Department of Earth Science
Master's project - Energy, resources

The origin, kinematics, and geometry of salt diapirs and minibasins in the UK Central North Sea

This Master's project is available from the Master's intake of Autumn 2023. Contact the listed supervisors for more information.

Seismisk diagram over saltdiapirer under havbunnen.
Mar Moragas, UiB

Main content

Full project title
The origin, kinematics, and geometry of salt diapirs and minibasins in the UK Central North Sea and its contribution to geo-storage, geoenergy opportunities, and hydrocarbon prospectivity.

Project description
Salt tectonics is the study of how and why salt structures evolve and the three-dimensional forms that result. The properties of salt (the term ‘salt’ refers to rocks composed mainly of evaporite minerals, especially halite) have long been exploited in the search for hydrocarbons, with its fundamental properties influencing all the key petroleum play elements. These properties are also important to energy transition technologies as CO2 storage. The Central North Sea (CNS) has been a world-class hydrocarbon province for several decades, where flow of the salt-rich Zechstein Supergroup (ZSG) has contributed to the accumulation of significant hydrocarbon reserves. Better understanding of salt tectonic framework is key for reducing uncertainties in deep plays evaluation, geo-energy and geo-storage opportunities in the area, especially relevant with new CCUS exploration license awarded in the UK sector of the CNS.

This project will be part of a new Research Council of Norway funded project, ZechTec, that aims to enhance subsurface understanding of salt tectonic systems in the Central North Sea. This masters project will use 3D seismic and well log data interpretations to investigate the mechanisms that trigger salt movement and control the evolution of diapirs and minibasins. The results of subsurface interpretation will be used to construct a tectonostratigraphic model for salt tectonics (diapirs and minibasins) in the UK sector of the CNS and compared it with analogous systems in the Norwegian margin. Resulting models will be analysed to better understand the contribution of salt tectonics to the distribution and style of reservoirs, seals, and traps for geo-storage, geo-energy, and hydrocarbon prospectivity.

Interested geology or geophysical students can contact the supervisors for more discussion and fine-tuning of the
project based on their specific interests.

Proposed course plan during the master's degree (60 ECTS):
GEOV300 (5 ETCS): Selected topic in Geoscience
GEOV361 (10 ETCS): Sequence stratigraphy and Source-to-Sink
GEOV364 (5 ETCS): Advanced Basin analysis
SDG207 (10 ETCS): Energy transition
GEOV302 (10 ETCS): Data analysis in earth science
GEOV375 (10 ETCS): Advance applied seismic analysis
GEOV352 (5 ETCS): Field course in reservoir geology
GEOV362 (5 ETCS): Integrated tectonics and sedimentology field course

Geoscience bachelors including subsurface interpretation course (e.g. GEOV261).

External data
Data is available in UiB/GEO

Laboratory based analysis using 3D Seismic Lab/Grotten workstations