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> Forsiden > Arkiv > GHEXIS > GHEXIS Newsletter No. 16

Ghexis newsletter No.16 - December 1999

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Newsletter No. 16 - December 1999


1: Introduction
2: Revised policy for Open Door areas now in force
3: Interesting leads identified in the Open Door areas
4: Field work in the Disko - Nuussuaq - Svartenhuk Halvø region in 1999
5: The Bureau of Minerals and Petroleum's website revitalised: go www.bmp.gl
6: Enclosures

Download GHEXIS, no. 16 December 1999 - in pdf-format (858 kB)

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Doors open for West Greenland exploration

Although some doors were shut due to the announcement of a planned licensing round in certain areas offshore West Greenland in 2001 (see Ghexis no. 15), an open door procedure was re-established for other areas as of 1 October 1999. These areas include not only West Greenland offshore areas south of 71°N (excluding the region designated for the licensing round and the Kanumas preference area) but now also include onshore areas on Disko and Nuussuaq (West Greenland) and Jameson Land (East Greenland).

Live oil onshore West Greenland - the fence is closed

There is no doubt that the discovery of seeping oil onshore Nuussuaq in 1992 has had an profound impact on the evaluation of West Greenland as a petroleum province. Since then, the area where oil has been found at surface has been greatly expanded from ’a few tens of metres along the beach‘ to an area covering several thousand square kilometres. Geochemical studies have indicated not only one but several oil-prone source rocks - some seem to be of local importance only, while others are inferred to have a regional distribution throughout West Greenland. A summary paper has recently been published in the proceedings from the last Barbican meeting. In the summer of 1999, ’oil hunting‘ continued in the northern part of the region, i.e. on Svartenhuk Halvø and surrounding islands. This work not only led to the discovery of many new localities with oil but also seems to have found the northern boundary of the seep province (see more).

Another season of seismic data acquisition offshore West Greenland

This summer Geco-Prakla acquired proprietary seismic data (totalling approx. 1700 km) within the Fylla licence area for the Statoil group and within the Sisimiut-West licence area for the Phillips group using the seismic survey vessel Professor Polshkov. The same seismic vessel shot a regional non-exclusive seismic survey (’Green99‘) for TGS-NOPEC. A total of 2800 km seismic data were obtained with ties to 4 of the 5 existing wells from the 1970's exploration offshore West Greenland (for contact addresses see enclosed brochure from TGS-NOPEC).

The first well in the Fylla licence area with Statoil as operator is planned for next summer using the drill-ship West Navion - more details will follow in the next issues of Ghexis.

Another season of seismic data acquisition offshore West Greenland. Click to enlarge

Revised policy for Open Door areas now in force

The new licensing policy for Greenland, released on 7 April 1999 (see Ghexis no. 15, April 1998), announced both a licensing round offshore West Greenland in 2001 and the re-establishment of an open door procedure for other areas as of 1 October 1999.

The areas covered by the licensing round and the open door procedure are characterised by a significant petroleum potential and well-known operational conditions. Furthermore, it is possible to operate with existing technology.

However, the open door areas have low or very low coverage of seismic data and knowledge about them is therefore sparse at present, and the exploration risk is consequently higher than in the licensing round area. Nevertheless, some interesting leads in these areas should attract industry interest already at this stage (see below).

The licensing round includes the area offshore West Greenland between 63°N and 68°N, while the open door procedure applies to the regions south of 63°N and between 68°N and 71°N (see map).

Until 1 October 1999, areas onshore Disko and Nuussuaq in West Greenland were covered by a special application procedure. As no applications were received before the closing date, the region is now covered by the same open door procedure which applies to the offshore areas west of Greenland and to Jameson Land in East Greenland.

Within the open door areas, application for exploration can now be submitted at any time during the period from 1 October to 1 June. Applications submitted in the intervening period, will be considered as received on 1 October.

Licensing terms and a model licence for the open door areas in West Greenland are now available on the Bureau of Minerals and Petroleum's website: www.bmp.gl. A model Joint Operating Agreement covering both offshore and onshore licences is also available.


Interesting leads identified in the Open Door areas

It has been decided by the authorities to use an Open Door application procedure in the two areas offshore West Greenland mainly because of their sparse coverage of seismic data which makes it difficult or impossible to define prospects at present. Nonetheless, enough is known about the two areas to suggest that attractive exploration targets are present. Onshore oil seeps in the northern area suggest that it is entirely possible that the source rocks could continue offshore, and some interesting leads have been identified on existing seismic data. On one of the few seismic lines in the southern area a possible continuation of the structural style found in the Fylla area can be seen.

Palaeogene volcanic rocks are present over most of the northern open door area. They outcrop on the seabed in the eastern part of the area, near the coasts of Nuussuaq and Disko, dip steadily westwards and are more than 3 km below sea level near the border with Canada.

Oil generated from source rocks below the basalts is found onshore in wide-spread seeps from northern Disko in the south to Svartenhuk Halvø in the north. Offshore, it is possible that oil has migrated through the basalts to be trapped in sedimentary rocks above the basalts.

An example of a possible trap showing Direct Hydrocarbon Indicators in the form of bright spots with Amplitude Variation with Offset anomalies, was mentioned in Ghexis no.14. A paper describing this lead in more detail will be published in the AAPG Bulletin in February 2000.

Another seismic example of a possible lead from the northern open door area, where bright spots can be seen within faulted sediments above the top of the basalts, is shown below.

Interesting leads identified in the Open Door areas. Click to Enlarge

Interesting leads identified in the Open Door areas. Click to Enlarge

The southern open door area (south of 63°N)

The southern open door area (south of 63°N) is poorly known, mainly because there are only few seismic lines in the area, and because water depths are large; generally more than 1500 metres.

The southern open door area (south of 63°N)

Nevertheless, some parts of the area could be prospective since some of the few seismic data available show spectacular´large fault blocks, similar to those in the Fylla area which will be drilled in summer 2000.

An example of some of the fault blocks is shown above. This is a reprocessed version of a line acquired in 1977 by the German Bundesanstalt für Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe (BGR), and modern data would be of much better quality. The line shows large potential traps, and DHI's such as flat-spots and bright spots can be seen elsewhere on this line. In 1998 Fugro-Geoteam acquired 4 non-exclusive seismic lines in this area (see brochure from Fugro-Geoteam for further details).

Acquisition of more new seismic data would be a pre-requisite to further exploration of this frontier area. The reprocessed BGR seismic data are available from GEUS at the cost of reproduction.


Field work in the Disko - Nuussuaq - Svartenhuk Halvø region in 1999

The presence of oil-prone source rocks has been one of the key questions in assessing the exploration risk in West Greenland for many years. This risk was greatly reduced by the discovery of extensive oil seeps and impregnations in the volcanics that overlie the onshore basins and subsequent analytical work has so far demonstrated the presence of not less than five distinct oil types. This is very encouraging for ongoing and future petroleum exploration and considerable effort has been made in systematic 'oil hunting' in the last few years (see Ghexis no. 12, October 1997).

In 1999, Svartenhuk Halvø and surrounding islands was the scene of continued studies that concentrated not only on the actual surface oils, but, as in previous years, also included stratigraphic, sedimentological and structural studies of the Cretaceous–Paleocene sediments and the overlying volcanics.
The geochemical studies of the oil seeps have recently been summarized in a paper by Bojesen-Koefoed et al. (1999) published in Petroleum Geology of Northwest Europe: Proceedings of the 5th Conference (for reprints contact: jbk@geus.dk). These studies have demonstrated at least 5 distinct oil types and mixtures of these. The characteristics of the oils suggest multiple source rocks of different ages and depositional environments in the Cretaceous-Paleocene succession. During reconnaissance in 1997, a few oil impregnations were recorded on Ubekendt Ejland and on the south coast of Svartenhuk Halvø. Unpublished analytical results indicate that the source of these oils is of mid-Cretaceous or older age.

In 1999, many new localities with oil (in most cases a relatively weak odour along dyke contacts and in some cases visual oil) were discovered on the east coast of Ubekendt Ejland and on the south coast of Svartenhuk Halvø (see map on page 7). On the other hand, a systematic search on western Svartenhuk Halvø and nearby islands revealed no oil. The northern part of this area is characterised by essentially horizontal massive lava flows without dykes, faults and shear zones which indicates that stable basement probably lies in the shallow subsurface. Farther south, the lavas are rotated with many faults and shear zones and numerous dykes. Although there seem to be possible conduits for migration/leakage of hydrocarbons to the surface, no examples of surface oil were found. It is not clear at the moment whether this lack of hydrocarbons is caused by a very thick volcanic succession, the lack of minerals capable of trapping hydrocarbon inclusions, or is due to total lack of mature source rocks in the subsurface.

First results from the 1999 field work. Click to enlarge

First results from the 1999 field work

The Svartenhuk Halvø area contains minor outcrops of sandstone and conglomerate units enclosed in Cretaceous - Palaeogene mudstones. The field work concentrated on a detailed description of the units and understanding of their deposition in submarine channels. Dense sampling for biostratigraphic dating has been made in order to correlate with similar units on Nuussuaq and to check the existence and age of the many unconformities that have been demonstrated in other areas in West Greenland in recent years. A better correlation of the sandstones is particularly important to understand the factors controlling sandstone deposition.

It is hoped that it will be possible to develop robust models for prediction of reservoir sandstones in neighbouring offshore basins. Mid-Cretaceous deltaic deposits that onlap the basement were also studied in detail.

Future work

Next year, an extensive analytical programme will be carried out at GEUS, especially on oil composition and the biostratigraphy of the Upper Cretaceous – Palaeogene succession. Acquisition of a high resolution multichannel seismic survey in the waters between Svartenhuk Halvø, Ubekendt Ejland and Nuussuaq  in the summer of 2000, will allow these results to be integrated in new exploration models.


The Bureau of Minerals and Petroleum's website revitalised: go www.bmp.gl

High priority has been given to a restructuring of the Bureau of Minerals and Petroleum's website during the Bureau's first year of existence with the overall goal of being able to serve customers better and faster than previously.

The site has been moved to a high-speed server in Canada since experience has shown that access-rates were rather slow while the site was situated on a Greenland server. One of the main tasks has been to ensure easier navigation on the site and to include as much information relevant to both industry and the public as possible. Thus, the new site includes the opportunity of retrieving a lot of documents (both as html- and pdf-files) which have hitherto only been obtainable in paper format by sending a request to the Bureau. Furthermore, the WebPortal with links to relevant institutions and authorities, companies and other useful addresses has been greatly expanded.

If you want to be updated on developments in Greenland on both petroleum and mineral matters you should visit www.bmp.gl regularly.



Brochures from:
TGS-NOPEC on available non-exclusive seismic data.
For GEUS non-exclusive data please contact cma@geus.dk.

The poster Offshore West Greenland – data base and possible play types
Download PDF-file (3208kB) here.



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GHEXIS Newsletter No. 16