ABSTRACT: Energy Resources, Western Arctic Alaska
Thomas C. Mowatt, C. Gibson, J. Dygas
The area of concern encompasses northwestern Alaska, including the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (NPRA), as well as adjacent regions to the south, and west to the Chukchi Sea coast between Cape Seppings and Icy Cape. Continuing evaluation and interpretation/synthesis of existing information indicate significant known and potential energy resources.
Bituminous-subbituminous coal resources are of apparently appreciable extent and enormous quantity. Considering only beds with overburden thicknesses of less than 500 ft, these resources are on the order of at least 2.7 trillion tons, in beds as much as 20 ft thick. These coals are low in ash and in sulfur content, and at least some are of coking quality. The region may contain on the order of at least 30% of the total coal resource potential of the United States.
An appreciable portion of the area is underlain by sedimentary rocks, with potential for the occurrence of oil and/or gas resources. The geological relationships suggest that gas is likely to be predominant, with subordinate oil. Several small fields have been discovered, and there are numerous hydrocarbon shows in individual wells, although the region remains relatively untested by the drill. It is not unlikely that a large quantity of coal-derived natural gas would have been generated, at least some of which might remain reservoired within the region. Somewhat more speculative are potential resources occurring as "gas hydrates" at near-surface to relatively shallow depths.
AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90097©1990 Fifth Circum-Pacific Energy and Mineral Resources Conference, Honolulu, Hawaii, July 29-August 3, 1990