Structural and Stratigraphic Evolution of the Mid North Sea High Region of the UK Continental Shelf

Rachel E. Brackenridge, John R. Underhill* (Corresponding Author), Rachel Jamieson, Andrew Bell

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Interpretation of newly-acquired seismic and legacy well data has led to a greater understanding of the Upper Palaeozoic-Recent geological evolution of the Mid North Sea High (MNSH), an underexplored region of the Central North Sea. The position of granite-cored blocks controlled the distribution of Devono-Carboniferous highs and basins before Variscan uplift led to peneplanation and the creation of the Base Permian Unconformity. The MNSH became the dominant feature during the Permian when it formed a W-E striking ridge between the Southern and Northern Permian Basins. Following a period of non-deposition, sedimentation was renewed in the Late Permian to Triassic before Middle Jurassic doming caused uplift to the north-east. Subsequent Late Jurassic North Sea rifting transected the MNSH to create the Western Platform between the Central Graben and Moray Firth rift arms. Following Cretaceous post-rift deposition, the area experienced a significant easterly tilt in the Cenozoic that led to the demise of the MNSH as a prominent topographic feature. The tectonic and stratigraphic evolution exerts a strong control over reservoir facies distribution, source rock deposition and maturation. However, the area is not barren of petroleum potential. Despite the lack of Upper Carboniferous source rocks over large areas, hydrocarbon potential is evident through shows in legacy wells, indicating the Lower Carboniferous as a potential source rock. Cenozoic uplift to the west imparted a regional tilt, the effects of which remains key to unlocking the area's prospectivity since it reconfigured structures and formed remigration pathways from Lower Carboniferous and Jurassic source rocks.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages43
JournalPetroleum Geoscience
Early online date17 Mar 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 Mar 2020

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