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Petroleum Geology of Northwest European Region

Charles D. Masters, H. Douglas Klemme

The occurrence of petroleum in the northwest European region can be accounted for in two distinct geologic plays located in various subbasins. Play I is associated with the distribution of mature source rocks of Late Jurassic age relative to four distinct trapping conditions. The play is productive primarily in the Viking and Central grabens of the North Sea, where the shale has been buried to optimum depths to generate both oil and gas. North of 62°N lat. up to the Barents Sea, source rocks become increasingly deeply buried and are interpreted to be dominantly gas prone; a narrow band of potentially oil-propane shales is found along most of the coast of Norway, but water depths in favorable localities commonly range from 600 to 1,200 ft. South of the Central graben, the Jurassic source rocks are either immature or minimally productive because of a change in facies.

Play II is associated with the distribution of a Carboniferous coal facies that is mature for gas generation and locally underlies favorable reservoir and sealing rocks. The play is limited primarily by facies development to the present area of discovery and production, but also is limited to the southeast into onshore Netherlands and Germany by the unfavorable economics of an increasing nitrogen content in the gas.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #91043©1986 AAPG Annual Convention, Atlanta, Georgia, June 15-18, 1986.