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Keywords:

  • Atlantic margin;
  • hydrocarbons;
  • fluid inclusions;
  • sedimentary basins;
  • thermal anomalies

Geofluids (2010) 10, 73–82

Abstract

Fluid inclusion data, particularly the distribution of hydrocarbon fluid inclusions and their chemistry, can provide insights into oil charge in a petroleum-prospective region. Examples from the UK Atlantic margin show how we can understand thermal regime, timing and chemistry of oil charge. Data from the UK Atlantic margin based on fluid inclusion temperature profiles shows anomalously high temperatures which are highest at the top of the Triassic–Eocene sequence. This is interpreted as a product of hot fluid flow, probably reflecting hydrothermal activity related to intrusion of sills at depth. The preservation of high temperatures also implies rapid migration from depth through fracture systems. Ar–Ar analysis of oil-bearing K-feldspar cements, and petrographic studies of oil inclusion distribution help delimit timing and migration pathways for the hot fluid charge and later fluid migration events. Coupled with compositional data for oils measured destructively (organic geochemistry) or non-destructively (fluorescence), these approaches allow the development of oil charge histories based on real data rather than theoretical modelling.