Central European Oil and Gas Basin

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Central European Oil and Gas Basin


a basin in the USSR (Latvian SSR, Lithuanian SSR, and Kaliningrad Oblast in the RSFSR), the Polish People’s Republic, the German Democratic Republic, the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG), Denmark, the Netherlands, Great Britain, and the Baltic and North seas.

The Central European Oil and Gas Basin stretches 1,550 km from west to east and as much as 1,150 km from south to north, reaching as far north as 62°N lat. It is associated with a large pericraton bounded on the north by the Norwegian Sea, on the west, south, and northeast by the Caledonian folded structures of Great Britain and Norway, and on the east and southeast by the Baltic Shield and Byelorussian Anteclise of the Eastern European Platform. The pericraton is filled with Paleozoic, Mesozoic, and Cenozoic sediments more than 10 km thick. Salt-bearing Upper Permian (Zechstein) deposits occur over most of the basin in the form of various salt structures, such as salt domes and ridges. Oil and gas deposits occur in platform uplifts and salt domes. The principal oil pools are associated with Cambrian, Jurassic, Cretaceous, and Paleogenic sediments, and natural gas pools with the Lower Permian (red mud sill) and Triassic.

The first deposit was discovered near Hanover in 1858. In the 1960’s large quantities of oil and gas were found along the Baltic coast, in the Netherlands, and in the North Sea.

In the North Sea the total recoverable reserves of oil are estimated at 4.2 billion tons, and total recoverable reserves of natural gas at 4 trillion cu m. In the FRG and the Netherlands, the un-recovered reserves of oil are estimated at 114 million tons, and the unrecovered reserves of natural gas at 2.5 trillion cu m (1975).

The largest oil deposits are under the North Sea, notably at the Brent (335 million tons of commercial reserves), Ekofisk (310 million tons), Forties (250 million tons), and Hutton (134 million tons) deposits. Large natural-gas deposits are in the Netherlands and North Sea, notably at the Groningen (1.648 trillion cu m), Leman Bank (340 billion cu m), Frigg (311 billion cu m), and Indefatigable (226 billion cu m) deposits.

The Central European Oil and Gas Basin yields heavy, light, and medium crudes, with a density of 0.85 g/cm3 predominantly in the North Sea deposits; the sulfur content is low to medium. The natural gases are primarily methanes; to the southeast, however, they contain increasing amounts of nitrogen, eventually becoming almost pure nitrogen.


Uspenskaia, N. Iu., and N. N. Tauson. Neftegazonosnye provintsii i oblasti zarubezhnykh stran. Moscow, 1972.
Mestorozhdeniia nefti i gaza Severo-Zapadnoevropeiskoi neftegazonosnoiprovintsii. Moscow, 1975.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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