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Geological, Geochemical and Geophysical Characteristics of the Devonian Oil Shales in Central Mackenzie Valley, NWT, Canada

Enachescu, Michael; Price, Paul; Hogg, John; Kierulf, Fred; Cooper, Murray

A significant land posting and bidding event has occurred in Canada's north near the Arctic Circle. During the 2011-2012 period over 1 million hectares (2. 5 million acres) were licensed in a region within the Northwest Territories of Canada called the Central Mackenzie Valley (CMV). A combined 624 Million dollars (CDN) were pledged as work commitments for unconventional oil shale exploration.

Within the CMV a well-developed and extensive Paleozoic basin had seen significant exploration for conventional oil and gas resources. While exploring this basin two highly prospective Mid to Upper Devonian organic rich shales were delineated at depths of 100 to over 2400 m. One of these shales has been identified by rock geochemistry as the source rock for the giant conventional Norman Wells Oil field (greater than 300MMBbls recoverable).

These shales, the Canol Formation and Bluefish Member, have excellent total porosity (8% to more than 16%), high total organic carbon (6% and greater), very low clay content, high silica content and low bound water, all of which makes them excellent candidates for oil shale development using horizontal wells and multi-staged fracture technology. The main target on the MGM's operated exploration licences is the Canol Shale with its thickness up to 130 m. This paper will discuss the geological, geochemical and geophysical characteristics of the two shale sections and present some preliminary results from a 2012 vertical well drilling, coring and testing program.


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90163©2013AAPG 2013 Annual Convention and Exhibition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, May 19-22, 2013