Exploration success at Breagh demonstrates that western parts of the Mid North Sea High area are prospective despite the absence of an Upper Permian (Rotliegend Group) Leman Sandstone Formation reservoir and source rocks belonging to the Upper Carboniferous Westphalian Coal Measures Group. Detailed seismic and well interpretation shows that the Breagh trap was a long-lived footwall high, the prospectivity of which was enhanced by Variscan folding and uplift, leading to the truncation (subcrop) of Lower Carboniferous reservoirs beneath the Base Permian Unconformity. Its drape (supra-crop) by Upper Permian (Zechstein Super Group) evaporites creates the seal. The complexity of its overburden means that an accurate picture of the Breagh structure only emerges after accurate depth-conversion that takes the effects of the Mesozoic graben into account. Pronounced easterly tilting during the Cenozoic affected the area and controlled gas migration into the structure from palaeostructures lying to the east. However, evidence that Breagh is not filled to spill point (underfill) suggests that charge limitation remained an issue. The study demonstrates that a poorly-documented and under-explored Lower Carboniferous play exists in Southern North Sea, which relies upon careful structural mapping and basin modelling to be undertaken for the play to be understood and its further potential to be realized.

Thematic collection: This article is part of the Under-explored plays and frontier basins of the UK continental shelf collection available at: https://www.lyellcollection.org/cc/under-explored-plays-and-frontier-basins-of-the-uk-continental-shelf

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