International Journal of Earth Sciences

, Volume 97, Issue 5, pp 1087–1100 | Cite as

Thermal history, hydrocarbon generation and migration in the Horn Graben in the Danish North Sea: a 2D basin modelling study

  • Andreas Beha
  • Rene O. Thomsen
  • Ralf Littke
Original Paper


In this study a 2D basin model has been built along a transect crossing the Horn Graben in WNW-ESE direction. The aim of the investigation was to improve the understanding of the thermal evolution of the basin and its influence on possible petroleum systems. The 2D model of the subsurface is based on one seismic line and data from two exploration wells. Both wells TD’ed in Triassic sediments. The updoming of the Ringkøbing-Fyn High began during Late Carboniferous–Early Permian. At the end of the Permian the Horn Graben became active due to regional extension. The subsequent sedimentation history from Triassic to date is well recorded by well reports. A matter of debate has been whether or not significant amounts of Pre-Permian sediments exist in this area of the North Sea. Since organic material rich Paleozoic sediments serve as source rocks in widespread areas of North Germany and the southern North Sea it would be of great importance to know whether the same deposits exist in the Horn Graben. Nielsen et al. (Bull Geol Soc Denmark Copenhagen 45:1–10, 1998) introduced a model, which shows Paleozoic sediments covering the basement at a maximum depth of 6.5 km. Assuming, Paleozoic sediments are underlying the Permian salt deposits there should be an active petroleum system present. The 2D model includes the Paleozoic source rock and tries to explain why two exploration wells have not found petroleum.


Horn Graben Danish North Sea Basin modelling Vitrinite reflectance Petroleum systems 



This study was funded by the German research foundation (DFG) within the priority programme 1135 “Dynamics of sedimentary systems under varying stress regimes: The example of the Central European basin” (grant Li 618/15). We would also like to thank the company MAERSK Oil and Gas, Denmark, for providing data and Christian Zwach, Lars Henrik Nielsen and Andrew David Carr for thorough reviews of an earlier version of this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Geology and Geochemistry of Petroleum and CoalRWTH Aachen UniversityAachenGermany
  2. 2.Maersk OilCopenhagen KDenmark

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