ABERDEEN, UK – Britain’s Oil and Gas Authority (OGA), in collaboration with the advisory committee for the 21st Century Exploration Road Map initiative (21CXRM), has awarded two contracts for petroleum system related studies in frontier UK waters.
Getech and BGS will perform the research for the South West Approaches andFrogtech and IGI for the East Shetland Platform. OGA expects both projects to be completed by the end of March.
The MER UK Exploration Task Force is supporting the studies, which will complement acquisition and reprocessing of seismic data in this area under aUK government-funded program.
For the SW Approaches, a project is already under way at the University of Durham in northeast England which will provide a regional play fairway study of the whole SW Britain area from the Cornubian Arch to the Pembroke Ridge.
According to OGA, the major exploration risk in the SW Approaches is the assumed lack of source rock over most of the basin and significant petroleum systems timing issues associated with phases of uplift, erosion, and thermal activity.
Another major barrier to exploration is the lack of clarity of the offshore basin geometry and structural and stratigraphic correlation. One area which requires further investigation is the correlation of late and post-Variscan terrestrial basins across the European Variscides.
As for the main subsurface uncertainties in the East Shetland Platform area, the program is designed to address the structural evolution and basin geometries and assess the potential source rock presence and expected maturity.
In addition, the planned source rock study could look to re-sample relevant sections from offset wells to improve understanding of the area’s source rock potential, including an assessment of any fluid migration using techniques such as fluid inclusion and apatite fission track analysis.
Nick Richardson, OGA’s Head of Exploration and New Ventures, said: “These projects represent the initial phases of more extensive regional mapping projects to drive exploration across theUK continental shelf.
“The results of these projects from Getech, BGS,Frogtech, and IGI will enhance industry knowledge, awareness, and understanding of both the South West Approaches and East Shetland Platform ahead of the 31st Frontier Licensing Round.”
Other projects completed by the 21CXRM include a post-well analysis of exploration and appraisal wells drilled during 2003-2013 in the Moray Firth and central North Sea, and a geo-scientific regional petroleum system analysis of the Palaeozoic, due to be released publically in 2Q.
The 21CXRM Technical Advisory Committee is led by the OGA, with representatives from Azinor Catalyst, BayernGas, BP, Chevron, DONG, ENGIE, Hurricane Energy, Maersk Oil, Shell, andSiccar Point Energy.