The sub-basalt domain of the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS) is one of the last remaining hydrocarbon exploration frontiers in Europe. While there is an established geological and tectonic framework, little has been published that addresses the remaining hydrocarbon exploration risks/uncertainties. Unlike the Faroe Shetland Basin and Rockall Trough, at the time of writing, there are currently no industry-drilled sub-basalt well penetrations on the Norwegian continental shelf. Numerous potential Mesozoic sub-basalt hydrocarbon plays exist on the NCS but, due to the lack of industry-drilled sub-basalt penetrations, there is a perceived large exploration risk. By using cross-border analogues, basin modelling workflows and integration of available seismic data the main uncertainties across the NCS are outlined including charge timing, structural definition, and details of reservoir presence. Generically the Late Cretaceous and Middle Jurassic intervals are potential plays which may be present on the Norwegian Margin. However, there is considerable uncertainty on their depth and preservation. Although significant challenges and uncertainties remain, the authors believe that the integration of well results, consideration of basin modelling driven heat flow estimates and new 3D seismic data may open sub-basalt opportunities for a new exploration frontier on the NCS.

Thematic collection: This article is part of the New learning from exploration and development in the UKCS Atlantic Margin collection available at

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