Flood Basalt Impact on Hydrocarbon Systems Project 2014-2016

This phase of the project investigated aspects of the impact of flood basalt volcanism on the petroleum systems of the Faroe-Shetland and Blue Nile basins. Supplementing porosity and permeability data from the previous phase, a selection of volcaniclastic rocks underwent MICP analysis to study their sealing potential. Micro-baddeleyite crystals identified in basalt lava flows from the Faroe Islands yielded U-Pb dates sufficiently precise to attempt meaningful interpretations. The U-Pb SIMS method proved capable of producing accurate dates from very small baddeleyite crystals (~10 µm2) contained in standard thin section sized samples, important where sample material may be limited, for example, in exploration boreholes. A photogrammetric study of the sea cliffs exposing the oldest stratigraphic sections of the Faroe Islands examined the intra-volcanic reservoir architectures and the transition between the T40 to T45 sequences. These sequences host the Colsay and Hildasay proven reservoir units in the Faroe-Shetland Basin. In the Blue Nile Basin, Ethiopia, thickness and facies patterns of key intervals from the Mesozoic sedimentary succession and the overlying Oligocene-Miocene volcanic Aiba Formation were investigated. Relationships between sedimentary and volcanic patterns and pre-existing basin structures were discussed along with implications for hydrocarbon exploration in volcanically-affected basins. Lastly, a thermal maturity study was undertaken in the Blue Nile Basin to understand the impact of volcanism and their feeder systems on heat flow in volcanically-affected basins.

Completed: January 2017.
Contact: Simon Passey

Reports Issued in this Project