Dr Nick Schofield, Aberdeen University
The UK Rockall Basin forms part of the NE Atlantic margin and is truly a frontier basin. With only 12 exploration wells, all drilled between 1980 and 2006, it is one of the most underexplored areas of the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS). Of the 12 wells, 11 were dry holes and one, the Benbecula (154/01-1) well, discovered a sub-commercial gas accumulation. This low historic success rate, together with the harsh NE Atlantic operating environment and the lack of infrastructure have created a negative view of the exploration potential of the UK Rockall Basin. Exploration in the basin is perceived by the industry at large to be high risk and low reward. However, considerable advances have been made in the understanding of Atlantic Margin geology since the last well was drilled in the Rockall Basin. Re-evaluation of drilling results in light of the current understanding of NE Atlantic Margin geology reveals that previous drilling efforts may have been hampered by a misunderstanding of the geological development of the basin and that viable untested plays may exist within the basin.
Further reading: see http://www.rockallbasin.com/
Nick Schofield is a Senior Lecturer in Igneous and Petroleum Geology. He specializes in the seismic and field interpretation of intrusive and extrusive sequences in volcanic terranes and their interaction with hydrocarbon systems.