The role of palaeorelief in the control of Permian facies distribution over the Mid North Sea High, UK Continental Shelf
Published:January 01, 2019
Philip Mulholland, Paolo Esestime, Karyna Rodriguez, Phillip John Hargreaves, 2019. "The role of palaeorelief in the control of Permian facies distribution over the Mid North Sea High, UK Continental Shelf", Paleozoic Plays of NW Europe, A. A. Monaghan, J.R. Underhill, A.J. Hewett, J.E.A. Marshall
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The Mid North Sea High (MNSH) consists of a ridge of Paleozoic strata located in the centre of the North Sea between 55° N and 56° N. In 2010, interest in the Permian of the MNSH was revived by the discovery in Quadrant 44 of the Cygnus gas field. This study focuses on the Zechstein carbonates of the MNSH and uses play concepts that draw an analogy with the Zechstein oil and gas fields discovered in Denmark and Poland, and also with the Wissey gas field in Quadrant 53.
New 2D seismic establishes the presence of a significant Zechstein reef that blocks the southern entrance of the Jenyon Gap onto the MNSH. Seismic data show that the reef developed in stages and its presence can be inferred from the occurrence of isolated lagoons within the centre of the build-up. The barrier reef’s existence explains both the presence of the rare hygroscopic mineral tachyhydrite in the centre of the MNSH and also the observed isopach difference in the Zechstein cycles over the MNSH, as the barrier restricted marine-water ingress onto the MNSH and allowed the creation of a ‘crystal-starved basin’, the evaporitic equivalent of a sediment-starved basin.
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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 This volume brings together new and previously unpublished knowledge about the Paleozoic plays of NW Europe to describe significant additional exploration opportunities outside and below existing plays.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 They highlight how improvements in seismic data quality and the availability of previously unpublished well datasets form the basis for improved understanding of local to regional interpretations that move forward from generalized basin development models.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.