The Sequence Stratigraphic and Palinspastic Framework of Paleozoic Resource Play Potential in Europe
Booker, Matthew D.; Laird, Sarah; Wiltshire, Marcus; Messer, Ailsa
Shale gas is currently a major exploration focus for many companies. Whilst shale gas systems in the United States are relatively well-known, exploration in Europe is still in its infancy. This presentation demonstrates the benefits of utilising geodynamic reconstructions, gross depositional environment maps and well interpretations tied to our global sequence stratigraphic model to predict and correlate the shale gas systems of Europe. The main focus will be on the shale gas systems of Poland, the United Kingdom (UK) and Ireland.
The Baltic Basin and Lublin-Podlasie Basin both developed on the south-western margin of Baltica and contain organic-rich Cambrian, Late Ordovician, Silurian and Mississippian shales which are currently being appraised.
The Carboniferous Dublin, Clare and Lough Allen basins of Ireland and the Bowland Basin of England all have recognised shale gas potential, with some exploration licences granted. Visean to Namurian (Osagean to early Morrowan) shales are the major prospective strata and can be correlated using our sequence stratigraphic model. The Holywell and Bowland shale formations of the well-publicised Bowland Basin of Lancashire represent the primary focus of shale gas exploration within the UK, with highly variable reserves estimates at present.
Eustatic sea-level change exerted a prominent control on sedimentation, with highstand and early transgressive systems tracts characterised by organically-lean fracable sediments, overlain by transgressive and maximum flooding surface organic-rich black shale horizons. Thickness, maturity, organic carbon content and the burial history of the organic-rich shales are highly variable in Poland, Ireland and the UK. An appreciation of these factors is critical to the economic viability of these systems for exploration and can be qualitatively modelled using our sequence stratigraphic and palinspastic plate models.
Screening of the Cambrian, Ordovician-Silurian and Carboniferous systems of Poland, the Baltic Basin, United Kingdom and Ireland can be carried out utilising USGS criteria. Using our sequence stratigraphic and geodynamic model, the evolution of these shale gas systems can be placed in a palinspastic framework to allow regional and global correlation of known and predicted shale gas systems.
AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90163©2013AAPG 2013 Annual Convention and Exhibition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, May 19-22, 2013