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Chapter 7

Hydrocarbon finds in the Arctic basins: discovery history, discovered


resources and petroleum systems

KENNETH J. CHEW1,2* & DIDIER ARBOUILLE1


1
IHS 24 Chemin de la Mairie, 1258 Perly, Geneva, Switzerland
2
Present address: Morenish Mews, By Killin, Perthshire, Scotland
*Corresponding author (e-mail: ken@morenishmews.com)

Abstract: Over the past 75 years, hydrocarbon exploration of Arctic regions north of the Arctic Circle (668N) has yielded some 450
discoveries which collectively account for 2.5% of global conventional liquids discovered to date and 15.5% of the world’s discovered
conventional natural gas. Accumulations occur in rocks ranging from Cambrian to Pleistocene in age but 94% of all Arctic hydrocarbon
resources occur in clastic reservoirs of Mesozoic age. Although discoveries have been reported from 15 different basins onshore and
offshore Alaska, Canada, Norway and Russia, 75% of all discovered resources are located in the portion of Russia’s Western Siberia
Basin that lies north of 668N. Hydrocarbon accumulations discovered in the Arctic region have been generated from nearly 40 different
petroleum systems. The main elements of these petroleum systems such as sources, reservoirs and seals are described and the chronology
of these depositional events is summarized in two chronologic charts representing the Eastern and Western hemispheres.

This article focuses on the discovered petroleum resources of the hydrocarbons. The Baffin Basin, offshore West Greenland, is the
Arctic that occur in conventional accumulations. First we deal with only basin in which a stratigraphic test has been drilled but in
the history of drilling and discovery and then summarize the re- which no hydrocarbon exploration has taken place. The location
sources discovered and their distribution by reservoir age. Finally of these provinces is indicated in Figure 7.1. To the end of
we describe, basin-by-basin, the petroleum systems in which these October 2008, more than 2000 new-field wildcat wells and 260
discoveries occur: the groupings of source-reservoir-seal. stratigraphic tests are known to have been drilled north of 668N,
Petroleum exploration of the Arctic region north of the Arctic resulting in some 450 hydrocarbon discoveries.
Circle commenced in the mid 1930s, reaching a peak in the The trends in onshore and offshore discovery, by country, are
1970s and 1980s. This study considers only that portion of basin illustrated in Figure 7.2.
exploration that has taken place north of the Arctic Circle (668N). Onshore (Fig. 7.2a), some early exploration for fuel supplies
A number of basins included in this analysis extend well south of (Russia) and by the US Navy during and immediately after the
668N but inclusion of the results from the southern portions of Second World War resulted in some discoveries but these occurred
these basins would distort the resultant view of Arctic exploration because of exceptional circumstances. The first results from con-
both in terms of discovery numbers and distribution and in terms of ventional onshore exploration were achieved in Canada in 1960
the resources discovered. The Western Siberia Basin, for example, with the peak period for discovery running through the 1970s
is oil-prone south of 668N and gas-prone within the Arctic region. and 1980s. This was brought to an abrupt halt by the dissolution
Oil resources discovered south of the Arctic Circle in the Western of the USSR in 1991. The rate of onshore discovery on Alaska’s
Siberia Basin alone are more than twice those of all liquid North Slope has been relatively constant, probably in part due to
resources discovered north of the Arctic Circle to date. This basin the long lead times required to plan and access drilling sites by
also contains over 670 discoveries south of 668N, compared with ice road. The pattern of successful exploration onshore Canada
some 450 discoveries made to date in the entire Arctic region appears to be more closely related to periods of increased and
north of the Arctic Circle. The data upon which the study is depressed oil price.
based come from three data sets that have been built and main- Canada also led the way in offshore discovery (Fig. 7.2b),
tained by IHS over the past three decades: wells; fields and unde- although a substantial portion of North American offshore explora-
veloped discoveries; and geological provinces. tion has been done from artificial islands and ice islands. The first
The resource estimates used to compute discovered resources success in the Norwegian Barents Sea was not achieved until 1981
by country, basin, lithology and age were obtained by summing but since that time Norway has dominated offshore Arctic dis-
estimates of proven plus probable technically recoverable oil, covery. Offshore discoveries account for 26% of all Arctic
condensate and natural gas that are recorded for each field/ discoveries.
undeveloped discovery and all significant reservoirs within each The earliest Arctic drilling appears to have taken place on the
field/discovery. Throughout the article, the term ‘liquids’ refers southern shore of Russia’s Laptev Sea, in the vicinity of Nordvik
to oil plus condensate. Natural gas is converted to oil/liquids in Bay in Eastern Siberia. Oil seeps had been known from this
the ratio such that 6000 standard cubic feet of gas is equivalent region since the eighteenth century, but exploration activity com-
to 1 barrel of oil/liquids. menced in earnest in the 1930s when the Soviet government
attempted to develop the NE Passage from the Russian Far East.
If this was to be accomplished, supply bases with supplies of
The petroleum exploration history of the Arctic basins hydrocarbons and coal would be required en route (Victor
Myakishev pers. comm.). The small Nordvik oil discovery was
A total of 38 geological provinces north of 668N that are deemed to made in 1943 and three other oil/gas discoveries were made
be prospective for hydrocarbon occurrence have been investigated during the 1940s but, following Stalin’s death in 1954, most of
by drilling (excluding those drilled only by the various Ocean the NE Passage projects were abandoned and exploration ceased
Drilling Projects). Of these, 37 have been drilled in search of as well. The discoveries were never developed.

From: Spencer, A. M., Embry, A. F., Gautier, D. L., Stoupakova, A. V. & Sørensen, K. (eds) Arctic Petroleum Geology. Geological Society, London, Memoirs,
35, 131– 144. 0435-4052/11/$15.00 # The Geological Society of London 2011. DOI: 10.1144/M35.7
132 K. J. CHEW & D. ARBOUILLE

Fig. 7.1. Geological provinces of the Arctic Region.


CHAPTER 7 RESOURCES OF ARCTIC OIL AND GAS FIELDS 133

(a) 25 808. It was not long, however, before techniques were found to
Russia Onshore drill offshore by flooding and freezing sea ice until it was thick
Norway Onshore enough to support the weight of a small conventional land rig.
20
Canada Onshore
Offshore discoveries and the appraisal of the offshore extensions
of onshore discoveries followed quickly (Morrell et al. 1995).
Number of Discoveries

USA Onshore
The history of Norwegian Arctic exploration is almost exclu-
15
sively that of offshore exploration in the extreme climatic con-
ditions of the Barents Sea. Nevertheless, the first Arctic test of
10
hydrocarbons (gas) was made onshore Svalbard (Spitsbergen) by
the Tromsobreen II well in the Vestspitsbergen Trough in 1977
and minor shows of oil and gas had also been encountered in
5 one of the two earliest wells drilled on Spitsbergen, in the mid
1960s.
The first offshore well in the Norwegian Barents Sea was drilled
0 in 1980 and the first offshore discovery (Askeladd) made in 1981.
Hydrocarbon shows indicative of a petroleum-generating system
40

45

50

55

60

65

70

75

80

85

90

95

00

05
19

19

19

19

19

19

19

19

19

19

19

19

20

20
have also been found in Greenland’s West Greenland Basin,
(b) 25 although no discoveries have been made. A gas kick was reported
Russia Offshore from one of three offshore wells drilled in 1976– 1977. A number
Norway Offshore
of stratigraphic tests drilled on the Nuussuaq Peninsula in the mid
20 1990s also reported shows of oil and gas.
Canada Offshore
Number of Discoveries

USA Offshore
15

Discovered resources
10
In all, a total of 447 significant oil and gas discoveries had been
reported north of 668N by the end of October 2008. With the
5
exception of three extremely minor discoveries, the discoveries
are spread across 15 basins. The number of discoveries, number
of new-field wildcat wells drilled to make these discoveries and
0 the percentage success rate for each of these basins is presented
in Table 7.1. Note that, as a number of the early wells drilled
40

45

50

55

60

65

70

75

80

85

90

95

00

05
19

19

19

19

19

19

19

19

19

19

19

19

20

20

are in all probability missing from the IHS well data set, especially
Fig. 7.2. (a) Annual number of onshore hydrocarbon discoveries north of 668N. in Arctic Russia, the number of new-field wildcats is therefore the
(b) Annual number of offshore hydrocarbon discoveries north of 668N. minimum number of wells drilled and the percentage success rate
is therefore a maximum.
Success rates in the most intensively drilled basins (North Slope;
In both of the two main Russian basins, the first Arctic discov- Timan –Pechora; Western Siberia) are very similar, ranging from
eries in 1962 resulted from the gradual northward spread of 19 to 22%. The principal offshore basins show most of the
exploration from the main basin areas to the south. Offshore highest success rates (with the exception of the portion of the Tron-
exploration commenced in 1982 on the offshore shelf of the delag Platform that lies north of 668N). This is assumed to reflect
Timan –Pechora Basin but by 1987 had extended north from the fact that exploration only commenced in the 1980s and bene-
Western Siberia into the Kara Sea (Rusanovskoye gas discovery) fited from high-quality marine seismic.
and the following year the first deepwater Russian well, in the Of the 447 discoveries, 11 are super-giant fields with estimated
East Barents Sea Basin, resulted in the discovery of the super-giant recoverable resources in excess of 5 billion barrels of oil equival-
Shtokmanovskoye Field. ent (boe). The first to be discovered was Zapolyarnoye in the
Exploration of the Alaskan North Slope commenced during the Western Siberia Basin in 1965 and like the other eight Western
Second World War (1944) and continued until 1952. It was con- Siberia super-giant fields it is predominantly a gas-condensate
ducted by the US Navy and resulted in a number of discoveries field. The only super-giant fields to have been found outside
of which Umiat (1946) was the first. Private company exploration Western Siberia are Shtokmanovskoye (East Barents Sea Basin)
did not commence until 1964, culminating in the discovery of the and the Prudhoe Bay Field on Alaska’s North Slope (the only
super-giant Prudhoe Bay Field in 1968. super-giant oil field).
In Canada, exploration moved northwards from the established In addition to the super-giants, 54 giant fields between 500
producing area of the southern Mackenzie Valley. The earliest dis- million and 5 billion boe recoverable have been discovered. The
coveries were made in the Eagle Plain Basin from 1960 onwards, first giants were found in 1962 in the Timan –Pechora (Usinskoye)
Chance being the first. The exploration of the Mackenzie Delta and Western Siberia (Tavovskoye) basins. Of the 54 giant fields,
commenced in 1969, the first discovery being made in 1970 Russia accounts for 43, the USA for seven and Canada and
(Atkinson). Exploration offshore in the Beaufort Sea commenced Norway for two each. Details of each of these giant and super-giant
in 1973 with the first discoveries being made in 1976. fields are given in Table 7.2 and their locations are indicated in
Meanwhile, far to the north, exploration of the Canadian Arctic Figure 7.3.
Islands had already commenced. The first well was spudded on IHS estimates that proven plus probable technically recoverable
Melville Island in the Arctic Fold Belt in 1961 with the first resources discovered north of 668N by the end of October 2008
Sverdrup Basin well being completed in 1969. The first Arctic amounted to some 61 billion barrels of oil and condensate and
Island discovery, Drake Point, was also made in the Sverdrup 1615 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. This represents some
Basin in 1969 on the Sabine Peninsula of Melville Island. Three 2.5% of global conventional liquids discovered to date and
years later the Romulus discovery was made on Ellesmere Island 15.5% of the world’s discovered conventional natural gas. The
at 798510 N and this remains the world’s most northerly discovery, resource distribution (Fig. 7.4) is dominated by two countries:
although other wells have been drilled on Ellesmere Island north of Russia (gas and liquids) and the USA (liquids).
134 K. J. CHEW & D. ARBOUILLE

Table 7.1. Drilling, discovery and success by basin

Basin Countries New-field wildcats Earliest reported Stratigraphic Discoveries First Percentage Average
drilled (minimum) new-field tests discovery success discovery size
wildcat completion (maximum) (million boe)

North Slope USA 317 1946 7 61 1946 19.2 489


Arctic Fold Belt Canada 23 1962 1 1 1974 4.3 6
Eagle Plain Canada 25 1958 3 1960 12.0 7
Mackenzie Delta Canada 196 1966 1 59 1970 30.1 53
Northern Interior Platform Canada 91 1960 5 1974 5.5 24
Sverdrup Canada 85 1969 14 19 1969 22.4 161
Trondelag Platform Norway 12 1983 2 1 2004 8.3 72
Voring Norway 26 1985 8 11 1992 42.3 124
West Barents Shelf Edge Norway 17 1980 16 4 1982 23.5 35
Barents Sea Platform Norway; Russia 53 1980 84 21 1981 39.6 92
East Barents Sea Russia 13 1983 1 5 1983 38.5 4536
Lena–Anabar Russia 13 1943 4 1943 30.8 4
Timan–Pechora Russia 646 1953 84 142 1962 22.0 113
Western Siberia Russia 426 1962 12 92 1962 21.6 2699
Yenisey– Khatanga Russia 28 1964 2 16 1965 57.1 218

Discovered liquids are concentrated in three hydrocarbon pro- age. As in the case of Arctic Canada, Jurassic rocks form the
vinces: the Alaskan North Slope and Russia’s Western Siberia dominant reservoirs (66%).
and Timan – Pechora basins (Fig. 7.5). Russia, however, dominates Despite its size and geological diversity, the Russian Arctic is
the distribution of natural gas. The super-giant Shtokmanovskoye also dominated by rocks of a single age, in this case the Cretaceous
Field in the East Barents Sea Basin accounts for almost 8% of all (85%). Jurassic rocks are also prominent (9%) but reservoirs of
discovered gas resources but the truly dominant province is the Triassic age account for a smaller proportion of hydrocarbons
Western Siberia Basin in which the resources discovered north (0.4%) than in any other region. The other notable feature of the
of 668N represent 84% of all gas discovered in the Arctic and Russian Arctic is the relatively high percentage of hydrocarbons
13% of the world’s conventional natural gas resources (Fig. 7.5). (5%) located in Upper Palaeozoic reservoirs. The absolute
volumes of estimated discovered liquids and natural gas by
country and reservoir age are indicated in Table 7.3.

The geology of resource distribution

Some 24% (c. 3.3 billion barrels) of Russian liquids are found in Petroleum systems: the IHS IRIS21 petroleum-geological
carbonate reservoirs of the Timan –Pechora Basin. Elsewhere, model
over 99% of all liquid resources occur in clastic sediments. The
same is true for gas with the exception of the 1.2% of Russian The IHS IRIS21 Exploration and Production (E&P) database
gas that occurs in the carbonate reservoirs of the Timan – includes a general-purpose petroleum geological model (http://
Pechora Basin. energy.ihs.com/Products/Iris21/index.htm). The model was
Reservoirs range in age from Pleistocene, in Canada’s Macken- designed to describe petroleum-geological information in a coher-
zie Delta, to the Cambrian rocks of Canada’s Northern Interior ent and consistent manner throughout the world, so that compari-
Platform. Lower Palaeozoic reservoirs are absent from Alaska and son of the various elements can be made on a like-for-like basis
Norwegian waters while no Cenozoic reservoirs are known from (Chew 1995).
the Russian Arctic. The majority of resources occur in Mesozoic The database contains many elements: wells; hydrocarbon
reservoirs in all four countries but there are significant regional accumulations (reservoirs); fields; stratigraphic units; mega-
variations in the ages of these Mesozoic reservoirs (Fig. 7.6). sequences; plays; petroleum systems; and geological provinces.
Overall, some 94% of resources occur in Mesozoic reservoirs, It should be noted that the foregoing list consists of two types
5% in Palaeozoic reservoirs, with Upper Palaeozoic rocks account- of entity: those with a physical existence (wells; reservoirs) and
ing for over 90% of the Palaeozoic hydrocarbons, and less than conceptual entities (the remainder) whose location, dimensions
1% in Cenozoic reservoirs. The unique feature of Alaska is that and characteristics will depend entirely upon how they are
over half (55%) of all hydrocarbons occur in Triassic reservoirs defined within the database model. (The database also contains
with Cretaceous reservoirs (36%) accounting for the bulk of the items that help describe these elements: images; bibliographic
remaining hydrocarbons. With only 2.9% of hydrocarbons found references.)
in Jurassic reservoirs, this also sets it apart from the other Arctic In practice, primary information tends to become available at
regions. Indeed in Alaska more hydrocarbons occur in Upper the level of the physical objects: wells and reservoirs. The preced-
Palaeozoic reservoirs (3.6%) than in the Jurassic. ing portion of the paper, which describes the exploration history
The Mackenzie Delta accounts for the distinctive feature of of the Arctic basins, is based on a database content of 2083 new-
Arctic Canada resource distribution, namely the high proportion field wildcat wells, 262 stratigraphic test wells and 447 fields/
of resources (34%) that are found in Cenozoic reservoirs. Meso- discoveries containing 1810 reservoirs.
zoic reservoirs are dominated by those of Jurassic age (47% of Within the same area, north of the Arctic Circle, the database
all hydrocarbon occurrence) while Palaeozoic reservoirs (3%) also describes 1096 lithostratigraphic units, 80 megasequences,
are dominated by those of the Lower Palaeozoic. 135 exploration plays and 39 petroleum systems. It also contains
The Norwegian Arctic is essentially a Mesozoic province, with more than 2650 bibliographic references to geological and pet-
99.6% of all discovered hydrocarbons occurring in rocks of that roleum exploration studies within the area.
CHAPTER 7 RESOURCES OF ARCTIC OIL AND GAS FIELDS 135

Table 7.2. Giant and super-giant fields of the Arctic region

Country Basin Field Hydrocarbons O, Production status On/ Discovery Liquid Natural gas
oil; G, gas; C, offshore year resource resource
condensate (billion bbl) (billion boe)

Canada Sverdrup Drake Point G, C, O Undeveloped Onshore 1969 0.00 0.88


Sverdrup Hecla G, O Appraising Shelf 1972 0.01 0.50
Norway Barents Sea Platform Snohvit G, C, O Producing Deep water 1984 0.11 0.57
Voring Norne O, G, C Producing Deep water 1992 0.58 0.12
Russia East Barents Sea Ledovoye (Barents) G, C Appraising Deep water 1991 0.01 0.52
East Barents Sea Shtokmanovskoye G, C Awaiting devel Deep water 1988 0.19 21.13
Timan– Pechora Dolginskoye O, G Appraising Shelf 1999 0.66 0.03
Timan– Pechora Kharyaginskoye O, G Producing Onshore 1970 1.11 0.09
Timan– Pechora Khylchuyuskoye Yuzhnoye O, G Producing Onshore 1981 0.49 0.05
Timan– Pechora Kumzhinskoye G, C Developing Shelf 1975 0.03 0.54
Timan– Pechora Layavozhskoye G, C, O Developing Onshore 1969 0.12 0.80
Timan– Pechora Toboysk –Myadeyskoye O, G Awaiting devel Onshore 1984 0.60 0.02
Timan– Pechora Usinskoye O, G Producing Onshore 1962 1.65 0.06
Timan– Pechora Vaneyvisskoye G, C, O Awaiting devel Onshore 1973 0.04 0.49
Timan– Pechora Vozeyskoye O, G, C Producing Onshore 1973 1.00 0.10
Western Siberia Antipayutinskoye G Awaiting devel Onshore 1978 0.00 0.84
Western Siberia Arkticheskoye G, C, O Awaiting devel Onshore 1968 0.08 1.58
Western Siberia Bovanenkovskoye G, C, O Developing Onshore 1971 0.50 25.03
Western Siberia Geofizicheskoye G, C, O Awaiting devel Shelf 1975 0.04 0.81
Western Siberia Kamennomysskoye Severnoye G Appraising Shelf 2000 0.00 1.76
Western Siberia Kamennomysskoye–More G Appraising Shelf 2000 0.00 2.88
Western Siberia Khalmerpayutinskoye G, C Awaiting devel Onshore 1989 0.10 1.14
Western Siberia Kharasaveyskoye G, C Developing Shelf 1974 0.25 7.22
Western Siberia Kruzenshternskoye G, C Awaiting devel Onshore 1976 0.01 5.51
Western Siberia Malyginskoye G, C Awaiting devel Onshore 1985 0.15 2.51
Western Siberia Medvezhye G, C Producing Onshore 1967 0.03 13.36
Western Siberia Messoyakhskoye Vostochnoye G, C, O Awaiting devel Onshore 1989 0.25 0.34
Western Siberia Messoyakhskoye Yuzhnoye G, C Developing Onshore 1986 0.05 0.55
Western Siberia Messoyakhskoye Zapadnoye O, G Awaiting devel Onshore 1986 0.41 0.26
Western Siberia Nakhodkinskoye G, O Producing Onshore 1972 0.03 1.08
Western Siberia Novoportovskoye O, G, C Awaiting devel Onshore 1964 1.71 1.29
Western Siberia Nurminskoye G, C, O Developing Onshore 1970 0.04 1.02
Western Siberia Pyakyakhinskoye G, C, O Awaiting devel Onshore 1989 0.29 0.48
Western Siberia Rostovtsevskoye G, C, O Temp shut-in Onshore 1986 0.25 0.40
Western Siberia Rusanovskoye (Kara) G, C Appraising Shelf 1987 0.02 1.37
Western Siberia Russkoye (Yamal–Nenets) O, G Awaiting devel Onshore 1968 2.99 0.28
Western Siberia Salmanovskoye G, C, O Developing Onshore 1979 0.12 2.78
Western Siberia Samburgskoye G, C, O Producing Onshore 1975 0.36 0.75
Western Siberia Seyakhinskoye Zapadnoye G, C Developing Onshore 1988 0.02 0.55
Western Siberia Tagulskoye (Krasnoyarsk) O, G Appraising Onshore 1988 0.32 0.25
Western Siberia Tambeyskoye Severnoye G, C Awaiting devel Onshore 1982 0.24 4.08
Western Siberia Tambeyskoye Yuzhnoye G, C Developing Onshore 1974 0.31 5.81
Western Siberia Tambeyskoye Zapadnoye G, C, O Awaiting devel Onshore 1985 0.20 0.60
Western Siberia Tasiyskoye G, C Awaiting devel Onshore 1987 0.14 2.13
Western Siberia Tazovskoye G, C, O Producing Onshore 1962 0.32 0.68
Western Siberia Tota– Yakhinskoye G Awaiting devel Onshore 1984 0.00 0.51
Western Siberia Urengoyskoye G, C, O Producing Onshore 1966 4.97 63.60
Western Siberia Urengoyskoye Severnoye G, C, O Producing Onshore 1970 0.31 5.34
Western Siberia Urengoyskoye Vostochnoye G, C, O Producing Onshore 1978 0.37 1.48
Western Siberia Vankorskoye O, G Appraising Onshore 1990 3.21 0.23
Western Siberia Verkhne– Tiuteyskoye G Developing Onshore 1982 0.00 0.63
Western Siberia Yamburgskoye G, C, O Producing Onshore 1969 1.00 36.98
Western Siberia Yaro –Yakhinskoye G, C, O Producing Onshore 1984 0.36 1.08
Western Siberia Yurkharovskoye G, C, O Producing Onshore 1970 0.16 2.98
Western Siberia Zapolyarnoye G, C, O Producing Onshore 1965 1.17 20.72
Yenisey –Khatanga Pelyatkinskoye G, C Producing Onshore 1969 0.06 1.39
Yenisey –Khatanga Soleninskoye Severnoye G, C Producing Onshore 1968 0.01 0.75
USA North Slope Alpine O, G Producing Onshore 1994 0.48 0.07
North Slope Burger G, C Undeveloped Shelf 1990 0.72 2.33
North Slope Endicott O, G Producing Shelf 1978 0.58 0.11
North Slope Kuparuk River O, G Producing Onshore 1969 2.73 0.55
North Slope Milne Point O, G Producing Onshore 1969 0.58 0.03
North Slope Point McIntyre O, G Producing Shelf 1988 0.45 0.08
North Slope Point Thomson G, C Appraising Onshore 1977 0.20 1.33
North Slope Prudhoe Bay O, G, C Producing Onshore 1968 14.32 1.73
136 K. J. CHEW & D. ARBOUILLE

Fig. 7.3. Location of giant hydrocarbon discoveries north of 668N.


CHAPTER 7 RESOURCES OF ARCTIC OIL AND GAS FIELDS 137

250 000
Liquids (oil + condensate)
Natural Gas
200 000
Million Barrels Oil Equivalent

150 000

100 000

50 000

0
United States Canada Norway Russia

Fig. 7.4. Proven plus probable discovered Arctic resources, by country. Fig. 7.6. Percentage distribution of proven plus probable discovered resource
volumes by reservoir age.

It is important to note that the recorded plays and petroleum chapter presents information about these ‘proven’ petroleum
systems, for example, are not extracted from the published litera- systems. It does not cover those basins in which there has been
ture but are created by IHS according to the definitions of each of exploration drilling and in which hydrocarbons are known to
these conceptual entities as they are contained and described have been generated but in which no significant accumulation
within the petroleum geological model (see Chew 1995, pp. 16– has so far been discovered.
19). The creation of each play and petroleum system reported For most of these proven petroleum systems, it is known that a
within the database is therefore based largely on the primary infor- particular pod of active source rock has generated the hydrocar-
mation that is reported at the well and reservoir level. bons in an accumulation. We summarize the main elements of
The petroleum system naming convention used within IRIS21 is these petroleum systems such as sources, reservoirs and seals,
outlined below and follows closely the recommendations of and the chronology of these depositional events, starting with
Magoon & Dow (1994). The petroleum system name incorporates basins located in the Western Hemisphere followed by those of
the name of the most significant source rock(s) followed, after a the Eastern Hemisphere.
dash, by the name of the most significant reservoir rock(s). If the To summarize the depositional history of the source –reservoir –
same lithostratigraphic or chronostratigraphic unit represents seal systems, and to aid comparison of the timing of depositional
both source and reservoir, these names are repeated, separated events between basins, the chronostratigraphic ranges of key
by a dash. A space is placed before and after the hyphen. This is depositional events for each proven petroleum system in basins
to distinguish from the use of a dash to indicate a range (e.g. in which hydrocarbon accumulations have been discovered have
Upper Jurassic –Lower Cretaceous). When there are two or more been plotted on Figures 7.7 (Western Hemisphere) and 7.8
significant source or reservoir rocks, this is indicated by a slash (Eastern Hemisphere).
(/) between the two.

Western Hemisphere
Petroleum systems of the Arctic basins
North Slope Basin. Hydrocarbon accumulations in the North Slope
Hydrocarbon accumulations discovered in the Arctic region have Basin were sourced by five different petroleum systems. These are
been generated from nearly 40 different petroleum systems. This the Shublik/Hue Shale – Ivishak, the Kingak Shale – Alpine

30 000
226 000
Liquids (oil + condensate)
million boe
Natural Gas
25 000
Million Barrels Oil Equivalent

20 000

15 000

10 000

5 000

0
e lt n a tf up g e tf a r ra ria a
op Be lai elt rP dr fo
rm rin dg aP Se ba ho be ng
h Sl ld leP ie D terio er lat Vo lf E s Se nts Ana ec Si ata
rt Fo g z v P e e - -P n h
No Ea en n S g Sh t ar na an ter y-K
cti
c
ck nI ela ts ren st B Le es ise
Ar Ma er nd en Ba Tim Fig. 7.5. Proven plus probable discovered Arctic
orth ro ar Ea W
Yen
N T B
W resources, by basin.
138 K. J. CHEW & D. ARBOUILLE

Table 7.3. Discovered liquids and natural gas by reservoir age Cretaceous. It lacks commercial oil accumulations but is respon-
sible for the gas accumulations in the East Barrow, South
Billion boe USA Canada Norway Russia Total Barrow and Walakpa fields. The lowermost Jurassic sandstone
body of the Kingak Shale is termed Barrow Sandstone and is a
Cenozoic Liquids 0.66 1.03 0.00 0.00 1.69 proven gas reservoir.
Natural gas 0.02 0.80 0.01 0.00 0.83
Cretaceous Liquids 6.00 0.09 0.07 20.96 27.12 Brooks Range Province. A nonconventional petroleum system is
Natural gas 4.61 0.51 0.56 227.06 232.74 known in the Brooks Range Province and comprises gas-prone
Jurassic Liquids 0.76 0.46 1.04 1.36 3.62 shale deposits that are mined in the Red Dog district. The Red
Natural gas 0.11 2.07 1.23 24.61 28.02 Dog mining district is located in the western Brooks Range and
Triassic Liquids 14.62 0.04 0.11 0.74 15.51 consists primarily of Palaeozoic- to Mesozoic-aged sediments
Natural gas 1.80 0.21 0.40 0.50 2.91
and volcanic rocks of continental shelf, slope and oceanic floor
Upper Palaeozoic Liquids 0.89 0.03 0.01 10.84 11.76
affinities. Eight major allochthonous, north-verging thrust
Natural gas 0.17 0.02 0.00 3.54 3.72
packages have been recognized in the region. Shale gas explora-
Lower Palaeozoic Liquids 0.00 0.03 0.00 0.81 0.84
Natural gas 0.00 0.08 0.00 0.09 0.17
tion is currently focused on the Brooks Range allochthon. This
allochthon consists of Devonian to Jurassic continental margin
Total Liquids 22.93 1.67 1.22 34.71 60.54 sediments overlain by Cretaceous flysch.
Natural gas 6.72 3.69 2.20 255.79 268.40 Shale gas has been reported in three geological units: the Ikaluk-
rok and Kivalina shales of the Mississippian Kuna Formation and a
thrust-related mélange. Both shale units were deposited in deep
water, anoxic environments on the continental slope and basin.
Sandstone, the GRZ – Nanushuk, the Lisburne (Kuna) – Barrow, The better gas source is found in the Ikalukrok shale, the Kivalina
and the Canning – Sagavanirktok petroleum systems. shale having less Total Organic Carbon (TOC) content. The
The Shublik/Hue Shale – Ivishak Petroleum System is the mélange, formed where Ikalukrok and Kivalina shales are incor-
largest petroleum system on the North Slope. The source rocks porated in shear zones of thrust faults, can contain as much gas
responsible for the large hydrocarbon accumulations found in the as the original shales.
Prudhoe Bay, Kuparuk River and Endicott fields are the Triassic
Shublik and Lower Cretaceous Hue Shale formations (Magoon Arctic Fold Belt. Only one petroleum system has been identified so
et al. 2003). These shales are also thought to serve as both far in the Arctic Fold Belt. This petroleum system is responsible for
source rocks and seals. The main reservoirs are the Lower Triassic the hydrocarbons found in the Bent Horn Field. This oil field, the
Ivishak Formation and the Lower Cretaceous Kuparuk Formation. first to have commercially produced in the Canadian Arctic region,
Other secondary reservoirs include the Carboniferous Kekiktuk lies within the highly-structured transition zone between the Arctic
Conglomerate and Lisburne Group, the Triassic Sag River For- Fold Belt and the Sverdrup Basin. The reservoir comprises the
mation, the Jurassic Nuiqsuit Sandstone and the Cretaceous organic reef limestone of the Lower Devonian Blue Fiord For-
Nanushuk, Seabee and Schrader Bluff formations. The petroleum mation and it is likely that, in Bent Horn, nearby formations in
system is thought to have been active during the Albian in the west direct contact with the reservoir, such as the encasing deep water
of the North Slope Basin and active during the Palaeogene in carbonates of the Cape Phillips Formation, are the source rocks
the east. for the hydrocarbon.
Of secondary importance is the Kingak Shale – Alpine Sand-
stone Petroleum System. The Alpine Field is the largest known Eagle Plain Basin. The presence of working petroleum systems in
accumulation of Kingak Shale oil. The Upper Jurassic Alpine the Eagle Plain Basin is established by existing reserves of both
Sandstone unit is composed of very fine to fine-grained sandstone crude oil and natural gas, but no petroleum system has been
and covers a large area along the south flank of the Barrow Arch, clearly described. There are at least seven stratigraphic intervals
from south of Smith Bay to the eastern Kuparuk River Field. that may contain significant source rock facies. These potential
The overlying Jurassic Kingak Shale Formation mainly consists source rock intervals are reported in the Cambrian–Silurian
of dark grey and black marine shale and is absent from the Road River Group, Devonian Ogilvie, Canol and Imperial for-
Barrow area southeasterly to the northern part of the Sadlerochit mations, Lower Carboniferous Ford Lake Shale, Upper Carbon-
Mountains. iferous Blackie Formation and Cretaceous Whitestone River
The GRZ – Nanushuk Petroleum System is known to be effec- Formation. The age of oil and gas maturity for those possible
tive west of Prudhoe Field in the National Petroleum Reserve, source rocks is highly variable in the basin. Trap formation
Alaska (NPRA). Source rocks are the Lower Cretaceous Pebble during the Laramide Orogeny limits maturity timing for potential
Shale, Gamma Ray Zone (GRZ) and Torok Formation. Oil gener- source rocks to the Late Cretaceous and Cenozoic.
ated from the GRZ source rocks is characterized by high API Shale of the Lower Carboniferous Ford Lake Formation is typi-
gravity (average 378) and low sulphur content (0.1%; Houseknecht cally thermally mature for oil generation and is considered to be
2004). Reservoirs are the Cretaceous Walakpa Sand, Fortress the likely source for the Hart River reservoir in the Carboniferous
Mountain, Nanushuk, Seabee and Prince Creek formations. Chance Sandstone Member (Hart River Formation). Gas and oil
The Canning – Sagavanirktok Petroleum System is respon- have been found from the Canoe River Member (lower limestone)
sible for the oil and gas accumulations in the Kuvlum and Ham- of the Hart River Formation in the Chance discovery and from the
merhead discoveries. The petroleum system is based on the Chance Sandstone Member in the Birch discovery. Gas has been
distinctive Manning oil type and reservoirs are the delta plain sand- recovered from the Lower Permian Jungle Creek Formation in
stone of the Palaeogene Sagavanirktok Formation. The Albian – the Blackie discovery and gas has also been tested in Chance
Palaeogene Canning Formation is an immature source rock in No. 1 L-08 at good flow rates (Osadetz et al. 2005).
the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) area, but it is Only minor reserves and shows of natural gas have been found
believed to be mature offshore further north, where the formation in the Cretaceous succession but these are indications of a working
is much deeper buried. The petroleum system would be limited to petroleum system. Gas has tested from the Lower Cretaceous
the area north of the Barrow Arch. Fishing Branch Formation in the Chance L-08 well. Cretaceous
The Lisburne – Barrow Petroleum System is a southern system source rocks are commonly immature but natural gas may have
involving the Carboniferous –Lower Permian Lisburne source a biogenic origin. This petroleum system could feed prospects
rock unit that was active during the Late Jurassic and Early where potential and established Mesozoic, generally Cretaceous,
CHAPTER 7 RESOURCES OF ARCTIC OIL AND GAS FIELDS 139

reservoir strata are involved in Laramide structures, across the At the top of the Cambrian section, the salt is a seal of
length and breadth of the basin. regional extent.

Mackenzie Delta. The most important petroleum systems of the Sverdrup Basin. Two petroleum systems have been identified in the
Mackenzie Delta systems are the Cenozoic Reindeer – Reindeer Sverdrup Basin. The Schei Point – Heiberg Petroleum System is
and Richards/Kugmallit – Kugmallit petroleum systems. Subordi- thought to be responsible for most of the hydrocarbon accumu-
nate systems are the Boundary Creek/Smoking Hills – Taglu Pet- lations in the basin. Proven reservoirs include Triassic, Jurassic
roleum System and the Husky/Mount Goodenough – Parsons and Cretaceous sandstones, notably the Bjorne, Roche Point,
Group Petroleum System. Heiberg, King Christian, Maclean Strait and Awingak formations.
In the Reindeer – Reindeer Petroleum System, reservoirs are Shales of the Jurassic Savik and Jameson Bay formations are seals
deltaic sandstone of the Paleocene –Eocene Reindeer Superse- for most of the underlying Heiberg reservoirs. Other seals for
quence, that is, Aklak and Taglu sequences. The overlying thick Heiberg reservoirs are intraformational shales. All of the Sverdrup
Eocene Richards Sequence provides a top seal. The Reindeer suc- discoveries, except Romulus, are located in and around the western
cession also contains rich woody debris, algae and plankton and is Sverdrup Basin over an area of approximately 400 by 150 km. The
the most likely source rock for the hydrocarbon accumulations in distribution of existing oil discoveries can be explained using a
the Taglu and Niglintgak discoveries (Esso Imperial Oil Resources regional maturity map for the Triassic Schei Point Group shales.
Ltd 2004; Shell Canada Ltd 2004). Contributions from older The presence of gas is explained by the position of gas accumu-
source rocks, such as the Paleocene Moose Channel and Upper lations relative to areas of overmature Schei Point source rocks.
Cretaceous Smoking Hill formations, are also possible. The marine shales of the Schei Point Group are in fact the thickest
The deltaic sands of the Oligocene Kugmallit Sequence are the and most widespread organic rich-shales in the basin. Among the
main reservoirs of the Richards/Kugmallit – Kugmallit Petroleum Schei Point Group, the best source rocks are the Eden Bay and
System and the Eocene Richards shales are historically identified Cape Richards members of the Upper Triassic Hoyle Bay
as the chief source rock (Brooks 1986; Snowdon 1988; Curiale Formation.
1991). Trap development is syn-depositional with respect to the One gas accumulation was found in reef limestone of the Lower
reservoir interval, involving hanging wall and footwall closure Permian Belcher Channel Formation, which may be sourced by
along major listric, down-to-basin normal faults, or compressive Visean shale of the Emma Fiord Formation and the Emma Fiord
folding in the outer reaches of the Beaufort Fold Belt. The – Belcher Channel Petroleum System has been hypothetically
Upper Oligocene to Miocene Mackenzie Bay Formation acts as defined. The Emma Fiord Formation contains alginite-rich shale,
top seal. possibly deposited in a lacustrine environment. The Permian
The Husky/Mount Goodenough – Parsons Group Petroleum Van Hauen shales are potential seals.
System comprises the Lower Cretaceous reservoir section of the
Parsons Lake gas field, in the SW Tuktoyaktuk Peninsula. The
Jurassic Husky shale succession and the Lower Cretaceous Eastern Hemisphere
Mount Goodenough Formation are both probable source rocks
responsible for the gas and natural gas liquids at Parsons Lake Trondelag Platform. Two petroleum systems, the Are – Bat/
Field [ConocoPhillips Canada (North) Ltd 2004]. The transgres- Fangst/Viking/CromerKnoll comprising the coals and coaly
sive marine shales of the Lower Cretaceous McGuire and Mount shale of the Rhaetian –Pliensbachian Are Formation and the
Goodenough formations provide effective seals. Spekk – Bat/Fangst/Viking/CromerKnoll with the euxinic shale
The Boundary Creek/Smoking Hills – Taglu Petroleum System of the Oxfordian –Berriasian Spekk Formation, have sourced all
is identified around the perimeter of the Mackenzie Delta Basin. A of the significant discoveries of the Trondelag Platform. With
third, but volumetrically minor, family of oils has been recognized the exception of the Draugen Field, most fields appear to contain
there and geochemically typed to the rich oil-prone source rocks of a mixture of hydrocarbons from both the Are and Spekk petroleum
the Cenomanian –Turonian Boundary Creek and the Santonian – systems. The mixed hydrocarbons from both systems migrated lat-
Campanian Smoking Hills formations. Palaeozoic reservoirs, erally via the Jurassic Bat and Fangst groups into fault traps.
Lower Cretaceous Parsons Group and Lower to Mid-Eocene Lateral migration of hydrocarbons was effective because both
Taglu Sequence sandstones are all noted as recipients of oil gener- the Bat and Fangst groups consist of alternating widespread sand-
ated from the Smoking Hills source. stone and shale which were block-faulted shortly after deposition
providing excellent routes for lateral hydrocarbon migration.
Northern Interior Platform. Significant discoveries that have been A third petroleum system, the Lower Triassic/Permian –
made in the basal Cambrian Mount Clark sandstone (Bele O-35, Triassic/Bat Petroleum System, is far more hypothetical but is
Lac Maunoir, Nogha, Tedji Lake K-24, Tweed Lake M-47) the only prospective petroleum system in the central part of the
proved the existence of a working Cambrian – Cambrian Pet- Trondelag Platform. It is based on oil shows in Tilje Formation
roleum System in the Northern Interior Platform. Oil-prone sandstone in the Helgeland Basin which are thought to be of terres-
source rocks rich in alginite have been identified in the Lower to trial influence. By analogy with East Greenland, these could have
Middle Cambrian Mount Cap Formation. The source of gas in been sourced from Permo-Carboniferous lacustrine shale in the
Cambrian reservoirs is problematic. Variation in hydrocarbon underlying Syn-rift sequence, but are more likely to be from
composition, anomalously high nitrogen content, and presence of Lower Permian source rocks. The main risk is the long migration
traces of helium suggests contribution from varied sources, includ- path and the problem of thick sealing halite of Late Triassic age.
ing from the Precambrian sequence. Below the base of the Cam- Porous Lower Triassic sandstone beneath the halite would be the
brian a very thick section of Proterozoic strata with dolomite has best target in this petroleum system.
effectively been identified on seismic lines. Long distance updip
migration of the bulk of the lighter hydrocarbons, possibly from Voring Basin. As on the Trondelag Platform, two known petroleum
Cambrian or younger source rocks deeper in the basin is systems, Are – Bat/Fangst/Viking/CromerKnoll and the Spekk –
also likely. Bat/Fangst/Viking/CromerKnoll/Shetland, have sourced all of
The Cambrian Mount Clarke sandstones are the principal reser- the significant discoveries on the Donna and Halten terraces of
voir rocks in the area. This formation is regionally extensive and the Voring Basin. The Rhaetian –Pliensbachian Are Formation is
must be considered as a potential reservoir throughout the whole widespread and thickly developed across the Donna and Halten
region. The Cambrian shales are effective barriers to the vertical Terraces where it has been deeply buried, often in excess of
migration of gas from the underlying basal Cambrian sandstones. 4500 m. The Spekk Formation is mature for oil generation over
140 K. J. CHEW & D. ARBOUILLE

Fig. 7.7. Comparative chart of Western Hemisphere source–reservoir–seal systems.


CHAPTER 7 RESOURCES OF ARCTIC OIL AND GAS FIELDS 141

Fig. 7.8. Comparative chart of Eastern Hemisphere source– reservoir– seal systems.
142 K. J. CHEW & D. ARBOUILLE

much of the Donna and Halten Terraces. It is especially thickly derived from Upper Permian basinal carbonate/shale and Triassic
developed in the hanging walls of the Vingleia and Bremstein marine source rocks, mainly from the Kobbe Formation. Migration
fault systems on the western side of the Halten Terrace. routes are likely to have been short as many of the sandstone and
Most fields found in the Voring Basin also appear to contain a carbonate reservoirs are likely to have been interbedded with the
mixture of hydrocarbons from both the Are and Spekk petroleum source rocks. The main period of hydrocarbon generation is
systems. The mixed hydrocarbons from both systems migrated lat- likely to have been in the Late Mesozoic, terminated by Cenozoic
erally via the porous sandstones of the Bat and Fangst Groups into and Quaternary uplift when updip re-migration to more recently
fault traps which were formed during the Bathonian to Callovian formed structures took place.
and last modified during the Turonian. Vertical migration of dry
gas generated by cracking oils in earlier reservoirs is necessary Vestspitsbergen Trough. No petroleum system has been formally
to source Upper Cretaceous reservoirs in the deeper parts of the defined in the Vestspitsbergen Trough so far. However, the exist-
Voring Basin. ence of a working petroleum system is proven by the results from
the few exploration wells drilled in the basin. In 1974, Norsk Polar
West Barents Shelf Edge. Two petroleum systems are recognized in Navigasjon A/S drilled Sarstangen 1 on the east coast of Foreland-
the West Barents Shelf Edge but at present are only known in the sundet, western Spitsbergen. The well was located in a graben with
relatively shallow fault systems around the eastern flanks of the exposed Lower Cenozoic strata. Gas was encountered in thin sand-
deep basins. Within the deep basinal areas potential Upper Jurassic stones, and from two of these a test yielded 135 Mcf/d (King
and Lower Cretaceous source rocks are at present very deeply 1975). Generally speaking, potential source rocks are Triassic
buried and are unlikely to have any remaining source potential and Jurassic marine shales. Potential reservoir could be present
even for dry gas. In the basinal areas, biogenic gas is known to in, both sandstones and carbonates from Carboniferous to Palaeo-
be present as proven in the 7316/05-1 discovery in the Vestbakken gene series. Reservoir quality in sandstones is likely to be poor in
Volcanic Province. It is not known to what extent the biogenic gas West Spitsbergen, due to quartz cementation (Harland & Spencer
is derived from bacterial activity on pre-existing thermogenic 1997).
hydrocarbons or on bacterial diagenesis of organic material
within sediments interbedded with the sandstone reservoirs. East Barents Sea Basin. One petroleum system is known in the
The Hekkingen – Sto/Knurr Petroleum System is the source of basin: the gas-prone Triassic – Upper Jurassic Petroleum
the 7019/01-1, 7119/12-3 and 7120/07-1 gas and condensate dis- System, which mainly comprises humic source rocks and intra-
coveries and the untested oil shows in well 7119/12-1. These are to formational reservoir/seal pairings. This petroleum system has
be found in Middle Jurassic Sto Formation sandstone in tilted fault mature Lower and Middle Triassic gas-prone shale source rocks.
blocks in the Ringvassoy –Loppa Fault Complex. The top seals are There also are largely immature, oil-prone Jurassic shale source
the unconformably overlying Upper Jurassic shales of the Fuglen rocks. Palaeozoic argillaceous carbonate source rocks (Devonian
and Hekkingen formations. The source of the oil, gas and conden- Domanik stratigraphic equivalent from the Timan –Pechora
sate is thought to be black, anoxic, fissile shale of the Upper Juras- Basin), if present in the basin, might contribute gas and liquids
sic Hekkingen Formation. In the deep basinal areas, these source to various reservoir rocks (Lindquist 1999). Triassic source rocks
rocks are overmature but in the marginal fault systems appear to charged Lower Triassic to Upper Jurassic reservoirs in strati-
have reached maturity between the Oligocene and Miocene. graphic traps and structural closures that were modified period-
The Kolje – Knurr/Sto Petroleum System is largely theoretical ically (Lindquist 1999). Overburden sequences in sub-basin
and, like the Hekkingen – Sto/Knurr Petroleum System is con- depocentres contain up to 2 km of Jurassic and Cretaceous rocks.
fined to the relatively shallow fault systems around the eastern Cenozoic uplift and associated pressure decrease caused the
flanks of the deep basins. The Barremian Kolje Formation shale expansion of existing gas accumulations, remigration of trapped
is gas and condensate prone. It could source the Berriasian – hydrocarbons, possible loss of seal integrity, and local halting of
Hauterivian Knurr Formation turbidite fan system which appears hydrocarbon generation.
to extend along the eastern edge of the Ringvassoy –Loppa Fault The existence of a second petroleum system, the Hekkingen –
Complex. Interbedded shales and mudstones are intraformational Sto Petroleum System, is more speculative. It consists of Upper
seals to the turbidite sandstone reservoirs. Jurassic ‘hot shales’ (notably the Upper Jurassic Hekkingen
Formation) sourcing and sealing Middle Jurassic marine sheet
Barents Sea Platform. The Hekkingen/Nordmela – Knurr/ sandstone reservoirs comprising the Sto Formation and its equiva-
Realgrunnen/Snadd Petroleum System appears to be restricted lents, structured into tilted fault blocks by Late Jurassic – Early
to the western and central parts of the Hammerfest Sub-basin Cretaceous extension. In many parts of the basin, the richest and
where sandstone of the Upper Triassic –Middle Jurassic Realgrun- most oil-prone of the source intervals, the ‘hot shales’, are barely
nen Group has been sourced with oil, gas and condensate from mature or immature for oil generation. The Hammerfest and
Upper Jurassic Hekkingen Formation euxinic shale. This reached South Barents sub-basins provide examples of this situation. In
maturity in the adjacent Tromso Sub-basin (West Barents Shelf other areas that were subject to profound Cretaceous and Early
Edge) in the tilted fault-blocks of the Ringvassoy –Loppa Fault Cenozoic subsidence, such as the axial regions of the Tromso
Complex, or in the deeper parts of the Hammerfest Sub-basin. and Bjornoya sub-basins, the Upper Jurassic will have passed
The waxy oil is probably derived from the Lower Jurassic Nord- into the gas window and beyond. It is also believed that a signifi-
mela Formation. The gas and condensate could be derived from cant portion of the charge to the Sto reservoirs has been supplied
the same source rocks at a deeper stage of burial or could be by gas-prone shale and coal of the underlying Triassic – Upper
from more deeply buried Triassic source rocks. Jurassic Petroleum System.
The Upper Palaeozoic/Triassic – Upper Palaeozoic/Triassic/ The recent Permian discovery in eastern Norway may signify a
Jurassic Petroleum System is likely to have been present in most third petroleum system, the Upper Permian – Upper Permian
parts of the Barents Sea Platform but to be overmature along its Petroleum System, operating in the basin. It comprises Upper
western margin. The oils in the Goliat, 7128/04-1 and 7228/ Permian carbonate reservoirs sourced by basinal shale of a
07-1A discoveries, oil shows in shallow cores in the Hopen similar age and sealed by overlying shale.
Hogda on the Kong Karl Platform, gas in well 7226/11-1 and
the Russian Severo-Kildinskoye Field (western flank of the Lena–Anabar Basin. In the Lena – Anabar Basin, the sedimen-
Southern Barents Depression), belong to this system. Oil-prone tary cover is 3 to 7 km thick, and includes three megase-
source rocks of Early Carboniferous, Late Permian and Triassic quences: Riphean – Lower Palaeozoic clastic and carbonate
age are known to be present over much of the area. These rocks, Middle Palaeozoic evaporites and carbonate, and Upper
CHAPTER 7 RESOURCES OF ARCTIC OIL AND GAS FIELDS 143

Palaeozoic –Lower Mesozoic clastic rocks. The main productive Jurassic succession, as the latter is regarded as such an excellent
sequences are Permian and Middle Triassic in age, and the seal. The reservoirs include clastic rocks of the Lower to Middle
future prospectivity is associated with Vendian–Lower Palaeo- Jurassic Dzhangodskaya, Vymskaya and Malyshevskaya for-
zoic, Devonian-Carboniferous, Permian and Triassic series. mations, as well as weathered basement rocks. The system is
Some minor discoveries have been made in the Khatanga Saddle overlain by the Callovian–Kimmeridgian super-regional seal
in Permian and Triassic reservoirs (Tigyanskoye Yuzhnoe, (Abalakskaya Formation).
Nordvik, Kozhevnikovskoye, Ilyinskoye). Source rocks are Silur- The Tanopchinskaya – Marresalinskaya Petroleum System
ian shale with seals of Upper Permian shale. gives rise to the super-giant gas accumulations in the Cenomanian
Marresalinskaya Formation sandstone. It also includes the major
Timan– Pechora Basin. Four petroleum systems are recognized, dry gas accumulations of the Aptian reservoirs of the upper part
comprising the Lower Palaeozoic – Lower Palaeozoic, Middle of the Tanopchinskaya Formation, overlain by the Albian Yar-
Devonian – Middle Devonian, Domanik – Lower Permian and ongskaya regional shale seal. Both the Aptian and the Cenomanian
Upper Permian – Upper Permian systems. reservoirs have direct access to intraformational source rocks. The
The Lower Palaeozoic – Lower Palaeozoic system com- super-regional Turonian –Palaeogene seal and the source rocks are
prises Ordovician – Lower Devonian source rocks with coeval car- found in coal-rich sequences of primarily Upper Tanopchinskaya
bonate reservoirs sealed by tight and salt-bearing carbonate of the Formation.
same group as well as the regional Middle Devonian Timan –
Sargayevskiy shale. Generation is thought to have begun in the Yenisey –Khatanga Basin. Two proven petroleum systems are
Late Devonian/Early Carboniferous and migration to have recognized: Dzhangodskaya/Laydinskaya –Vymskaya and
ceased by the end of the Jurassic. Yanovstanskaya –Sukhodudinskaya. The latter, which is the
The Middle Devonian – Middle Devonian system coincides richer of the two, is the lateral equivalent of the Bazhenovo –
with the Middle Devonian–Lower Frasnian megasequence. The Akhskaya system of northern Western Siberia Basin.
Givetian source rocks began generating hydrocarbons in Early/ The Dzhangodskaya/Laydinskaya – Vymskaya Petroleum
Late Carboniferous. Reservoirs are primarily clastic rocks of the System comprises source rocks in the Lower-Middle Jurassic
Middle Devonian succession (Koyvenskiy, Biyskiy, Starooskol- Zimnyaya, Levinskaya, Dzhangodskaya and Laydinskaya for-
skiy, Afoninskiy and other formations) and the lower part of mations, although the bulk of the generated hydrocarbons are
Frasnian (Pashiyskiy, Timan and Sargayevskiy formations). The thought to have come from the Dzhangodskaya and Laydinskaya
Frasnian Timan –Sargayevskiy regional seal caps the system. formations. Reservoirs comprise Middle to Upper Jurassic sand-
The Domanik – Lower Permian petroleum system comprises stones of the Vymskaya, Malyshevskaya, Sigovskaya and Derya-
Middle to Upper Devonian Frasnian and Famennian source binskaya formations, which are sealed by Middle to Upper
rocks, Upper Devonian to Lower Permian reservoirs with a Jurassic shale units of the Leontyevskaya, Tochinskaya and
major regional seal formed by Lower Permian shale and evapor- Yanovstanskaya formations. Locally, where the Tochinskaya For-
ites. Geochemical data confirm Domanik source rocks as providing mation is missing, hydrocarbons may have migrated vertically
most of the hydrocarbons found in the Timan –Pechora Basin. into sandstone of the Sigovskaya Formation, where the seal is
Generation began in the Late Carboniferous-Early Permian and the overlying shale of the Yanovstanskaya Formation. Where the
migration had ceased in the south of the basin by the end of the latter is missing, the Sigovskaya reservoir is seal by the Sukhodu-
Cretaceous. dinskaya shale. The minor hydrocarbon reserves discovered in the
The Kungurian – Upper Permian system comprises Kungurian system to date suggest that either the source rock generation poten-
source rocks, Upper Permian to Triassic reservoirs and local inter- tial is poor or that generated hydrocarbons have been lost from
bedded seal units. Generation began in the Late Jurassic and con- the system.
tinued into the Cenozoic. The system may still be active in the The Yanovstanskaya – Sukhodudinskaya Petroleum System
northern parts of the basin. comprises the Kimmeridgian–Hauterivian shales and mudstones
of the Yanovstanskaya, Nizhnekhetskaya and Sukhodudinskaya
Western Siberia Basin (South Kara– Yamal Province). Three pet- formations as the source rocks. These have provided hydrocarbons
roleum systems, Bazhenovo – Akhskaya, Dzhangodskaya – that have accumulated in the coeval and overlying Lower Creta-
Malyshevskaya and Tanopchinskaya – Marresalinskaya, are ceous reservoirs of the Nizhnekhetskaya, Sukhodudinskaya,
reported in Arctic portion of the Western Siberia Basin. In the Malokhetskaya, Yakovlevskaya and Dolganskaya formations.
Bazhenovo – Akhskaya (!) Petroleum System the Neocomian The shale of the Turonian Dorozhkovskaya Formation provides
reservoirs of the Akhskaya and the lower part of the Tanopchins- a regional top seal to the system, in addition to the local and semi-
kaya formations are charged with oil, gas and condensate regional sealing units throughout the Cretaceous sequence. Reser-
from the Upper Jurassic Bazhenovo source. The Neytinskaya voirs were sealed prior to generation, and little hydrocarbon loss
shale is the main seal of the system which separates it from the has been reported. This system is the lateral equivalent of the pro-
Tanopchinskaya – Marresalinskaya Petroleum System. Timing lific Bazhenovo-Akhskaya Petroleum System of the South Kara –
of migration, and the extent of any tertiary migration and/or Yamal Province (Western Siberia Basin).
thermal cracking of oils already in place are speculative, ranging
from Cenomanian to the end of the Cretaceous. More controversial The authors wish to acknowledge the contribution of their many IHS colleagues
is the extent to which the Bazhenovo-sourced hydrocarbons might who, over the past few decades, have developed and maintained the data sets of
have contributed to the Cenomanian and Aptian gas accumu- field, well and geological province information upon which this paper is
lations, either directly from the deeply buried and therefore gas- founded and without which it would have been impossible to produce it.
generating Bazhenovo source, or by thermal cracking and hence
tertiary migration from former oil pools in, say, Neocomian or
Aptian reservoirs. References
The Dzhangodskaya – Malyshevskaya Petroleum System
accounts for the rather limited number of accumulations discov- Brooks, P. W. 1986. Biological marker geochemistry of oils from the
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hard data are largely lacking, it has to be assumed that these Petroleum Geology, 34, 490 –505.
accumulations were sourced from one or more of the four Chew, K. J. 1995. Data modeling a general purpose petroleum geological
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Tithonian – Berriasian Bazhenovo Formation at the top of the Geological Society, London, Special Publications, 97, 13 –23.
144 K. J. CHEW & D. ARBOUILLE

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