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Exploration well failures from the UK North Sea

Christian J. H. Mathieu
Exploration well failures from the UK North Sea (in Petroleum geology of NW Europe; 50 years of learning; proceedings of the 8th petroleum geology conference, M. Bowman (editor) and B. Levell (editor))
Petroleum Geology Conference Series (2018) 8: 267-272


The UK Oil & Gas Authority carried out post-well failure analyses of exploration and appraisal wells in the Moray Firth and the UK Central North Sea to fully understand the basis for drilling the prospects and the reasons why the prospects failed. The data consisted of Tertiary, Mesozoic and Palaeozoic targets/segments associated with 97 wells drilled from 2003 to 2013. Seal was the primary reason for failure followed by trap, reservoir and charge. Root causes for failure were a lack of lateral seal, the absence of the target reservoir and the lack of a trap. The main pre-drill risk was not accurately predicted in over one-third of the cases and a third of the segments were targeted on the basis of perceived Direct Hydrocarbon Indicators. This study identified a number of interpretation gaps and pitfalls that ultimately contributed to the well failures. These included poor integration, improper application of geophysics, lack of regional play context, and absent or ineffective peer review. Addressing these gaps in a comprehensive and systematic way is fundamental to improving exploration success rates.

ISSN: 2047-9921
Serial Title: Petroleum Geology Conference Series
Serial Volume: 8
Title: Exploration well failures from the UK North Sea
Title: Petroleum geology of NW Europe; 50 years of learning; proceedings of the 8th petroleum geology conference
Author(s): Mathieu, Christian J. H.
Author(s): Bowman, M.editor
Author(s): Levell, B.editor
Affiliation: Oil & Gas Authority, Aberdeen, United Kingdom
Affiliation: University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom
Pages: 267-272
Published: 2018
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of London, London, United Kingdom
Meeting name: 8th petroleum geology conference
Meeting location: London, GBR, United Kingdom
Meeting date: 20150928Sept. 28-30, 2015
References: 4
Accession Number: 2018-037066
Categories: Economic geology, geology of energy sources
Document Type: Serial Conference document
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. sects., geol. sketch maps
N57°34'60" - N57°52'00", W04°04'60" - W03°30'00"
Country of Publication: United Kingdom
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2018, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data from The Geological Society, London, London, United Kingdom
Update Code: 201809
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