Semi-conventional play: definition, exploration strategy and the example of the Chalk Group in Denmark
Play analysis has been widely used in hydrocarbon exploration for decades with great success. In recent years, progress has also been made to describe reservoir properties of very low permeability reservoirs. However, comparatively little research has been done into play analysis for such reservoirs, which may lead to misleading estimates of their hydrocarbon potential. Here, the concept of a semi-conventional play is defined and characterised as having a reservoir of such low permeability that a hydrocarbon column can form down-dip of an effective dry trap. A new exploration approach is proposed for such plays, using the Chalk Group Play in the Danish North Sea as an example. It is suggested that together with the usual risk elements, a more detailed analysis of ‘charge’ is necessary, paying particular attention to identifying possible hydrocarbon entry points, palaeostructures and the maximum distance from these entry points that the hydrocarbons may have reached since they first entered the reservoir. The application of this novel approach for semi-conventional plays in mature basins can help unlock further resources in proximity of existing fields, and reduce the risk of failure in frontier exploration.
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