Research Area: Exploration

Basement structure and Permo-Triassic rifting in the northern North Sea rift: A case study of rifting orogenic basement

Project Number: 6269
Project Duration: 01.Oct.16 - 30.Sept.19

Project manager: Haakon Fossen and Rob Gawthorpe
Technical contact person: Mark Adam Scott, Statoil


Click here to learn more about Thilo Wrona and his research.

Our understanding of normal fault growth in rifts has, in large parts, been derived from observational studies looking at single rift phases or numerical models simulating the extension of homogeneous crust. In nature, many rifts, including the northern North Sea, developed in heterogeneous crust during multiple phases of extension. The research therefore aims to understand the basement geology and its impact on later stage rifting in the northern North Sea using newly-acquired 3-D seismic reflection data.


Fig. 1: Basement surface from the NE Horda platform derived from 3-D BroadSeis seismic reflection data (courtesy of CGG Data Library)

The new seismic data is by far superior to previous data sets in terms of quality, coverage and imaging depth, thus allowing us to obtain consistent, basin-wide interpretations of the rift and basement. These interpretations will help us study the effect of basement structures, such as shear zones, on Permo-Triassic and Jurassic rifting in great detail. As a result, this research has the potential to turn the northern North Sea into a prime example for multiphase rifting on top of a structurally heterogeneous orogenic basement. Understanding the evolution and architecture of the northern North Sea is important, as we look beyond conventional exploration models in search for hydrocarbon accumulations in stratigraphic and structural settings that have received less attention to date.

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