A brand new part of the North Sea might open for oil and gasoline exploration after geologists dismissed the speculation there have been Jurassic volcanoes within the space.
The Rattray Volcanic Province had been thought to include empty magma chambers, making it unsuitable for oil formation.
As a consequence, the 7,000 sq km space of the central North Sea was dismissed as a possible space for exploration.
But geologists on the University of Aberdeen have now challenged that view.
The Rattray Volcanic Province was thought to include the stays of three volcanoes that erupted 165 million years in the past within the Jurassic period.
A research led by Dr Nick Schofield and PhD scholar Ailsa Quirie, from the University of Aberdeen's School of Geosciences, with colleagues from Heriot-Watt University and the University of Adelaide, has concluded that perception was mistaken.
The crew says 3D imaging now suggests there had been lava fissures – or cracks – reasonably than a volcanic eruption.
This doesn’t essentially imply that the world accommodates oil, however firms might now assess its potential.
Dr Schofield mentioned: “What we discovered has utterly overturned a long time of accepted data.
“Previously, it was believed the world contained previous magma chambers – the plumbing techniques of three Jurassic-era volcanoes – that successfully dominated out the potential for oil and gasoline discoveries.
“However, our research has proven these volcanoes by no means existed in any respect, and that the fireworks previous the North Sea's try and create an ocean with Europe got here by way of a sequence of lava fissures.
“Essentially this provides us again an enormous quantity of gross rock quantity that we by no means knew existed, in one of many world's most prolific areas for oil and gasoline manufacturing.”
He defined: “There is a big space below there that hasn't been checked out intimately for a very long time, due to the beforehand incorrect geological mannequin.
“That's to not say that exploration wouldn't be difficult, however expertise is continually enhancing and there are nonetheless large discoveries being made within the North Sea, as we've lately seen within the Central Graben and Viking Graben areas .
“As the previous saying goes, typically the very best locations to search for oil are in locations close to to the place you've already discovered it.
“The North Sea is a primary instance of that.”
Katy Heidenreich, trade physique Oil and Gas UK's operations optimisation supervisor, mentioned: “This fascinating tutorial analysis is a superb instance of the worth that may be created by making knowledge extra extensively accessible.
“Fresh and pioneering considering mixed with new knowledge evaluation strategies can problem earlier exploration fashions and deepen our understanding of the numerous UK North Sea sources but to be recovered.
“It locations us in a very good place to understand our ambitions so as to add a era of productive life to the UK Continental Shelf.”