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Tilted Oil-Water Contacts

North Sea Tilted Oil/Water Contacts

Tilted oil-water contacts can have significant economic implications. A recent CSPG Lunch talk by Dan Barson outlined how oil in the North Sea is often pushed out of structural traps by moving water. Dan is consulting for Oilexco and one of their structural targets may have been partially flushed by moving water just like in the diagrams above. If they drill "downstream" of the structure they MIGHT find large quantities of oil and create significant upside for their shareholders.

There are other potential explanations for tilted oil water contacts including the presence of reservoir compartments or a stratigraphic bottom seal. I'm a petroleum hydrogeologist so I'm firmly in the hydrodynamic camp on this story until proven otherwise. Dan has told me that he is an Oilexco shareholder so he likes their prospects.

If you are interested in finding out more about tilted oil-water contacts a great reference is Eric Dahlberg's Applied Hydrodynamics in Petroleum Exploration.

The history of hydrocarbon filling of Danish chalk fields provides a concise explanation as to how tilted oil-water contacts can form.

I've put together a list of my colleagues who are experts in petroleum hydrogeology. Check out their websites and buy their stuff. Several of them offer world-class short courses on petroleum hydrogeology/hydrodynamics to the petroleum industry.

  • Dan Barson
  • Rick Bartlett
  • Mike Carlson
  • Eric Dahlberg
  • Fred Meissner
  • Kaush Rakhit
  • Hugh Reid

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