Shale.

Modelling results indicate that the NW study area did not experience the Late Jurassic heat flow peak of rifting as in the Central Graben. Therefore, two distinct heat flow histories are needed since the Late Jurassic to achieve a match between measured and calculated vitrinite reflection data. The Namurian–Visean source rocks entered the early oil window during the Late Carboniferous, and reached an overmature state in the Central Graben during the Late Jurassic. The oil-prone Posidonia Shale entered the main oil window in the Central Graben during the Late Jurassic. The deepest part of the Posidonia Shale reached the gas window in the Early Cretaceous, showing maximum transformation ratios of 97% at the present day. The Hot Shale source rock exhibits transformation ratios of up to 78% within the NW Entenschnabel and up to 20% within the Central Graben area. The existing gas field (A6-A) and oil shows in Chalk sediments of the Central Graben can be explained by our model.

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