Structural development of the Devono-Carboniferous plays of the UK North Sea
Stavros Arsenikos, Martyn Quinn, Geoff Kimbell, Paul Williamson, Tim Pharaoh, Graham Leslie, Alison Monaghan, 2019. "Structural development of the Devono-Carboniferous plays of the UK North Sea", Paleozoic Plays of NW Europe, A. A. Monaghan, J.R. Underhill, A.J. Hewett, J.E.A. Marshall
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Decades of oil and gas exploration across the North Sea have led to a detailed understanding of its Cenozoic–Mesozoic structure. However, the deeper basin architecture of Paleozoic petroleum systems has been less well defined by seismic data. This regional structural overview of the Devono-Carboniferous petroleum systems incorporates interpretations from more than 85 000 line-kilometres of 2D seismic data and 50 3D seismic volumes, plus a gravity, density and magnetic study, from the Central Silverpit Basin to the East Orkney Basin. A complex picture of previously unmapped or poorly known basins emerges on an inherited basement fabric, with numerous granite-cored blocks. These basins are controlled by Devono-Carboniferous normal, strike-slip and reverse faults.
The main basins across Quadrants 29–44 trend NW–SE, influenced by the Tornquist trend inherited from the Caledonian basement. North of Quadrants 27 and 28, and the presumed Iapetus suture, the major depocentres are NE–SW (e.g. the Forth Approaches and Inner Moray Firth basins) to east–west (e.g. the Caithness Graben), and WNW–ESE trending (e.g. the East Orkney Basin), reflecting the basement structural inheritance. From seismic interpretation, there are indications of an older north–south fault trend in the Inner Moray Firth that is difficult to image, since it has been dissected by subsequent Permo-Carboniferous and Mesozoic faulting and rifting.
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Paleozoic Plays of NW Europe
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Despite successful production from Carboniferous and Permian reservoirs in the southern North Sea and onshore Netherlands and Germany, Paleozoic hydrocarbon plays across parts of NW Europe remain relatively under-explored both onshore and offshore. This volume brings together new and previously unpublished knowledge about the Paleozoic plays of NW Europe to describe significant additional exploration opportunities outside and below existing plays.
The volume contains papers on Paleozoic plays in the North Sea, Irish Sea, onshore UK, France and Switzerland. They highlight how improvements in seismic data quality and the availability of previously unpublished well datasets form the basis for improved understanding of local to regional interpretations that move forward from generalized basin development models. The improved structural trap and source rock basin definition feeds to better constrained, locally variable burial, uplift, maturation and migration models. Particularly notable are the significant mapped extents and thickness of Paleozoic source, reservoir and seal rocks in areas previously dismissed as regional highs and platforms.