The orientations of stress induced wellbore breakouts in the North Sea Basin are diiectionally heterogeneous. Few obvious trends are apparent. Consistent orientations can only be observed in relatively small geographic domains. In constrast, more consistent orientations are observed when the data are divided into separate chronostratigraphic intervals. We propose that the stress distribution within each domain is controlled by the superimposition of the local geological structure and the effects of palaeostress fields onto the present day tectonic stress field.

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