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AAPG Bulletin


Exhumed Hydrocarbon Traps in East Greenland: Analogs for the Lower-Middle Jurassic Play of Northwest Europe1

Simon P. Price and Andrew G. Whitham2


Four exhumed hydrocarbon traps crop out in the Traill Ø region of East Greenland, each at the footwall crest of a fault-block formed during Early Cretaceous rifting. Former oil accumulations are indicated by a pore fill or pore lining of solid bitumen within the Jurassic sandstone-dominated Vardekløft and Olympen formations. The Vardekløft Formation is divided into an undated 
fluvial-dominated lower unit (0-520 m) and a Bajocian-Callovian upper unit (65-1020 m) deposited in a shallow-marine environment. The Oxfordian Olympen Formation (0-250 m) contains shallow-marine and fluviodeltaic deposits. The sandstones are dominantly quartzarenites, and petrographic fabrics, such as dissolved feldspar, late quartz cement, and stylolites, are consistent with burial depths in excess of 2.5 km. Porosities ranged from 7 to 27% (generally about 20%, about one-half of which was primary), and permeabilities ranged from 1 to 622 md, prior to the formation of solid bitumen. The distribution of solid bitumen in each trap can be mapped out, allowing sealing elements and original oil-water contacts to be defined. Three of the four exhumed traps (Mols Bjerge, Laplace Bjerg, and Bjørnedal) were simple one-seal structural traps. Conformable Upper Jurassic mudstone, unconformable Albian-Cenomanian mudstone, and normal faults are the three top-sealing elements. 

©Copyright 1997. The American Association of Petroleum Geologists. All rights reserved.

1Manuscript received October 4, 1995; revised manuscript received March 1, 1996; final acceptance September 17, 1996.

2Cambridge Arctic Shelf Programme, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3EQ, United Kingdom.

This work forms part of a field-based project in East Greenland for which we gratefully acknowledge past and present funding from Amoco, BP, Conoco, Enterprise Oil, Esso, JNOC, Mobil, Shell, and Texaco. In addition to numerous geologists from these companies, we would like to thank James Brodie, Flemming G. Christiansen, Andrew King, Dave Latin, David Macdonald, John Marshall, Lars Stemmerik, Simon Tull, and Nicky White for helpful discussions, and Crispin Day and Kenn Nielsen for logistical support. We are grateful to John Callomon and Simon Kelly for undertaking the ammonite identifications used in this article. Comments from Tony Spencer greatly improved an earlier version of the manuscript. In addition we would like to thank AAPG Elected Editor Kevin Biddle and Finn Surlyk, G. Bertram, and Dietmar Schumacher for judicious reviews, which further improved this article. Department of Earth Sciences Contribution No. 4582.

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