--> Abstract: Crustal and Petroleum Framework of the US Chukchi Shelf as Interpreted from 9 Km Long-Offset Arcticspan 2-D Seismic Data, by Menno G. Dinkelman, James W. Granath, Naresh Kumar, and Peter A. Emmet; #90082 (2008)

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Crustal and Petroleum Framework of the US Chukchi Shelf as Interpreted from 9 Km Long-Offset Arcticspan 2-D Seismic Data

Menno G. Dinkelman1, James W. Granath2, Naresh Kumar2, and Peter A. Emmet2
1BasinSPAN programs, ION Solutions-GX Technology, Houston, TX
2Consultant, ION Solutions-GX Technology, Houston, TX

The US Chukchi Shelf is a highly prospective petroleum province with estimated mean technically recoverable resources of more than 29 billion barrels of oil equivalent (MMS, 2006). Because of the remoteness of the area in the northwest Alaskan offshore and the cost of operations, the area has seen only one round of leasing and drilling which was almost 20 years ago. With high oil prices and new technology, industry has shown a renewed interest in the area.

In response to this interest, ION Geophysical (GX Technology) acquired 3,132 km of 2-D long-offset seismic data in the area in late 2006. The program was designed to image down to the base of the crust with a 9 km-long cable, 18 second recording, and final depth processing (Prestack Depth Migration) to 40 km. The interpretation of these data has allowed us to regionally map the MOHO discontinuity and the top of the crystalline basement as well as to identify the major stratigraphic sequences which extend from the highly petroliferous North Slope of Alaska. We have also attempted to interpret the pre-Mississippian (prior to the opening of the Canada Basin) rifting and compressional history of the area based on these data.

Interpretation highlights of the data set include: 1) the Chukchi Shelf is underlain by “normal” continental crust (30-40 km thick) with some suggestion of an attenuated crust in the northern and north-western part of the area; 2) The North Chukchi Basin contains up to 12 km (40,000 ft) of apparent Cretaceous- and Tertiary-age sediments and should be considered quite prospective; 3) Part of the shelf is underlain by mildly deformed pre-Mississippian sediments and may be prospective for hydrocarbons; and 4) The interpretation of the data supports the anticlockwise rotational hypothesis of the Alaska-Chukotka plate away from the Canadian Arctic islands.

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