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Petroleum Resource Potential of the Rifted Margin of the Beaufort-Mackenzie Basin, Arctic Canada

Zhuoheng Chen1, Jim Dietrich1, and Yexin Liu2
1Geological Survey of Canada, Calgary, AB, Canada.
2SoftMirrors Ltd., Calgary, AB, Canada.

The rifted margin of the eastern Beaufort-Mackenzie Basin extends from the Mackenzie Delta to offshore Banks Island. The southern onshore part of the rift margin is a proven hydrocarbon province, with discoveries, predominantly gas, in structural traps in Mesozoic-Cenozoic clastic and Paleozoic carbonate reservoirs. Known petroleum source rocks in the region include gas-prone shales in the Jurassic-Lower Cretaceous syn-rift succession and marine oil-prone shales in the Upper Cretaceous post-rift succession. New studies indicate the offshore Beaufort-Mackenzie Basin rift margin may have significant petroleum resource potential and become more oil-prone northward. Upper Cretaceous source rocks are immature in the southwestern part of the rift margin but are predicted to have maturation levels within the oil generation window in the northeastern part of the margin, due to increased burial depths. Jurassic-Lower Cretaceous source rocks in the offshore rift margin would have maturation levels that vary from the gas-generation window to overmature. Analyses of marine seismic reflection data, including acoustic impedance inversion and spectral decomposition, provide insights into petroleum plays and possible oil and gas occurrences along the rift margin. Prospective plays include fault-related structural traps in Mesozoic-Cenozoic strata and stratigraphic traps in Tertiary submarine fan and channel complexes. The geophysical data, integrated with geological modeling studies, provide the framework for a new petroleum resource assessment of the Beaufort-Mackenzie Basin rift margin.


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90130©2011 3P Arctic, The Polar Petroleum Potential Conference & Exhibition, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, 30 August-2 September, 2011.