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Abstract

The UK Rockall Basin is one of the most underexplored areas of the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS), with only 12 exploration wells drilled since 1980. With only one discovery made in 2000 (Benbecula (154/1-1) gas discovery), the general view of the basin from an exploration viewpoint is not positive. However, over the last 15 years, our knowledge of the petroleum systems of the Atlantic Margin has substantially increased. With the recent acquisition of new seismic data by the UK Government as part of the OGA's Frontiers Basin Research Programme, it is a pertinent time to re-examine the prospectivity of the UK Rockall Basin.

This paper presents a history of exploration within the UK Rockall Basin, from the first well drilled in the basin in 1980, to the last well, drilled in 2006. We then present new insights into the lack of success during exploration within the basin, in particular by focusing on the extensive Early Cenozoic volcanic rocks within Rockall, to illustrate the wide range of potential interactions with the petroleum system. We also present evidence that points to the potential of a viable intra-basaltic (Rosebank) type play along the eastern flank of the Rockall Basin.

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