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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

AAPG Bulletin


Volume: 67 (1983)

Issue: 3. (March)

First Page: 434

Last Page: 434

Title: Petroleum Exploration and Resource Potential of Offshore Newfoundland and Labrador: ABSTRACT

Author(s): Donna M. Burden, Judi Dobbin, Martin G. Sheppard

Article Type: Meeting abstract


The continental margin of Newfoundland and Labrador, encompassing a total area of 714,000 mi2 (1,849,252 km2) has been the target of exploratory activity since the early 1960s.

Exploratory drilling began on the Grand Banks in 1966 and by 1974 a total of 40 dry wells had been drilled. This lack of success, accompanied by escalating drilling costs, resulted in the curtailment of exploratory activities. In 1979 wildcat drilling resumed on the Grand Banks and the Hibernia field was discovered with the drilling of the P-15 well. This well, with an estimated flow potential of more than 20,000 BOPD, was the first oil well drilled on the Atlantic shelf of North America capable of commercial production. Truly a "giant," the Hibernia structure has a resource potential of 1.85 billion bbl of oil and 2.0 tcf of gas at a probability level of 50%. Six significant oil discoveries have been made on the Grand Banks. Of these, the Hibernia, Nautilus, Hebron, and Ben Nevis dis overies are located in highly faulted hinge zones on the western and eastern flanks of the northward plunging Avalon basin graben. The South Tempest structure is located on a ridge complex to the east of the Avalon basin. The Adolphus well drilled a salt piercement structure in the basin depocenter. The reservoirs are fluvial-deltaic and shoreline sandstones of Jurassic and Cretaceous age.

Since 1971, 25 wells drilled on the Labrador Shelf resulted in one oil and five gas discoveries. The reservoirs are Paleozoic carbonates and Lower Cretaceous, Paleocene, and Eocene sandstones. All are capping or draping basement horst blocks.

By the end of 1982, total exploratory efforts had resulted in the drilling of 86 wells and the acquisition of approximately 240,000 line-mi of marine reflection seismic. Provincial land permits on the continental margin are held by ten permittees. This land position represents 54 million acres (22 million ha.) and 133 exploratory permits. A total resource potential of these structures has been estimated at 14.7 billion bbl of oil and 88.6 tcf of gas at a 50% probability level. A commercial discovery was long in coming but the recent high success rates confirm this margin as a major frontier of enormous potential.

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