The Rockall Basin Project is based at the University of Aberdeen and is funded by the Oil and Gas Authority as part of a wider initiative to stimulate hydrocarbon exploration in frontier areas of the UKCS.

Location Map (Schofield et al., 2017)

The UK Rockall Basin forms part of the NE Atlantic margin and is truly a frontier basin. With only 12 exploration wells, all drilled between 1980 and 2006, it is one of the most underexplored areas of the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS).  Of the 12 wells, 11 were dry holes and one, the Benbecula (154/01-1) well, discovered a sub-commercial gas accumulation.  This low historic success rate, together with the harsh NE Atlantic operating environment and the lack of infrastructure have created a negative view of the exploration potential of the UK Rockall Basin.  Exploration in the basin is perceived by the industry at large to be high risk and low reward.  However, considerable advances have been made in the understanding of Atlantic Margin geology since the last well was drilled in the Rockall Basin.  Re-evaluation of drilling results in light of the current understanding of NE Atlantic Margin geology reveals that previous drilling efforts may have been hampered by a misunderstanding of the geological development of the basin and that viable untested plays may exist within the basin (Schofield, 2017).


The overarching objective of this study is to fully evaluate the exploration potential and petroleum system of the Rockall area. The work is focused on de-risking plays and identifying prospects using new geophysical data acquired as part of the OGA seismic shoot, combined with legacy seismic and well data and analysis of well data and of outcrop analogues. The work will be fully integrated with ongoing studies along the Atlantic Margin both onshore and offshore taking place at the University of Aberdeen.  The team is uniquely placed to conduct this work, bringing together a range of skills including Biostratigraphy, Sedimentology, Sequence Stratigraphy, Basin Analysis, Play and Prospect Analysis, Petroleum Geochemistry and Volcanology.


Use the links on the left to find out more about the team, the OGA and to read about some of our ongoing work.