Review of hydrocarbon potential in East Denmark following 30 years of exploration

Niels H. Schovsbo*1 & Finn Jakobsen1


GEUS Bulletin Vol 43 | e2019430105 | Published online: 17 June 2019

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Between 1993 and 2017, Denmark was one of the largest oil exporting countries in Europe having gained this position from its share in the highly prolific Danish Central Graben. However, outside the Central Graben few prospects have been adequately mapped, due to a lack of data in these socalled ‘white areas.’ As such, their potential for hydrocarbon accumulation remains uncertain. This paper presents an update of the prospect and play types in this area outside the Danish Central Graben, east of 6°15´E longitude (Fig. 1), based on results from the last 30 years of exploration activities. The paper is part of a resource assessment made by the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS) to the Danish Energy Agency (Schovsbo & Jakobsen 2017) and is an update of a former review of the area made in 1987 (Thomsen et al. 1987). The succeeding exploration efforts have not changed the overall low expectation for the play types in the area. Here, we show that an uncertain resource is associated with both the Zechstein carbonate play in the North German Basin and the Upper Triassic – Lower Jurassic sandstone and lower Palaeozoic shale gas plays in northern Jylland. However, questions remain as to the source of hydrocarbons in the western offshore area. Specifically, we are unable to confirm (or refute) whether these structures are sourced via long-distance migration of hydrocarbons from the Danish Central Graben.


*Corresponding Author | Email:

Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS), Øster Voldgade 10, DK-1350, Copenhagen K, Denmark.




Schovsbo, S. & Jakobsen, F. 2018: Review of hydrocarbon potential in East Denmark following 30 years of exploration activites. Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland Bulletin 43, e2019430105.


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Date recieved: 17/01/2019

Date accepted: 03/05/2019

First published online: 17/06/2019


Hydrocarbons . Danish Central Graben . Zeichstein carbonate . Triassic . Jurassic