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St Kilda lies
along the Atlantic margin, seen on the right of this satellite gravity
The line of
north-westerly trending grey troughs running from off Ireland to
northern Norway marks an abortive split between Europe and Greenland
some 110 million years ago, when marine microplankton formed the
potential source rock for future oilfields.
were the source of today's oil and gas reserves
For more about
how oil and gas form see http://www.ukooa.co.uk/issues/index.cfm?page=storyofoil/index.htm
years ago St Kilda was one of six major volcanoes lying west of
the uplifted Hebrides-Shetland Platform. Erosion at this time produced
the sands that now form the oil reservoirs in many North Sea and
Atlantic margin hydrocarbon fields.
volcanic uplift the Atlantic margin has subsided. Source rocks are
now so deeply buried along the troughs that gas has been generated,
as in the gas fields of the North Sea, whereas oil was generated
from the terraces, which did not subside so much.
100 exploration wells had been drilled in the UK part of the Atlantic
margin and some geologists had written off the exploration potential
before BP discovered the Foinaven and Schiehallion oilfields to
the west of Shetland in 1992/1993.
field contains between 250 and 600 million barrels of recoverable
oil; Schiehallion 340 and Loyal 85.
status of exploration licensing on the Atlantic margin can be found
challenged the UK's right to award licences outwith a 200 mile zone,
citing recently mapped deep-water coral banks of Lophelia pertusa.
for some key points from the judge's summing up ……..
margin is a hostile environment:
what if an
oil spill should occur?
wave height out in the Atlantic
In the event
of a spill strong wave action is the best dispersant.
are the waves heading today?
you assess the risk to St Kilda?
areas be more at risk?