Two areas on the Icelandic Continental Shelf are thought to have potential for commercial accumulations of oil and gas. They are Dreki east and northeast of Iceland and Gammur on the northern insular shelf of Iceland.
Dreki includes the southern tip of the Jan Mayen microcontinent. A number of academic and governmental surveys and surveys by the industry have been made in the northern part of the Dreki Area, indicating the presence of thick continental crust there, that potentially include Jurassic and/or Cretaceous source rocks. The Jan Mayen Ridge is thought to have potential for hydrocarbon accumulations because of its geological similarity to hydrocarbon basins which were its next door neighbours prior to the opening of the northeast Atlantic Ocean basin.
The Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) for the northern part of the Dreki Area has been completed, so it is possible to grant exploration and production licences there.
Gammur is a relatively young sediment basin of about 9 million years, with a 4 km thick layer of sediments. Indications have been found of gas escaping the sediments, however, the type of gas has not been demonstrated, i.e. whether the gas is from a deep hydrocarbon source or from shallow low-temperature chemical or biochemical processes. Surface pockmarks have been found in the area, further supporting possible gas expulsion from the sea floor. An SEA has not been made yet of the Gammur Area. A recent report that gives an overview of hydrocarbon related research in the Gammur area can be accessed here.