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Devonian Resource Plays of British Columbian and the North West Territories: From a Global Sequence Stratigraphic and Geodynamic Context to 3-D Analysis

Evans, Kate C.; Messer, Ailsa; Sutcliffe, Owen E.; Martin, Richard M.; Harvey, Nick

Exploration for unconventional resource plays in the northern areas of Canada has been increasing over the last ten years, especially in the Horn River and Liard Basin, Cordova Embayment and Montney Play of British Columbia where up to 1,200 TCF of original gas-in-place have been estimated. A recent estimate of gas-in-place for Devonian intervals in this region has suggested 448 TCF of which 78 TCF is marketable. However, exploration in the adjacent areas in the Northwest Territories is still very limited. Common geological histories shared between these regions strongly suggest comparable unconventional opportunities also exist in the Northwest Territories.

A key control on predicting the potential extent of these resource plays is to understand the regional geology, in particular the geographic and stratigraphic distribution of organic matter, silica, and carbonate. Further to this, an understanding of tectonic, paleoceanographic and climatic controls in a regional context can also help evaluate the potential distribution of these plays. By using our global sequence stratigraphic and palinspastic plate models in conjunction with organic geochemistry and reservoir-seal datasets, the distribution of these key elements has been assessed for the Late Devonian shale resource plays in northern British Columbia and the Northwest Territories.

Further insight into the potential of these resource plays can be gained by integrating the aforementioned datatsets into 3-D depth models. These models allow an enhanced insight into key aspects of resource plays and allow further understanding of key parameters such as rock volume, maturity, pressure, temperature, depth and thickness distribution. By using well-explored petroleum system as analogues to understand key features that define the effectiveness of resource plays, predictions can be made about sweetspots in other more frontier potential shale gas/oil basins and those in the Northwest Territories.


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