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The Canadian Atlantic margin has been an area of active drilling for more than 10 years. On the Scotian Shelf, the total number of wells drilled is now over 70, including several with significant discoveries of gas, wet gas, and light oil.
The Lower Cretaceous (Neocomian) Missisauga Formation of the Sable Island area is composed of coarse clastics of a high-constructive lobate delta system. Sandstones vary from subarkose to volcanic sublitharenite, with rare quartz arenites. They are derived from mixed sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous basement terranes on the north and northwest. Thickness variations in the clastic sequence are partly controlled by salt diapir growth. Regional marine transgression in the late Neocomian (Barremian) terminated delta progradation.
Well log analysis, binocular and petrographic examination of cutting samples and cores, and stratigraphic map analysis, based on 13 offshore wells in the vicinity of Sable Island have delineated an area in the Missisauga Formation with high petroleum potential compared to that of adjacent areas, on the basis of (1) isopach trends; (2) proximity of good reservoir rocks to mature, marine source beds; (3) maximum sandstone thicknesses and numbers; (4) numerous possibilities of structural and stratigraphic traps; and (5) predominant delta front facies, most productive elsewhere in high-constructive deltas.
Thus, despite earlier indications, from geochemical studies of source rock potential, that prospects for large accumulations of hydrocarbons are only poor to fair, the Sable Island area deserves further attention as an exploration target.
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