Thermal history and oil charge on the UK Atlantic margin

J Parnell, P F Green, G Watt, D Middleton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

28 Citations (Scopus)


Integrated apatite fission track analysis and vitrinite reflectance data show that well 204/19-1 in the West of Shetland region, UK Atlantic margin, has experienced only limited additional burial beyond present-day depths. Uplift and cooling to present-day levels probably occurred during late Cenozoic (Eocene to Miocene) basin inversion. Fluid inclusion data indicate that Paleocene-Eocene sandstones have experienced temperatures much higher than can be explained by burial alone. Temperatures up to 200 +/- degrees C indicate the passage of hot fluid through Cenozoic sandstones, which by-passed the pre-Cenozoic section in this and other wells. The hot fluid event must have been of very brief duration (up to 100 years) to show no record in the fission track and reflectance data, implying that the fluids migrated through fracture systems.

Oil inclusions in the Cretaceous of well 204/19-1 have a chemistry that suggests derivation from a Kimmeridgian-aged source rock. They occur in cements that show no evidence for the hot fluid event and it is concluded that the cements pre-date the event. Oil inclusions in Cenozoic sandstones have a heavy, degraded character and were trapped at high temperature, suggesting that degradation was related to the hot fluid event. Present-day oils in the West of Shetland region are mixtures, which could reflect components from the two charges distinguished by the integrated thermal and geochemical histories. The inference of fracture-bound flow is consistent with existing models of overpressure development and hydrofracturing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-112
Number of pages14
JournalPetroleum Geoscience
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • West of Shetland
  • Atlantic margin
  • oil charge
  • fission track analysis
  • fluid inclusion analysis
  • WEST


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