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The North Sea has reached an ultra-mature state as a petroleum basin, entering a phase of infrastructure-led exploration in an attempt to extend the economic lives of the main fields and reduce the rate of production decline. At the same time, the transition to a future low-carbon use of the basin is also in progress. As the papers in this volume demonstrate, in order to find, appraise and develop the mostly smaller near-field opportunities as well as making sure to grasp the opportunities of the near-future energy transition, a regional understanding of the North Sea is still critical. Even more so, a cross-border approach is essential because: (1) some of the plays currently being targeted have a clear cross-border element; (2) it allows a comparison of stratigraphic names throughout the entire basin; and (3) it enables explorers to learn lessons from one part of the rift to be applied somewhere else.

This volume offers an up-to-date ‘geology-without-borders’ view of the stratigraphy, sedimentology, tectonics and oil-and-gas exploration trends of the entire North Sea Basin. The challenges associated with data continuity and nomenclature differences across median lines are discussed and mitigated. Examples of under-exploited cross-border plays and discoveries are discussed.

The ambition of this Special Publication is to examine cross-border petroleum geology and exploration trends in the ultra-mature North Sea Basin. This volume offers a modern ‘geology-without-borders’ view of the stratigraphy, sedimentology, tectonics and oil-and-gas exploration trends of the entire North Sea Basin. The challenges associated with data continuity and nomenclature differences across median lines are discussed and mitigated. Examples of under-exploited cross-border plays and discoveries are discussed. This volume also seeks to establish similarities in the geology characterizing individual plays, as well as differences in exploration maturity, recent activity, and the reasons for successes and failures. This volume might also highlight new opportunities for future collaboration across borders, including setting the scene for the near-future energy transition.

Some of the specific themes highlighted in this volume include:

  • challenges across median lines on stratigraphic and tectonic trends, including data continuity and differences in geological nomenclature;

  • guidance on how to build a geology-without-borders view, summarizing the key benefits;

  • examples of play knowledge currently being exploited cross-border;

  • new play-opening discoveries that are as yet unexploited cross-border (e.g. Johan Sverdrup);

  • differences in exploration performance and reasons why;

  • the impact of different regulatory and fiscal frameworks; and

  • differences in how competency is handled and organized cross-border, and how technology is advanced and adopted.

The original geographical scope of the cross-border publication was the UK and Norway. However, additional papers included in this volume now cover other political borders within the North Sea Basin, such as the UK–Dutch and Dutch–German offshore boundaries. Because of this widening geographical focus, some of the papers have been published in a companion volume (SP495: Chiarella et al. 2022) entitled Cross-Border Themes in Petroleum Geology II: Atlantic Margin and Barents Sea.

This short introduction provides the editors with the opportunity to define what is meant by the ‘cross-border geoscience’ thematic, and to outline some of the key challenges. We also summarize the papers in the volume and suggest some areas where future opportunities for collaboration may lie.

It is common knowledge that geology does not stop at political borders, but all too often the political jurisdictions and internal organizational structures of companies present barriers to integration and knowledge transfer. As far as active exploration is concerned, there are two prime goals of any cross-border initiative:

  1. To summarize the status of new wells (discoveries and dry holes) in key plays and share play-based knowledge across the basin, such that a more consistent regional overview is widely available and easily accessible to prospect generators.

  2. To close the loop from production back to exploration, thus ensuring that the local knowledge from producing assets is communicated widely, particularly where it positively impacts regional exploration concepts or knowledge of dynamic reservoir behaviour and recovery factors, for example.

Several attempts have been made to better integrate our cross-border geological understanding. There are many examples of: (i) internal company restructuring initiatives to create pan-North Sea exploration organizations; and (ii) multi-company, cross-border, joint-industry projects, such as: joint Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) and Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) initiatives; and joint studies by the British Geology Survey (BGS) and the Geological Survey of The Netherlands (TNO). The end result is a rich matrix of cross-border efforts that all shared similar challenges at the outset and, in many cases, found efficient cross-border solutions (see Fig. 1 for some of the most-recent cross-border prospects and discoveries).

Fig. 1.

Map of the main geological elements of the North Sea, showing the Late Jurassic and Late Carboniferous depocentres hosting the two main source rocks (from Patruno et al. 2021 ). The locations of the prospects and discoveries discussed in the chapter are also shown.

Fig. 1.

Map of the main geological elements of the North Sea, showing the Late Jurassic and Late Carboniferous depocentres hosting the two main source rocks (from Patruno et al. 2021 ). The locations of the prospects and discoveries discussed in the chapter are also shown.

The energy industry can be strongly collaborative (both within and between companies), especially when economic conditions are favourable or when competitive advantage is deemed to be low. However, the budget scrutiny that comes during phases characterized by economic contraction can damage cross-border collaborative efforts, with companies reverting to ‘type’, and with siloed behavioural styles and national, rather than international, organograms prevailing.

A classic, ubiquitous challenge is data, which tend to be organized by politics, not basin. Accessing and curating these data can therefore be complex and time-consuming. A second common and longstanding challenge is stratigraphic nomenclature, where geological units such as groups, formations and members are not limited by international frontiers, and ‘effort should be made to use only a single name for each unit regardless of political boundaries’ (cf. Salvador 1994, p. 21). In this volume, the cross-border tectono-stratigraphic framework presented by Patruno et al. (2021)  provides a holistic pan-North Sea overview (see also Fig. 2). Stratigraphic rationalization is not an area that will be resolved easily or quickly, but it is critical.

Fig. 2.

Approximate stratigraphic and geographical location of the chapters in this volume. The synthetic cross-border regional stratigraphic outline for the North Sea Basin, along an ideal north–south transect along the basin depocentres, is from Patruno et al. (2021 , modified after Brennand et al. 1998). AU, Atlantean (or Near-Base Tertiary) Unconformity; BCU, Base Cretaceous Unconformity; BDU, Base Devonian Unconformity; BPU, Base Permian Unconformity; IAU, Intra-Aalenian Unconformity; MMU, Mid-Miocene (or Eridanos) Unconformity; [1], North-Sea-wide first-order megasequences proposed by this work.

Fig. 2.

Approximate stratigraphic and geographical location of the chapters in this volume. The synthetic cross-border regional stratigraphic outline for the North Sea Basin, along an ideal north–south transect along the basin depocentres, is from Patruno et al. (2021 , modified after Brennand et al. 1998). AU, Atlantean (or Near-Base Tertiary) Unconformity; BCU, Base Cretaceous Unconformity; BDU, Base Devonian Unconformity; BPU, Base Permian Unconformity; IAU, Intra-Aalenian Unconformity; MMU, Mid-Miocene (or Eridanos) Unconformity; [1], North-Sea-wide first-order megasequences proposed by this work.

Equally, tectonic trends are transnational, although places remain where geological trends and play boundaries show a surprisingly coincidental adherence to political boundaries (Fig. 1). For example, in the Central North Sea, all of the highly productive Upper Cretaceous Chalk reservoirs are seemingly confined to Norway and Denmark. In contrast, the UK has multiple reservoirs and fields in the Triassic Skagerrak Formation, whereas this still largely represents an emerging play in the Norwegian Central Graben. These two plays appear geographically mutually exclusive, with the Cretaceous Chalk and the Triassic plays apparently overlapping only in one place, the Joanne Field (main reservoir in the Cretaceous Chalk, co-located with the Judy and Jasmine fields and their Skagerrak Formation reservoirs). Another example deals with the ‘deep’ tectonostratigraphic architecture, which is seemingly dominated by very thick (1–8 km) Devonian post-orogenic extensional collapse-related successions in the UK margins and similarly thick (1–6 km) Permo-Triassic basin fills without Devono-Carboniferous units in the Norwegian margins. This is further discussed by Scisciani et al. (2021) , who propose a new and more uniform cross-border Devono-Triassic tectonostratigraphic style.

Some of the most recent success stories in North Sea exploration are a direct consequence of ‘lessons learned’ from nearby wells across the border. A prime example of present-day exploration with a cross-border aspect is the Eocene injectite play in the Northern North Sea. Apache, Finder (previously Azinor) and Aker BP are all active players, with these companies (and partners) essentially drilling the same accumulations on either side of the median line: Froskelår and Gamma (Fig. 1). Aker BP also recently acquired an interest in an ENI-operated licence (P2511) in UK waters, most likely aiming to develop further the cross-border Rumpetroll find just south of Froskelår (Fig. 1). The paper by Pernin et al. (2019)  further discusses the differentiation of hydrocarbon- v. water-bearing injected sandstones in this very area.

The Edinburgh prospect (Fig. 1) is a good example of a prospect that probably would have been drilled many years ago if it had not been situated on the UK–Norwegian political border. Shell and partners are finally planning to drill the prospect in 2022. The structure is a large, three-way faulted block associated with a Zechstein salt wall, SE of the Josephine Ridge in the Central North Sea, with prospective reservoirs in Jurassic and Triassic intervals.

The Middle Jurassic Pentland/Bryne play in the Central Graben of UK and Denmark has seen some success in the Culzean Field (Fig. 1), but this has not yet led to new exploration success elsewhere. Old Danish discoveries in this challenging play type (e.g. Harald East, see Fig. 1) could be progressed as developments using the Culzean Field as a potential analogue for dynamic behaviour in highly heterogeneous fluvial reservoirs.

At the transition between the Central and Northern North Sea, the Johan-Sverdrup-type play (relatively thin, Jurassic, shallow-marine reservoir sandstones deposited in perched synrift basins that received hydrocarbon charge via lateral migration from deeper kitchens) have thus far only worked on the Norwegian side of the North Sea (Olsen et al. 2017) (Fig. 1). The search continues unabated for the ‘British Sverdrup’.

In the Southern Permian Basin, the N05-A gas discovery in the Dutch and German offshore sectors is another example of recent cross-border exploration activity, because it is an example of chasing a play concept that was previously seen as frontier or very high risk at best (Burgess et al. 2018; Doornenbal et al. 2019 ). It took a small UK company (Hansa Hydrocarbons) years of geological and geophysical work to put the basal Rotliegend play on the exploration agenda, which finally resulted in the discovery of N05-A in 2017. Four years later, a development plan was submitted to the authorities, with operator ONE-Dyas planning to produce the gas in Dutch waters, whilst the platform will be powered by wind energy from the German part of the North Sea.

Finally, noteworthy Zechstein discoveries have been largely restricted to Dutch, German and Polish areas, with the UK and Denmark seemingly not sharing in such success. However, the Ossian–Darach well (42/04-1), drilled by ONE-Dyas in 2019, proved the Hauptdolomit along the southern margin of the Mid-North Sea High to be oil-bearing (Fig. 1). This has unleashed a high level of interest in this play, with Shell committing to drilling the Pensacola Zechstein prospect in 2022. In that sense, the publication of a paper by Słowakiewicz et al. (2020), further suggesting the presence of a mature oil source rock in the west of the Southern Permian Basin, has surely added to the interest in a play that has so far been seemingly restricted to the more central and eastern parts of the Permian Basin.

Outwith exploration, it is clear that a geology-without-borders perspective is also valuable in the development/production stages of the oilfield life cycle. The sharing of dynamic data from wells and fields is to be encouraged, given that it helps all countries to maximize recovery from the basin in a timely and efficient manner. How this sharing of dynamic analogue data is achieved is another matter entirely, and one that requires close and immediate consideration.

Many fields are known to straddle political boundaries, and these form an interesting set of case studies to monitor how collaboration progressed, equity battles were resolved, and differing economic methods and legal practices managed. In the Northern North Sea, the most famous of these are the Statfjord and Frigg fields; in the Central North Sea, the Blane and Flyndre fields (all UK and Norway); and the Minke and Markham fields in the Southern North Sea (UK and The Netherlands) (Fig. 1). The Sillimanite Carboniferous gas field, which straddles the Dutch–UK median line, is another recent example of this (Fig. 1). These examples serve to highlight the commercial aspects of fields that straddle a political boundary where unitization agreements can be more difficult to reach (e.g. Cameron 2006).

The papers in this Special publication are organized with stratigraphy to the fore as the key thematic, largely because play definition in the North Sea is traditionally dictated by reservoir age (Fig. 2). This has a spin-off in that the volume is loosely organized from south to north geographically: the Paleozoic plays of the Southern North Sea, the Mesozoic of the Central and Northern North Sea, and finally the Tertiary and Quaternary of the Central and Northern North Sea.

Patruno et al. (2021)  start the volume by reviewing the North Sea's six megasequences (cf. Fig. 2). This regional-scale sequence stratigraphic review article provides the volume with a basin-wide oversight, offering a stratigraphic context for all the subsequent papers. Six long-lasting erosional hiatuses and major coastal regressions punctuating the geodynamic history of the basin have been identified in all sectors of the North Sea (including across median lines). These surfaces correspond to regional sequence boundaries, which enable the subdivision of the stratigraphic fill of the entire North Sea into size megasequences (A–F) (Fig. 2).

The evaluation of play maps is often hampered by the question: ‘does that well even get to this level?’ To address this, Kombrink & Patruno (2020)  have produced a data-rich suite of pan-North Sea maps that reveal only those wells that penetrated each play by using the total depth (TD) age of North Sea wells as a tag or filter. These maps demonstrate and quantify what we all know to be intuitively true, that well penetration density reduces with depth and thus older plays have been less explored than younger plays.

A review of the Southern North Sea play statistics by Quirk & Archer (2021)  reveals the importance of the Rotliegend as the dominant play type in what is still informally termed ‘The Gas Basin’ (Fig. 3). Although subsidiary, other play types are summarized, and the Triassic ‘Silver Pit trend’ is highlighted as it appears to rely on an intriguing migration route that utilizes Tertiary dolerite dykes from Carboniferous coals into Triassic reservoirs.

Fig. 3.

Approximate geographical location of the chapters in this volume. The location map of the North Sea Basin, showing the main Late Jurassic and Late Carboniferous depocentres hosting the two main source rocks, is from Patruno et al. (2021) .

Fig. 3.

Approximate geographical location of the chapters in this volume. The location map of the North Sea Basin, showing the main Late Jurassic and Late Carboniferous depocentres hosting the two main source rocks, is from Patruno et al. (2021) .

Central and Northern North Sea play statistics are then summarized in a cross-border context by Quirk & Archer (2020) . In addition, in a test of the hypothesis of ‘whether the median line is under-explored?’, they prove through an assessment of well density that, contrary to popular belief, the UK–Norway median line is not under-explored (Fig. 3).

Roberts et al. (2019)  take a modern One North Sea approach to fairway analysis and found that integration of data across a range of scales was able to reveal new exploration opportunities. By ‘thinking like a molecule of oil’ and integrating source-rock maturity, hydrocarbon expulsion and migration, well shows, seismically defined gas chimneys, and direct hydrocarbon indications onto regional fairway maps, hydrocarbons can be traced from the source kitchens to the traps.

Following these play- and well-based overviews, Myers et al. (2019)  provide a focus on the exploration performance of the UK and Norway in the period from 2008 to 2017. Their analysis both includes and excludes Johann Sverdrup as a statistical outlier, and reminds us that eight of the 10 largest fields in the Central and Northern North Sea are in Norway. Their work further reveals that the average discovery size in Norway when compared to the UK over this period is 26 MMboe v. 18 MMboe, respectively, probably as a function of exploration maturity and the fact that structural rather than stratigraphic traps have been targeted.

Finally, Quirk et al. (2022)  outline the state of play with the near-future North Sea energy transition, and discuss a vision on how repurposing the North Sea natural resources, physical setting, offshore infrastructures and skilled workforce to a low-carbon future, including the costs and drawbacks associated with it.

Boscolo Gallo et al. (2020) provide an answer to the question ‘can thin coals be resolved seismically?’. The results have implications for the seismic map ability and thus de-risking of the source-rock presence in the Carboniferous of the Southern to Central North Sea (Figs 2 & 3).

In a paper to which many authors contributed, Doornenbal et al. (2019)  take a general look at the energy resources available in the Southern Permian Basin, covering ground from traditional oil and gas prospects to CO2 sequestration and geothermal energy as a newcomer. They show that despite the declining trend of gas discoveries (both in size and frequency), it is still a much more important source of energy than all deep geothermal projects put together.

Daniels et al. (2020)  studied Zechstein carbonate breccias onshore NE England (Fig. 3). The late Permian Roker Formation is an onshore outcrop analogue that has utility as an analogue for the Zechstein offshore, where dissolution-collapse-brecciated reservoirs are known in the Auk and Argyll fields (UK Central North Sea), but also further afield (e.g. Permian evaporite–carbonate systems in the Barents Sea, overprinted by dissolution-related palaeo-sinkholes, breccia pipes and collapse cavern systems: Ahlborn et al. 2014). In the Norwegian Utsira High, on the opposite side of the Auk–Argyll Ridge, Zechstein subaerial exposure and dissolution has also been reported, although the diagenetic history here is more complex and seemingly less favourable (Sorento et al. 2018).

Scisciani et al. (2021)  compare and contrast the Devonian–Triassic tectonostratigraphic architecture of the UK and Norwegian ‘platforms’ flanking the Viking Graben (Fig. 3), highlighting cross-border analogies in structural style, polyphase inversion history and seismic facies. They conclude that in the Norwegian study areas, much of the half-graben sedimentary fills may be interpreted as Devonian–?Carboniferous in age, as in the East Shetland Platform, rather than overly thick Permo-Triassic successions as previously commonly accepted.

Archer et al. (2020)  synthesize the Triassic stratigraphy across the UK–Norway median line in the Central North Sea (Figs 2 & 3) by focusing on the fine-grained components of the sedimentary system. Correlations using the mudstone members of the Skagerrak Formation (Julius Member and Jonathan Member) prove to be more robust than those based on the related sandstone members (Judy Member and Joanne Member).

In a complementary study, Gray et al. (2020)  provide a modern, regional-scale analysis of Triassic fluvial reservoir systems, presenting a series of maps that deliver predictive facies models for the Joanne, Judy and Bunter sandstone members in the Central North Sea (Fig. 3).

Orre & Folkestad (2019)  focus on the Triassic Lomvi play in the Northern North Sea (Figs 2 & 3), reinterpreting the facies as aeolian rather than fluvio-deltaic. This reinterpretation has positive implications for the expected reservoir quality at depth and could bring a new exploration focus to a deep Triassic aeolian play in the Northern North Sea.

Upper Jurassic dolomite stringers of the Central North Sea (Fig. 3) could have an unconventional potential, as summarized by Galluccio et al. (2019) . These authors present a model for the origin and lateral continuity of these bodies within the Farsund Formation in the Danish sector, based on the integration of borehole image, sedimentological, petrographical and geochemical data.

Pernin et al. (2019)  focused on the Paleocene of the Central and Northern North Sea (Figs 2 & 3), where pre-stack broadband attributes helped to identify and de-risk near-field injectite prospects. They show that regional rock physics analysis of injectite reservoirs, using well data from fields in Norway and the UK, reveals that a combination of elastic attributes can effectively differentiate lithology and hydrocarbon presence in these reservoirs.

A novel approach to exploration was taken by Karstens et al. (2019) , who use deep-seated fluid migration as an approach to indicate new leads and improve prospectivity on the East Shetland Platform, where the presence of alternative, deeper source kitchens is still the big unknown (Figs 2 & 3).

The paper by Medvedev et al. (2019)  on the influence of glaciations on the Northern North Sea petroleum systems (Figs 2 & 3) rounds the volume off by discussing the manner in which recent changes in the last 2 myr may have impacted the geometry and fluid flow within the deeper subsurface.

The breadth of papers presented here offers insights into the general status of cross-border exploration themes. Clearly, certain themes are more ‘in vogue’ than others, such as the ongoing ‘transition’ to low-carbon energy sources, the basin-margin highs, the Upper Jurassic synrift play, Tertiary injectites and the resurgent Triassic high pressure–high temperature (HPHT) play.

As recent examples demonstrate (e.g. the N05-A discovery offshore Netherlands or the Utgar Field across the UK–Norway border: Fig. 1), continued cross-border integration of geological and regulatory frameworks is key for future exploration success and enhancing recovery in the now ultra-mature North Sea Basin.

According to international stratigraphic rules and recommendations, lithostratigraphic nomenclature should be applied to a basin as a whole, and not in relation to non-geological borders or boundaries (Hedberg 1976; Salvador 1994). The North Sea Basin is fraught with these types of inconsistencies (e.g. Leman Formation v. Slochteren Formation, Broom Formation v. Oseberg Formation, Pentland Formation v. Bryne Formation, Fulmar Formation v. Ula Formation and Maureen Formation v. Ty Formation) (Patruno et al. 2021 ). However, where the geology naturally changes between countries, it can be difficult to deploy consistently the same nomenclature across borders, particularly where lateral facies change, sediment entry points differ or depositional diachroneity exists. Stratigraphic naming conventions have a habit of carrying huge inertia, as geoscientists with local interests have a natural tendency to resist change and to even derail cross-border harmonization efforts. Once informal naming conventions are in circulation and become widely used by the geoscience community, then efforts to standardize and rationalize stratigraphic schemes often fall on stony ground. In this regard, the key objective of both the pan-North Sea penetration map synthesis by Kombrink & Patruno (2020)  and the regional megasequence approach by Patruno et al. (2021)  is precisely that of aiding the efforts of cross-border correlation and rationalization of lithostratigraphic units along sequence stratigraphic and chronostratigraphic bases.

Prior to this volume, there are two excellent historical examples of cross-border regional synthesis work, The Millennium Atlas, which covers the Central and Northern North Sea (Evans et al. 2003), and the Southern Permian Basin Atlas project, which covers the Southern North Sea (Doornenbal & Stevenson 2010). This Special Publication, which includes new Pan-North Sea cross-border articles (Figs 2 & 3), has the ambition of adding to this body of work, and to be seen as a contribution that brings some of the information and concepts in these legacy atlases up to date.

In terms of future regional summaries, the West of Shetlands area would benefit, no doubt, from the publication of a West of Shetlands geoscience synthesis in the style of an outsized Atlas (a West of Shetlands 2025 project?). If a more international, cross-border stance is taken to this possible initiative, then a fuller product (NE Atlantic Margin Atlas) could be created with collaboration between the UK and Norway, but also potentially the Faroe Islands and Ireland.

Going forward, emerging and near-future strategies for infrastructure decommissioning, offshore geothermal, hydrogen production and subsurface storage, and carbon capture and storage (CCS) could see the North Sea become a global test bed and implementation region (e.g. Strachan et al. 2011; Quirk et al. 2022 ). Any progress made on the energy transition theme will have to rely on a solid cross-border understanding of the subsurface. The sharing of data, results, best practices, and open and honest disclosure of ‘what could have gone better?’ will be critical behaviours in the coming decades. As an example, Andersen et al. (2019) set up a platform for the sharing of reference datasets on the critical theme of mapping the distribution and quality of reservoir, seal and overburden rocks for the indefinite retention and monitoring of CO2 in the subsurface.

As a resource, seeing the North Sea Basin in a holistic sense will surely lead to better collaboration and more efficient management of the basin as a single entity. As society transitions from the fossil-fuel age towards ‘net zero’ we are entering a period of fast evolution that sees the basin reharnessed and used in a far wider range of contexts than previously. In the future, a disparate range of stakeholders will be required to collaborate more deeply – the mantra of ‘let's all give a little, to get a lot’ will be advantageous in the years to come.

The Editors gratefully thank the sponsors of this project: BP, Statoil, AkerBP and PGS. The Geological Society staff who assisted are acknowledged for their work. The Editors of this Special Publication would like to thank the reviewers of all the papers, whose diligent work and valuable time has helped to enhance the technical standing of this volume.

SGA: conceptualization (lead), investigation (equal), methodology (lead), writing – original draft (equal); HK: conceptualization (equal), data curation (equal), formal analysis (supporting), writing – original draft (equal), writing – review & editing (equal); SP: data curation (equal), writing – original draft (supporting), writing – review & editing (supporting); DC: writing – review & editing (supporting); CA-LJ: writing – review & editing (supporting); JAH: writing – review & editing (supporting).

This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

The authors declare that they have no known competing financial interests or personal relationships that could have appeared to influence the work reported in this paper.

All data generated or analysed during this study are included in this published article.

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Figures & Tables

Fig. 1.

Map of the main geological elements of the North Sea, showing the Late Jurassic and Late Carboniferous depocentres hosting the two main source rocks (from Patruno et al. 2021 ). The locations of the prospects and discoveries discussed in the chapter are also shown.

Fig. 1.

Map of the main geological elements of the North Sea, showing the Late Jurassic and Late Carboniferous depocentres hosting the two main source rocks (from Patruno et al. 2021 ). The locations of the prospects and discoveries discussed in the chapter are also shown.

Fig. 2.

Approximate stratigraphic and geographical location of the chapters in this volume. The synthetic cross-border regional stratigraphic outline for the North Sea Basin, along an ideal north–south transect along the basin depocentres, is from Patruno et al. (2021 , modified after Brennand et al. 1998). AU, Atlantean (or Near-Base Tertiary) Unconformity; BCU, Base Cretaceous Unconformity; BDU, Base Devonian Unconformity; BPU, Base Permian Unconformity; IAU, Intra-Aalenian Unconformity; MMU, Mid-Miocene (or Eridanos) Unconformity; [1], North-Sea-wide first-order megasequences proposed by this work.

Fig. 2.

Approximate stratigraphic and geographical location of the chapters in this volume. The synthetic cross-border regional stratigraphic outline for the North Sea Basin, along an ideal north–south transect along the basin depocentres, is from Patruno et al. (2021 , modified after Brennand et al. 1998). AU, Atlantean (or Near-Base Tertiary) Unconformity; BCU, Base Cretaceous Unconformity; BDU, Base Devonian Unconformity; BPU, Base Permian Unconformity; IAU, Intra-Aalenian Unconformity; MMU, Mid-Miocene (or Eridanos) Unconformity; [1], North-Sea-wide first-order megasequences proposed by this work.

Fig. 3.

Approximate geographical location of the chapters in this volume. The location map of the North Sea Basin, showing the main Late Jurassic and Late Carboniferous depocentres hosting the two main source rocks, is from Patruno et al. (2021) .

Fig. 3.

Approximate geographical location of the chapters in this volume. The location map of the North Sea Basin, showing the main Late Jurassic and Late Carboniferous depocentres hosting the two main source rocks, is from Patruno et al. (2021) .

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