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Labrador Shelf Petroleum System: A Review, Offshore Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

Previous HitHaroldTop J. Klassen, Judith McIntyre, and Dave Hawkins
Canada-Newfoundland Offshore Petroleum Board, St. John's, NF

Labrador Shelf contains at least two Mesozoic sedimentary basins; the Hopedale Basin in the south and the Saglek Basin in the north. Both basins were formed during the opening of the present-day Atlantic Ocean. At least 10 kilometres of Mesozoic and Cenozoic sediments are present in the basins. These sediments can be divided into three megasequences that are related to different tectonic stages ranging from rift to drift to post-drift phases.

Beginning in the early 1960's and continuing until 1985 almost 124 000 kilometres of 2D seismic data were recorded. Twenty eight (28) wells have been drilled in the basins. Evidence of an active petroleum system is shown by 5 natural gas discoveries. Expressed at a probability of 50% occurrence, 120 109 m³ (4.244 1012 SCF) of natural gas have been discovered to-date. Associated with the natural gas are 19.9 106 m³ ( 123 million barrels) of natural gas liquids. This includes the largest gas accumulation yet discovered in Eastern Canada, the North Bjarni Field, with over 2.2 TCF.

Three main reservoirs are recognized; sandstones of the Bjarni Formation, Gudrid Formation sandstones and Paleozoic carbonates. Structural traps associated with horsts, grabens and tilted fault blocks are the main trapping mechanisms. Stratigraphic traps may also be present. Shales of the Markland, Cartwright, Kenamu and Mokami Formations provide seal and source with up to 5% TOC encountered.

While exploration on the Labrador Shelf has been quiescent for a number of years, further exploration may be on the horizon. New non-exclusive seismic has been recorded over the Shelf in the last three years with unexpected and untested stratigraphic section encountered. In addition, exploration rights in the Orphan Basin, to the south of the Hopedale Basin, were acquired in 2003 for over $670 million.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90039©2005 AAPG Calgary, Alberta, June 16-19, 2005