Setting New Standards for Irish Stratigraphy

Offshore Ireland has recently become a region of significant hydrocarbon exploration interest, sparked by the Atlantic Margin Licensing Rounds in 2011 and 2015, as a result of which, licences were awarded across the Porcupine, Slyne, Rockall and Goban Spur basins.

Although drilling in Ireland first started in 1970, a standard stratigraphic nomenclature has never been published. This has made correlation of units a confusing task for geoscientists trying to understand the subsurface and to define prospectivity.

Merlin were therefore delighted to be awarded the project to establish such a standard for the whole of the Irish offshore region, on behalf of the Petroleum Infrastructure Programme (PIP) and the Petroleum Affairs Division (PAD) of the DCCEA, Government of Ireland. Funded by both the PAD and many oil and gas companies, with interests in offshore Ireland, and given the renewed exploration activity in the area, this new stratigraphy is very timely.

Merlin is working with a consortium of specialist companies, who possess a wide range of skills and knowledge of the region, including Palaeodate Ltd., Riley Geoscience Ltd., IGI Ltd., Network Stratigraphic Consulting Ltd. and G. Dunford Exploration Ltd., to carry out this comprehensive project.

Well database and study area (red outline)

The Merlin consortium team evaluated over 200 wells and boreholes, together with a large 2D and 3D seismic database to define the lithostratigraphic nomenclature, biostratigraphic database and sequence stratigraphic framework of the entire Irish Offshore region. A further aim of the project is to place identified source rocks into the new stratigraphic framework, in collaboration with IGI Ltd. Some of the results of this project were presented by the Merlin team at the 2017 Atlantic Ireland Conference and can be downloaded here.

We are excited to be involved in this project and look forward to releasing our results in an Atlas, that will be available publicly later in 2018. We, together with our colleagues in the consortium, will be presenting some of the key results at the Atlantic Ireland 2018 conference in Dublin in October, so please join us there to find out more.
Contact us for more information.

by Dr Phil Copestake, Principal Petroleum Geologist

Unravelling the complexities of the Slyne Basin