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Tertiary Deep-Marine Reservoirs of the North Sea Region

dgukThis excellent compilation offers a valuable overview of one of the primary play systems in the North Sea Petroleum Province.  McKie et al have arranged the papers to offer a value-chain perspective, with a range of diverse case studies illustrating the field life cycle from mature basin exploration through development to late life production.  It builds on, and is best viewed within, the extensively published regional geological framework that already exists and is widely published. 

The exploration papers in the volume add to this framework and show the value of working data hard and forensically even in well-known and understood plays to unlock value in what have been marginally commercial and subtle plays containing significant stratigraphic elements to traps.  Appropriately the focus of the volume is slightly weighted towards field development and production offering a diverse range of interesting and well written case histories.  Examples range from near field exploration in such as Lochranza and Arran through to mature field production cases from the Forties, Alba and Gannet fields.  

The papers also show how modern thinking on deep-water depositional systems and the application of new technology (notably seismic imaging) can unlock value in complex heterolithic reservoirs, fan margin systems and in mature fields with up to 40 years’ production history.  The critical value of integration and the effective use of diverse data sets is also an important thread that permeates the volume. 

I would commend this to any subsurface practitioners working not only the North Sea but also some of the newer areas of deep-water exploration and field development globally where much can be gleaned for these well described and documented examples.  It is also a good reference for those teaching reservoir systems or training classes covering this important area of reservoir geology. Papers are, overall, well written, and the extensive use of colour images adds a great deal to the value. Much valuable hard data and many figures enhance the text and offer an easy-to-read format as well as great reference material. 

Having worked on many of these reservoir systems in the past, this offered a readable and informative update – as well as a refreshing message: that value remains in a mature play systems and late-life fields with significant production challenges.  It also demonstrates the impact of well-executed petroleum geology and subsurface assessment, building on sound geological principles together with understanding of petrophysical and reservoir engineering.

Reviewed by Mike Bowman

TERTIARY DEEP-MARINE RESERVOIRS OF THE NORTH SEA REGION by T MCKIE, PTS ROSE, DW JONES & TL ARMSTRONG (eds),  2015.  Geological Society Special Publication 403 ISBN: 978-1-86239-656-2, 407pp, hbk. List Price: £100.00.  Fellows: £50.00. W: www.geolsoc.org.uk/SP403.