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PETROMAKS2-Stort program petroleum

Barents Sea Paleozoic basement and basin configurations

Alternative title: Sedimentbasseng og jordskorpestrukturer i Barentshavet

Awarded: NOK 12.3 mill.

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Project Period:

2014 - 2019


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The main focus and goals of the BarPz project have been to understand Paleozoic basin structure in the West Barents Sea region and to increase understanding of large-scale processes responsible for multi-stage Paleozoic sedimentary basin formation in the Western Barents Sea. The project is highly relevant for petroleum exploration in the Barents Sea. Seismic data were acquired in summer 2014 in the Western Barents Sea along two profiles. Two young researchers (1 PhD and 1 Post doctoral fellow) have worked on with the seismic data and integrated this with existing available information. A second post doctoral fellow has worked with 3D forward modeling to understand oblique extensional basin as observed in the Western Barents Sea. PhD student Iselin Aarseth successfully completed her PhD at University of Bergen early 2018. The main focus of her PhD project was processing and interpreting the seismic profiles collected as part of the project (published in Tectonophysics 2017 and submitted). Her works indicates the location of the Caledonian suture in the western Barents Sea, the southern extent of the Barentsia micro-plate, and the areas main basin trends. Research by post doc Alexey Shulgin (UiO) (Geophysical Journal International, 2018 and papers in preparation) on composite marine/land wide-angle seismic profile BAR-12 in the formerly disputed area along the Norwegian-Russian border provides information on the sedimentary basin deep crustal structure resolving the complex structure of the crust below the Fedynski high; large volumes of pre-Carboniferous strata; a high-velocity crustal domain below Varanger Peninsula, presumably representing an independent tectonic block; and significant magmatic underplating of the crust. Post doc Guillaume Duclaux (UiB) research has focused on using 3D forward modelling to understand oblique extensional basin formation as observed in the Western Barents Sea. His research indicates a preferential formation of orthogonal normal fault structures with complex linkage during oblique continental extension. Results are prepared for publication in Earth and Planetary Science Letters and Journal of Geophysical Research.

The project has generated new insights into the Paleozoic basin configuration in the Western Barents Sea formed in a 3D oblique rift context. The seismic data acquired has helped to resolve competing hypotheses on basin structure and suggests that the NW oriented structures represent the inherited Caledonian mountain belt front, whereas Paleozoic rift structures have a mostly NE-SW trend. 3D forward models provide fundamental insight into factors controlling oblique extension and basin formation. We have also used and developed new methods (e.g. 3D numerical modelling) and have trained a new generation of researchers in subsurface analysis, numerical modelling, and integrated basin analysis. 2 of the researchers that have completed their postdoctoral research have found further employment in academia. We have successfully applied for further research funding (e.g. from industry). Our results are communicated to and applied by industry to exploration in the Western Barents Sea.

The proposed project focuses on understanding Paleozoic basin structure in the West Barents Sea region. The main goal of the project is to increase understanding of large-scale processes responsible for multi-stage Paleozoic sedimentary basin formation in the Western Barents Sea. The main gaps in knowledge on the tectonic and sedimentary development of the West Barents Sea will be addressed by acquisition of new data for revealing the deep crustal structure, analysis of sedimentary basin fill, integrated with 2D and 3D numerical modeling. Special attention will be paid to understand the role of pre-existing structure on Paleozoic basin evolution and consequences for thermal history will be addressed. The study will have a strong regional focus using data from the SW and Central Barents Sea region. The proposed project (BarPz) is highly relevant for the PETROMAKS2 program and call for proposals and relevant programs. The project has special significance in regard to the strategy document Oil and Gas in th e 21st century (OG21-TTA2), which explicitly prioritizes exploration and basin studies on the Norwegian continental shelf, and the current 22th license round on the Norwegian continental shelf with blocks in the western Barents Sea.

Publications from Cristin

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Funding scheme:

PETROMAKS2-Stort program petroleum