Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland Bulletin 16 - 2008

Evaluation of the quality, thermal maturity and distribution of potential source rocks in the Danish part of the Norwegian-Danish Basin

Henrik I. Petersen, Lars H. Nielsen, Jørgen A. Bojesen-Koefoed, Anders Mathiesen, Lars Kristensen and Finn Dalhoff *

The results of hydrocarbon exploration in the Norwegian–Danish Basin in northern Denmark over the past 70 years have been largely disappointing. Although the principal components of a viable petroleum system are in place, the existence of effective source rocks has been questioned.

This bulletin presents an evaluation of the quality, extent and thermal maturity of potential source rocks within the Palaeozoic–Mesozoic succession of the Danish part of the Norwegian–Danish Basin. A range of potential source rocks are documented, of which those in the Jurassic – lowermost Cretaceous are judged the most promising. Over much of the basin, these Mesozoic source rocks have experienced insufficient burial to have produced hydrocarbons – the source rocks are regionally immature or only marginally mature. Local hydrocarbon kitchens with mature source rocks may be present in the centre of the basin, however, associated with salt structures and minor grabens.