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Petroleum Exploration in the Canadian Arctic: Abstract
Petroleum exploration in the Canadian Arctic has only begun. Although known for some time as one of the last unexplored major sedimentary regions of the world, to date little more than reconnaissance studies have been made of its economic potential. An area the size of Texas and the entire Mid-continent region of the United States combined and geologically as diverse, this northern portion of the continent contains some of the world's greatest unexplored sedimentary basins. Upwards to 45,000 feet of sedimentary rock are present in some of these basins and numerous oil-sands and seeps indicate the presence of hydrocarbons. None of the several wells that have been drilled are strategically located to yield maximum stratigraphic data therefore more information is still obtained from measured stratigraphic sections in the numerous mountain ranges situated throughout the region.
The regional tectonic framework is presented to show the complex geologic history that the North Yukon-Lower Mackenzie portion of the area has undergone. Early depositional history has been controlled by both the Cordilleran and Franklin geosynclines and the area has, since the Cambrian, witnessed at least two complete orogenic cycles. Each of these has resulted in a large variety of sediments and structures and the final orogenic pulse, associated with the Laramide deformation, gave rise to the Richardson, Barn, British, Keele, Ogilvie, and Mackenzie mountains, as well as adjacent plains and plateaus. Underlying these latter features are thick marine sedimentary sequences that contain numerous potential petroleum source and reservoir beds. Strata of every Paleozoic and Mesozoic system are present and the great thicknesses and varied lithologies in many areas justifies one in considering it a most promising oil and gas area.
Because of the remoteness of the area and the inaccessible terrain, geologic exploration encounters many operational problems that are new to most field geologists. Helicopters have been used successfully in geologic exploration in this region and helicopter operations are discussed to show method of data collecting and most efficient use of the helicopter in order to obtain optimum results.
Acknowledgments and Associated Footnotes
1 Tulsa University, Tulsa, Oklahoma
Copyright © 2006 by the Tulsa Geological Society