--> Abstract: Petroleum Potential of the Russian Arctic Shelf, by V. Kaminsky; #90096 (2009)

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Petroleum Potential of the Russian Arctic Shelf

Valerii Kaminsky
VNIIO, St. Petersburg, Russia.

It was already established after the very first quantitative evaluation of the petroleum resources as of 01.01.1971 by a level of geological and geophysical study that oil and gas are the most important mineral resources of the Russian/USSR continental shelf with total recoverable resources of 100 billion tones in oil equivalent, which is comparable with the reserves of the biggest petroleum provinces of the World. This conclusion initiated extensive regional geological and geophysical study and petroleum exploration on shelf, which proved high petroleum prospectivity of the shelf and were marked by the whole range of discoveries, including unique. Clearly main part of geological prospecting was concentrated in the areas of shelf where continuations of onshore petroleum provinces were traced offshore, such as - in the south of the Barents and Kara Seas, on the Sakhalin Isl. shelf, and on the shelves of southern seas and the Baltic Sea. All known up to date 48 oil and gas fields were discovered here, where 1/3 of them are coastal-shelfal.

At present day HC reserves on the Russian Arctic shelf, which are mainly represented by gas, are ready for development only in the seas of the western sector (the Barents with Pechora and South Kara seas). This part of the Arctic shelf is relatively well studied. There are enough detailed potential fields surveys, dense seismic grid, sea exploration wells and scientific wells on Kolguev, Belyi, Sverdrup islands and Frantz Joseph Land islands. All discovered oil, gas and condensate fields of the Russian Arctic shelf are located here. Work carried out made it possible to establish the main peculiarities of oil and gas distribution across the western shelfal area and throughout the section of the sedimentary cover: sharp predominance of gas in resources, solely in the Barents Sea (i.e. excluding the Pechora sea); oil prospective areas are confined to the periphery of the East Barents megatrough, which occupies the major eastern part of the Barents Sea and maybe the flank zones of the South Kara depression. The rest of the vast part of the Russian Arctic shelf, including the northern areas of the Kara Sea, characterized by a significantly lower level of geological and geophysical study. Not a single deep well has been drilled here. Hence existing ideas about the geological framework and HC potential of this vast area are very approximate and are based on the knowledge of the geology of the Arctic islands with limited geophysical work, predominantly (gravity and magnetic) carried out several decades ago. Therefore geological models of this vast eastern part of the Russian Arctic shelf and subsequent quantitative assessments of HC resources based on them are rough estimations.
Present day rates of study and development of the petroleum resources of the Russian shelf do not give grounds for optimism.


AAPG Search and Discover Article #90096©2009 AAPG 3-P Arctic Conference and Exhibition, Moscow, Russia