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Ghexis newsletter No.17 - April 2000

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Newsletter No. 17 - April 2000

1: The first well offshore West Greenland in the new millenium
2: New seismic data acquisition in the Nuussuaq Basin
3: East Greenland - analogues for the future
4: Upper  Palaeozoic carbonates in northern Greenland - an analogue to the Barents Sea succession
5: Kangerlussuaq - a key to subbasaltic basins of the North Atlantic
6: Lower Cretaceous fault-crest sandstones, Hold with Hope - an overlooked play offshore Norway?
7: Jameson Land Basin, East Greenland - yet to be tested as petroleum basin
8: Correlation and reconstruction of North-East Atlantic Margins (CREAM)

Download GHEXIS, no. 17 April 2000 - in pdf-format (428 kB) 

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The first well offshore West Greenland in the new millennium

Preparations for the first well in the Fylla licence held by Statoil (operator), Phillips Petroleum, DONG and Nunaoil are well under way. The official well designation according to the existing block system will be 6354/4-1, but the name Qulleq-1, which is derived from the Greenlandic word for a train-oil lamp, will also be used by the Greenland authorities. The well is planned to be spudded by early to mid-June and will be drilled by the recently completed deepwater drillship West Navion. The prognosis for the Qulleq-1 well is about 45 days excluding mob/demob. West Navion has started operations under a contract with Statoil early March and is drilling its first well offshore mid-Norway. Before the ship heads for Greenland, it will also drill a well for BP Amoco. 

Open-Door procedure: Annual closing of door for applications on 31 May

In areas covered by the Open-Door procedure, applications will be considered each year during the period from 1 October to 31 May. Open-Door applications may thus be submitted to the Bureau of Minerals and Petroleum until 31 May. In order to give the authorities an opportunity to assess the achieved results, the door will be closed for the period between 1 June and 30 September and applications received during this period will be considered as having been received on 1 October. For more information consult: Ghexis no. 15 and BMP‘s website www.bmp.gl

News from West Greenland

As usual, Greenland will have a stand at the AAPG Annual Convention, this year in New Orleans. So please visit us at booth 3530. This summer high-resolution shallow seismic data will be acquired in the waters around Nuussuaq and Ubekendt Ejland (see next page). Enclosed with this issue of Ghexis you will find a last call for one weeks fieldwork on Nuussuaq/Disko in West Greenland organized by TGS-NOPEC, and brochures from Spectrum and Bujak Mudge Int. Cons.

East Greenland - a playground for petroleum geologists

With everybody waiting expectantly for the first well in the Fylla area, this issue of Ghexis concentrates on East Greenland. East Greenland is a scenic experience for any petroleum geologist. More importantly, extensive research results published by the Survey and partners during the last decades are of great importance for assessing the petroleum potential not only on- and offshore East Greenland but also throughout the North Atlantic Margin region. Selected analogue studies are highlighted - much more information can be obtained from GEUS.


New seismic data acquisition in the Nuussuaq Basin during summer 2000

Knowledge of the Nuussuaq Basin in central West Greenland has increased dramatically since the discovery of extensive oil seeps on western Nuussuaq in 1992. A wealth of geological and geophysical studies have been published and data from slim core drilling and exploration wells are also now available. They indicate that the Nuussuaq Basin is a petroleum basin in its own right, and not merely an accessible analogue to potential petroleum basins offshore. Furthermore, seismic data acquired in 1995 in the fiords south and north of Nuussuaq and gravity interpretation have contributed to the general understanding of the structure of the basin. 

To improve further understanding of the shallow structure of the Nuussuaq Basin, high-resolution multichannel seismic data will be acquired during summer 2000 in the waters around Nuussuaq and Ubekendt Ejland. Data from the NuussaqSeis 2000-project will increase the seismic coverage in the region considerably and the new data will also have direct implications for the evaluation of the hydrocarbon potential of the onshore areas. 

Seismic acquisition will take place during July and August using the Danish research vessel ’Dana‘ with seismic equipment from the Geological Institute, Aarhus University. Because of the ice conditions (many icebergs) and the relatively large water depths, a short seismic streamer will be used. Funding for the project has been provided by the Danish Energy Research Programme, the Greenland Bureau of Minerals and Petroleum, the Geological Institute, Aarhus University and GEUS.

New seismic data acquisition in the Nuussuaq Basin during summer 2000. Click to enlarge
Click on map to enlarge.

For more information consult: Chalmers et al. 1999, Marine and Petroleum Geology 16, 197-224 or James A. Chalmers, e-mail: jac@geus.dk and Christian Marcussen, e-mail: cma@geus.dk.

A paper on an AVO study of the bright spot west of the island Disko has been published in the February 2000 issue of the AAPG Bulletin (84, 174-182).


East Greenland - analogues for the future

The Carboniferous-Paleocene sedimentary basins along the east coast of Greenland are world-class outcrop analogues for the Norwegian Shelf. The exposed successions contain several levels of organic-rich shales with the potential of being source-rocks, including Upper Devonian, Lower Carboniferous and Lower Jurassic lacustrine shales and marine Upper Permian and Upper Jurassic shales.

Since ARCO stopped exploration in the Jameson Land Basin back in 1990, the Survey‘s work in eastern Greenland has been focussed on regional mapping and overall evaluation of the hydrocarbon potential in the sedimentary basins north and south of Jameson Land. Part of this work has been directed towards the Norwegian and Faroese shelf areas, and the following three studies, all supported by industry, are highlighted to illustrate the possibility for outcrop analogue studies.

Geological map of East Greenland showing the location of study areas mentioned in the text. Click to enlarge
Geological map of East Greenland showing the location of study areas mentioned in the text. The sedimentary basins of North and East Greenland provide valuable analogue models for the rifted margins of the North Atlantic Margin region.


Upper Palaeozoic carbonates in northern Greenland - an analogue to the Barents Sea succession

Due to the limited number of deep wells that penetrate the Upper Palaeozoic carbonate-dominated succession in the Barents Sea, subsurface geological models still have to rely on studies of outcrop analogues along the uplifted margins of the basin in Greenland and on Svalbard. Studies of the succession in northern Greenland, combined with data from the offshore exploration wells, have recently resulted in a general model for Upper Palaeozoic carbonate reservoirs in the Barents Sea. The model suggests that the reservoir potential is primarily controlled by early diagenetic processes, and that the best reservoir rocks are believed to be the mid-Carboniferous to Lower Permian warm-water carbonates. The reservoir model implies extensive dolomitisation and dissolution of aragonite during repeated events of subaerial exposure. Dolomitisation was early and apparently linked to migration of hypersaline fluids making localisation in relation to evaporites an important issue.

In order to better apply the onshore data in the evaluation of the Barents Sea, synthetic seismic data have been produced of a dolomitised Upper Carboniferous platform carbonate-siliciclastic-evaporite succession exposed in a 400-m-high and several-kilometres-long coastal cliff in Amdrup Land, northern Greenland. The models clearly show the morphology of the platform and onlapping siliciclastic and evaporite wedges. The models also show that velocity pull-ups are to be expected below the dolomitised platform successions whereas push-downs may record thick siliciclastic lenses.

For further information consult: Stemmerik et al. 1999, Petroleum Geoscience 5, 173-187 and 399-407 or Lars Stemmerik, e-mail: ls@geus.dk


Kangerlussuaq - a key to subbasaltic basins of the North Atlantic

During the last few years, exploration for Cretaceous to Paleogene plays has been intensified in the Vøring and Møre Basins along the deep water, volcanic margin of the Norwegian shelf, west of the Shetland Islands and around the Faeroe Islands. Encouraged by the industry interest, GEUS has focussed part of its research on the Cretaceous-Paleogene succession in East Greenland, and can now provide new information on basin-scale analogues from the Kangerlussuaq Basin, onshore southern East Greenland. The Kangerlussuaq Basin contains a c. 1 km-thick siliciclastic succession of Late Aptian - Paleocene age and probably provides the most comprehensive onshore record of post-rift Lower Cretaceous sandstones, Upper Cretaceous mudstones and transitional Cretaceous-Paleogene sandstones dominated strata in the North Atlantic region. 

The study of the Kangerlussuaq Basin was initiated in 1995 and continues with renewed fieldwork in the forthcoming summer 2000. The basin-fill is divided into two depositional mega-sequences related to regional tectonic events and sea-level changes. The oldest mega-sequence (SQ1) spans the Late Aptian to earliest Paleocene time interval with sea-level rise in the Late Aptian, maximum flooding in the Late Albian - Cenomanian followed by sea-level highstand in the Late Cretaceous to early Paleocene. SQ1 is truncated by a basin-wide unconformity related to regional uplift and basin reorganisation in the mid-Paleocene. The upper mega-sequence (SQ2) spans the mid- to late Paleocene and comprises sediments deposited during early sea-level rise and is overlain by extensive volcanic deposits and continental flood basalts.

The tentative relative sea-level curve that has been established on the basis of the sequence stratigraphic model may help to identify possible reservoir intervals and play types in the undrilled deep water, basalt covered basins around the northern North Atlantic. The best example is the braided river deposits laid down in the basin following mid-Paleocene regional uplift. These proximal deposits indicate sediment bypass and predict deposition of coarse-grained siliciclastic material in the offshore basins to the southeast (Faeroe Islands). GEUS also holds a comprehensive sample database from the basin enabling studies of physical rock properties, provenance, diagenesis, and geochemistry. 

For further information consult: Larsen et al. 1999a, American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin 83, 1236–1261; Larsen et al. 1999b, Petroleum Geology of Northwest Europe, Proceedings of the 5th Conference, 337–348 or Michael Larsen, e-mail: mil@geus.dk


Lower Cretaceous fault-crest sandstones, Hold with Hope - an overlooked play offshore Norway?

Lower Cretaceous (Barremian-Albian) sandstones are exposed on northern Hold with Hope, North-East Greenland. The sandstones form a potential new reservoir unit in the North-East Greenland stratigraphy and may in certain areas be equally important as Middle Jurassic reservoirs well-known from the Norwegian Shelf and the northern North Sea. On Hold with Hope, the Lower Cretaceous sandstones mainly originated from erosion and reworking of the Pelion Formation, thus destroying the classic Middle Jurassic sandstone play. 

The sandstones were deposited as early post-rift basin fill, in a deltaic and shallow marine environment during overall sea-level rise following rifting at the Jurassic-Cretaceous boundary. Deposition started with transgressive shoreface sandstones in the Early Barremian, followed by at least two phases of southwards delta progradation and valley incision during the Barremian - Early Aptian. In the Late Aptian - Early Albian, the deltaic system backstepped and progressively deeper-water facies were deposited. The coarse-grained clastic system was drowned in the Early Albian and marine mudstones dominated from this time and onwards. 

Generalised cross-section through the Mesozoic succession in northern Hold with Hope.

Generalised cross-section through the Mesozoic succession in northern Hold with Hope. The sandstone dominated Lower Cretaceous succession (Barremian-Aptian) forms a new potential reservoir unit offshore Norway and in the Faeroe-Shetland Basin. The reservoir is sealed by onlapping Upper Cretaceous mudstones deposited after block rotation and truncation in the mid-Albian.

The presence of a thick proximal succession on Hold with Hope suggests that the area acted as a major sediment entry point to the East Greenland shelf during the Early Cretaceous. It is important to stress that sediments in the Early Cretaceous were transported in a southerly and southwesterly direction, parallel to the faults bounding the Mesozoic rift basins. It was probably not until the Middle Albian - Turonian that the rift topography was filled in, opening for sediment transport across the East Greenland shelf and into basinal areas to the east (Vøring Basin). Models derived from the succession on Hold with Hope suggest that Lower Cretaceous sandstone may occur along older Mesozoic lineaments in the deeply buried basins offshore Norway and in the Faeroe-Shetland Basin. These sandstone wedges may represent a stratigraphic play along the structural highs, which can open a new exploration play. Attention should be focused on areas with major translation of fault zones that are linked to a large updip fluvial catchment area.

For further information consult: Michael Larsen, e-mail: mil@geus.dk.

Palaeogene volcanic successions and the position of the study areas in East Greenland relative to the prospective areas offshore Norway (Møre and Vøring Basins), the Faeroe-Shetland Basin and in the shelf areas around the Faeroe Islands. Click to enlarge
Palaeogene volcanic successions and the position of the study areas in East Greenland relative to the prospective areas offshore Norway (Møre and Vøring Basins), the Faeroe-Shetland Basin and in the shelf areas around the Faeroe Islands. Sediments derived from the East Greenland margin may in certain time intervals e.g. the Upper Cretaceous and Early Paleocene have sourced the offshore basins and may form potential reservoir units. 
(Modified from L. M. Larsen et al. 1999, Journal of the Geological Society, London 156, 1081-1095)



Jameson Land Basin, East Greenland - yet to be tested as petroleum basin

During the years 1985-1990, ARCO held a concession of a ~ 10 000 km² large area on Jameson Land in East Greenland. ARCO acquired 1800 km of onshore seismic data in their search for a giant field. The concession was relinquished at the end of 1990, and the basin was never drilled. The main target for ARCO‘s exploration was Upper Permian carbonates, which still represent an untested play. Additional plays have later been identified by the Geological Survey and comprise a Devonian-Carboniferous structural play and a Lower Jurassic stratigraphic play. Recent research projects in co-operation between GEUS and the Geological Institute, University of Copenhagen have greatly improved the understanding of the basin evolution and formation of source and reservoir rocks in a sequence stratigraphic framework. 

As a result of this research and many previous studies, GEUS has a comprehensive collection of surface samples and shallow cores that have been biostratigraphically dated and analysed in detail by organic geochemical methods. These samples and and analytical data can be utilised in future collaborative projects between GEUS and the oil industry. 

For further information consult: Lars Stemmerik, e-mail: ls@geus.dk or Stefan Piasecki, e-mail: sp@geus.dk who can introduce you to the vast number of papers and reports on Jameson Land and the Survey's database.

Jameson Land is included in the areas available for licensing under the Open-Door procedure. For further information on licensing policy in East Greenland contact BMP (www.bmp.gl).


Correlation and reconstruction of North-East Atlantic Margins (CREAM)

CREAM is a new project proposal combining the extensive knowledge of the North Atlantic margins held by the British Geological Survey and GEUS. The project is open for new partners in the industry. The intentions are to reappraise and update the post-Caledonian palaeogeography of the conjugate margins and hinterland basins of the NE Atlantic between southeastern Greenland and northwestern Britain and Ireland, including the Rockall-Faeroe Plateau. The study will provide a tectonostratigraphic framework with the widest acceptance within the scientific community and industry. This regional approach will facilitate and substantially enhance predictions regarding the exploration potential of these frontier regions. The project will utilise the most "comprehensive and current" joint database held anywhere (within limits of confidentiality) and will be far better documented in terms of background data than any previous reconstructions in this part of the world. Stratigraphic correlation of onshore and offshore sequences and seismic-sequence mapping will delineate key sections for timeslice compilation.

For further information contact the British Geological Survey, Petroleum & Marine Geology Group (e-mail: pmgg@bgs.ac.uk) or GEUS, att. Morten S. Andersen (e-mail: msa@geus.dk).

Government of Greenland, P.O. Box 930, DK-3900 Nuuk, Greenland
Tel.: +299 34 68 00, Fax.: +299 32 43 02, E-mail: bmp@gh.gl
Homepage: www.bmp.gl

Øster Voldgade 10, DK-1350 Copenhagen K, Denmark
Tel.: +45 38 14 20 00, Fax.: +45 38 14 20 50, E-mail: geus@geus.dk
Homepage: www.geus.dk

ISSN 0909-0630 

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Last modified: 10 March 2002 © GEUS
GHEXIS is published by GEUS in co-orporation with the Bureau of Minerals and Petroleum, Government of Greenland
GHEXIS publiceres af GEUS i samarbejde med Råstofdirektoratet, Grønlands Hjemmestyre
GHEXIS Newsletter No. 17