Upper Palaeozoic lithostraigraphy of the southern part of the Norwegian Barents Sea

G.B. Larssen, Geir Elvebakk, Leif B. Henriksen, Stein-E. Kristensen, Inger Nilsson, Tommy J. Samuelsberg, Tore A. Svånå, Lars Stemmerik, David Worsley

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The Norwegian sector of the southern Barents Sea has been the target for hydrocarbon exploration for over 20 years and to date approximately 60 exploration wells have been drilled in this still under-explored province. Only a
quarter of these wells have penetrated the Upper Palaeozoic succession, often only because of a TD criterion set by the authorities – although some wells have targeted varied play types within the Upper Palaeozoic. Accumulated
knowledge from this exploration programme has gradually led to the present-day situation, where exploration of these Upper Palaeozoic plays may well represent the next major development in the area. A formal lithostratigraphical framework for these Upper Palaeozoic strata was first presented in an electronic version at www.npd.no. Although similar in gross terms to the onland exposures of the Svalbard archipelago the Upper Palaeozoic succession of the southwestern Barents Shelf also displays significant differences, clearly contrasting the
generally stable platform aspect of the Svalbard exposures and the more labile platforms and significant basinal developments offshore.

This work was therefore commissioned by the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate in recognition of the need for a formal lithostratigraphical framework for a succession that may well prove to be of great commercial interest in coming years. Reviews of all seismic and well data from the area have led to our recognition and acceptance of the long-established usage of the Billefjorden, Gipsdalen and Tempelfjorden groups from onshore Svalbard, but we define 8 new formations and assign them to these groups to reflect the offshore development of the Upper Palaeozoic succession. In addition, we define 3 formations that together represent the Bjarmeland Group – a Mid Permian carbonate development only poorly represented – and, as yet, poorly defined in highly condensed sequences onshore Svalbard, but present in wells in the Barents Sea.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-45
Number of pages43
JournalNorges Geologiske Undersøkelse Bulletin
Publication statusPublished - 2005

Programme Area

  • Programme Area 3: Energy Resources


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