Article   |   Henk Kombrink   |   01.04.2021

Regional Geological Mapping - data unlocked.

It’s been more than two years since LR was awarded the Regional Geological Maps contract by the Oil and Gas Authority. Since then, a team of geoscientists has been working hard to deliver the maps and datasets for some of the key areas in the UKCS.

The team started working on the Central North Sea and Moray Firth – the first area for which the maps were released – in July 2016. This area is probably the most complex in terms of petroleum plays, as hydrocarbons are found in a wide variety of stratigraphic intervals ranging from Devonian to Pleistocene. Consequently, it took us a significant period of time to put together the maps and datasets, with the first set of data being released in July 2017.

Because of the amount of geological data provided for each area, an overview document called “Project Navigator” accompanies every release to enable the user to quickly see what is available. These three-page PDFs summarise the types of maps that have been compiled for each stratigraphic interval along with the well-derived information such as tops, lithology and hydrocarbon occurrences.

The second area we started working on was the Southern North Sea (SNS). This area looked somewhat easier, as the majority of the fields are in just a single stratigraphic interval (Rotliegend). However, the well tops describing the Leman sandstone required a rationalisation which took up a bit of time. On top of that, similar to the Central North Sea, the number of E&A wells drilled in the SNS is high and tying the majority of these wells to the grids is often a difficult and time-consuming task. The SNS maps were released through the OGA website in November 2017.

By finishing the maps and datasets for the third area - the Northern North Sea and East Shetland Platform – in July 2018 we have now covered the most densely drilled areas of the UKCS. At the same time as the Northern North Sea release, the OGA also made available an interim version of the maps and datasets for the Southwest Approaches in order to facilitate companies looking into the areas available for the 31st Licensing Round.

At the moment we are working on finalisation of the SW Approaches, the Mid North Sea High and the English Channel. Following these areas, the next big area on the agenda will be West of Shetland and Rockall. Together with the Irish Sea these areas must be finalised by the end of March next year, which then completes our three-year mapping exercise of the UK Continental Shelf!

At LR we specialise in, and relish the challenge of, providing solutions to the most complex situations. At the heart of this project is you, our clients and operators, who seek exploration opportunities in the UK's North Sea. These maps provide you with a detailed level of insight and up-to-date information on the subsurface of the UKCS to help you search and identify more exploration opportunities.

Project overview:

Lloyd's Register secured two major UKCS projects with the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) for the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS), for the provision of Regional Exploration Maps and Regional and Field Support Engineering Services to help the OGA independently assess remaining undiscovered resources and improve geotechnical understanding. Full detail of the project win can be read here.

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