AAPG Europe Regional Conference, Global Analogues of the Atlantic Margin

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The Atlantic Ocean: 200 million years young and full of surprises


The Atlantic Ocean opened up in different stages, giving birth to diverse petroleum systems. Lacustrine syn-rift and oceanic anoxic events are key source rocks that have fuelled giant petroleum systems such as in the Brazilian Santos Basin, the Angolan Congo Fan and the Nigerian Niger Delta. Exploration was also successful in other areas, e.g. Mauritania, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Gabon, Canada, proving the great prospectivity of the Atlantic Basin. Some of the successes, e.g. Guyana, are very recent, which highlights the significant remaining potential of the basin. Surprisingly, parts of the Atlantic are still underexplored. For example, not a single deep water well has so far been drilled in Portugal. New exploration campaigns attempt to finally unlock the Morocco and Namibia deep water regions. Atlantic analogues have inspired exploration in conjugate settings, even though results in Suriname, and the Angolan Kwanza Basin indicate that nature is often more complicated and more non-symmetric than originally thought. A series of costly holes in various parts of the Atlantic reminds us of the great geological challenges that have to be overcome before exploration sweet spots are eventually identified. A Cretaceous volcanic CO2 flush has contaminated some of the fields on the South Atlantic sector which requires robust geological models to allow robust fluid predictions. Holocene sedimentary core analysis provides valuable information on the palaeoclimate of the past 10,000 years which maps the last chapter in the pre-industrial Atlantic history. The post-glacial Atlantic temperature development and its drivers form an important reference for modern climate change and the quest for solutions of environmentally sustainable energy supplies.