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Regional Characterization of Shale Gas and Shale Oil Potential, Northwest Territories, Canada

Hayes, Brad J.*1
(1) Petrel Robertson Consulting Ltd., Calgary, AB, Canada.

Unconventional gas and oil plays, particularly those hosted by shales, demonstrate great resource potential and productive capacity in petroleum basins throughout North America. Where there is abundant conventional production and drilling, companies use existing wellbore and analytical data to identify and appraise shale gas and shale oil plays. Confirming resource potential and commercial producibility requires extensive analysis of these data, followed by field experiments to optimize drilling and completion procedures.

In more remote areas, such as the Northwest Territories, exploration and assessment work to date has focused almost exclusively on conventional reservoirs and petroleum systems. While it is apparent that NWT shales equivalent to producing or prospective shales in Alberta and B.C. must contain shale gas and oil, systematic efforts to quantify these resources are just beginning. Work proposal bids of more than $534 million on 11 parcels in the Central Mackenzie Valley, made by major operating companies in June 2011, indicate a high level of industry interest in shale prospectivity.

Petrel Robertson Consulting Ltd. and the Northwest Territories Geoscience Office have recently completed a study to systematically assess, at a very regional level, shale gas and oil potential in the NWT. Analytical work and production information from equivalent shales in other areas, particularly in adjacent northeastern B.C., provide valuable insights in support of this analysis. Two study areas, based on stratigraphy and well control density, are defined: the southern Liard - Great Slave Study Area, and the northern Peel - Mackenzie Study Area. In Liard - Great Slave, good shale gas and oil potential is seen in the Devonian Muskwa-Horn River, Devonian/Mississippian Exshaw Formation, and Cretaceous Fort St. John Group. Other thick shales, such as the Fort Simpson, Kotcho, and Banff, do not contain sufficient organic material to present attractive targets. In Peel - Mackenzie, the Devonian Horn River Group and parts of the Cretaceous Slater River Formation are prospective for shale gas and oil, while the Imperial and Arctic Red shales are organic-lean, and thus less prospective.


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90142 © 2012 AAPG Annual Convention and Exhibition, April 22-25, 2012, Long Beach, California