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Ghexis newsletter No.19 - May 2001

 
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Newsletter No. 19 - May 2001
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Headlines:
1: West Greenland Licensing Round awaits reduction in company tax  
2: Eastern part of Fylla licence relinquished – several prospects remain untested
3: New seismic data planned across the Canada–Greenland border: a TGS-NOPEC/BMP joint venture for 2001
4: Meet Greenland at the AAPG Annual Convention in Denver June 3–6
5: Exploration information on CD-ROM
6: Released data from Fylla-East now available

Download GHEXIS no. 19, May 2001 - in pdf-format (1400 kB; requires Acrobat Reader 4.0 or newer). 

Download Posters and preprint of article in "Review of Greenland Activities 2000 in pdf-format.

PDF-file (Portable Document Format) is opened with Adobe® Acrobat® Reader. Acrobat Reader is free and can be downloaded from the Adobe website. The GEUS PDF-files can be read with version 3.01 or above only.

West Greenland Licensing Round awaits reduction in company tax

The results of the newly closed nomination round for offshore West Greenland were positive. However, a reduction in company tax from the existing 35% to 30% is presently being considered by the Greenland Government, so the invitation to bid in the licensing round, which was originally planned to be issued during summer 2001, will be delayed until the end of December 2001. Read more.

Eastern part of Fylla licence relinquished – several prospects remain untested

The group led by Statoil has relinquished the eastern sub-area of the Fylla licence. This means that all data, both seismic and the results of the Qulleq-1 well, are now 'open file'. Although the well did not discover hydrocarbons, it has produced a wealth of new information important to the evaluation of the petroleum exploration potential of offshore West Greenland and an account of the positive and negative surprises from the well can now be presented. Read more.

New seismic data planned across the Canada–Greenland border: a TGS-NOPEC/BMP joint venture for 2001

A regional non-exclusive seismic survey across the Canada–Greenland boundary carried out by TGS-NOPEC last year showed the presence of hitherto unknown, deep sedimentary basins. These new basins and their features are so interesting that a new seismic survey of minimum 2700 km is now being planned for summer 2001. Read more

Meet Greenland at the AAPG Annual Convention in Denver

Greenland is represented in the International Pavilion (Booth #512) at the AAPG Annual Convention in Denver, 3–6 June 2001.

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Licensing Round awaits reduction in Greenland company tax

The deadline for nominating areas of interest for hydrocarbon exploration offshore West Greenland between 63° N and 68° N was on 26 March this year. The Bureau of Minerals and Petroleum (BMP) is satisfied to have received a number of nominations from international oil companies indicating that the entire area is of interest for exploration.

BMP expects to offer for licensing the entire unlicensed area offshore West Greenland between 63° N and 68° N (Fig.1). It is planned that the deadline for applications will probably be 90 days after the announcement.

The Greenland Government is presently considering alterations in the laws on business taxation, including a reduction in company tax from the existing 35% to 30%. The company tax percent is part of the economic criteria evaluated in connection with exploration and production of hydrocarbons. Therefore, the invitation to bid in the licensing round, which was originally planned to be issued during summer 2001, will be delayed until the end of December 2001, when discussions on the reduction of company tax are expected to be concluded.

Map showing areas of 2001 licensing round and open-door areas. Click to enlarge

Figure 1. Map showing areas of 2001 licensing round and open-door areas.

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Eastern part of Fylla licence relinquished: all seismic data and Qulleq-1 well results are now open file

The summer of 2000 was an important year in the petroleum exploration history of West Greenland. The first offshore well in more than 20 years was drilled by the Statoil group in the Fylla licence area and seismic acquisition activity offshore West Greenland was more intense than in previous years with four new surveys being carried out (see Ghexis 18).

Expectations were high when drilling of the Qulleq-1 well was initiated in July 2000 and disappointment was therefore equally high when the press release in September 2000 reported that the well was dry. Since that time much technical work has been carried out, and a more balanced view of the positive and negative surprises from the well can now be presented.

Statoil has recently notified BMP that the licensee has relinquished the eastern sub-area of the Fylla licence (2645 km²), with effect from 1 April 2001. Statoil has furthermore notified BMP, that the licensee wishes to extend the first sub-period with regard to the western sub-area of the licence until 31 December 2001 (see press release at BMP's web site: www.bmp.gl).

As a result, all data within the recently relinquished eastern sub-area are now 'open file' and available from GEUS (see below). Although the well did not discover hydrocarbons, it has produced new information important to the evaluation of the petroleum exploration potential of offshore West Greenland.

Exploration targets

The main target of the Qulleq-1 well was the prominent cross-cutting reflection (CCR) which can be seen on the seismic data around 2550 msecs TWT (Fig. 2). Extensive analysis of all data available before drilling (including AVO analysis of the seismic data) suggested that this reflection represented a gas–liquid contact. The well, however, encountered only mudstones in this interval and no gas or oil. Although the nature of the CCR is not fully understood, x-ray diffraction analysis suggests that it probably is related to a phase-change transition from opal-CT to quartz.

Prior to drilling, TD was planned at 2850 m, just below a strong, regionally developed seismic reflection (~3000 msecs, Fig. 2), which was interpreted to be a source rock interval of possible Cenomanian–Turonian age. This reflection turned out to be the contact between Lower Campanian mudstones above and Upper Santonian sandstones of reservoir quality below (Fig. 3). As a result of the unexpected age and lithology of the sediments in this part of the section, and the lack of hydrocarbons at the CCR, it was decided to deepen the well to a maximum of 3000 metres. However, due to technical limitations it was not operationally feasible to go deeper than the final TD of 2973 m (Fig. 3).

The possibility of reaching deeper targets in the inferred Lower Cretaceous succession, or of penetrating the full stratigraphic succession to basement, was not considered by the Statoil group.

Summary of results

As noted above, one of the most important results of the Qulleq-1 well is that it encountered a thick, hitherto unknown, Santonian sandstone unit below 2650 m (Fig. 3). The upper unit, which is approximately 90 metres thick, shows good reservoir quality and appears to be present regionally. Below this is a sandstone-dominated unit down to TD, which also shows reservoir potential. The Santonian reservoir sandstone was, however, penetrated more than 800 m below the crest of the prospect, and significant up-dip potential on the structure remains untested (see below).

The other main results of the well may be summarised as follows:

  • The CCR is not related to a gas–liquid contact. The 'flat spot play' in the Fylla licence region seems to be dead.
  • The major hiatuses within and bounding the Palaeogene were expected and their ages confirmed.
  • The age and lithology of the seismic units within the tilted fault blocks were not as expected. The upper units are somewhat older than expected, and consist of mudstone where substantial amounts of sand were expected. The deeper units are significantly younger (Santonian instead of Aptian/Albian) and reservoir-quality sand was found where it was hoped to encounter a Cenomanian–Turonian source rock interval. This information has both negative and positive implications for the exploration possibilities.
  • Reworked Lower Cretaceous and Jurassic palynomorphs in the well provide evidence for the presence of older sediments/sedimentary basins off West Greenland.
  • The well penetrated sediments that are immature with respect to oil generation, and the main oil window (peak generation) is deeper than TD.
  • The Qulleq-1 well was not drilled deeply enough, neither stratigraphically nor in absolute depth, considering the frontier nature of the Fylla area. Prospective successions of both presumed Early and Late Cretaceous age were left untouched below TD.
  • Several of the drilling risks considered before drilling are now known not to apply to this part of the basin.

Seismic section through the Fylla Prospect C drilled by Qulleq-1. Click to enlarge

Figure 2. Seismic section through the Fylla Prospect C drilled by Qulleq-1.

Summary log of the Qulleq-1 well. Click to enlarge

Figure 3. Summary log of the Qulleq-1 well.

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Fylla East: significant exploration potential remains untested

The results from the Qulleq-1 well have significant implications for evaluation of the prospectivity of the region. For many years, the main risk in assessing the potential of offshore West Greenland has been the question of whether or not oil-prone source rocks are present. This risk was considerably reduced with the finds of widespread oil seeps onshore in the Disko–Nuussuaq region (see Ghexis 16). Although the results of Qulleq-1 were not as hoped, they have neither increased nor decreased this risk, since the well did not reach the postulated Cenomanian–Turonian succession which is considered to be the most likely oil-prone source rock interval in the region.

The nature of the CCR is unrelated to hydrocarbon charge. The lack of high gas readings during drilling, and the lack of petroleum traces in cuttings and sidewall cores may be arguments against the presence of a source rock. However, the well drilled mainly through immature mudstones, and the only potential reservoir sandstones were penetrated 700–800 m below the crest and close to spillpoint of the structure.

The thermal maturity data and basin modelling suggest that if a Cenomanian–Turonian oil-prone source rock exists, it would be mature in kitchens in the deeper synclines of the Fylla area fault-blocks, and that there are simple migration pathways into several large prospects with four-way dip closure (Fig. 4). One significant reservoir interval in the Upper Santonian has been demonstrated and other reservoir sandstones may be present below the unconformity that is seen on the seismic data some hundred metres below TD of the Qulleq-1 well (Fig. 2). The thick Campanian and Palaeogene–Neogene mudstone successions form an excellent seal to these prospects.

Unrisked volumes in these Santonian prospects are large. The C prospect could contain 4 billion barrels and the D prospect 2½ billion barrels STOIIP. The Fylla area has less severe or similar operating conditions to the currently active Faroe–Shetland Basin.

Click here to get a pre-print in pdf-format of an article in 'Report of Greenland Activities'

Map showing depths in metres below sea-level to the top of the Santonian sandy interval penetrated by Qulleq-1. Click to enlarge

Figure 4. Map showing depths in metres below sea-level to the top of the Santonian sandy interval penetrated by Qulleq-1.

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Released data from Fylla-East now available

Because the Statoil group has relinquished the eastern sub-area of the Fylla licence with effect from 1 April 2001, all data and reports submitted to the BMP from the relinquished area are now open file and available from GEUS.

A well package has been prepared for the Qulleq-1 (6354/4-1) well including log data (digital data and film copy) and relevant reports. For more information contact the Geological Datacentre at GEUS. The well package is available for 25,000 DKK.

Seismic data (approx. 1200 km) acquired in 1997 and 1999 in the eastern sub-area and site survey data from 1998 around the position of the Qulleq-1 well are also available. Please contact GEUS for further information.

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Exploration information on CD-ROM

In order to give interested companies easy access to as much information on West Greenland as possible, a CD-ROM containing information on licensing policy and West Greenland geology (including prospectivity, source rocks and play types), data types and operational conditions has been prepared by GEUS. The CD-ROM is available free of charge from BMP, GEUS or Nunaoil.

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New seismic data across the Canada–Greenland border: new deep basins – new exciting opportunities

During the summer of 2000, three regional seismic lines were acquired by TGS-NOPEC across the Canada –Greenland boundary in connection with their GREEN2000 non-exclusive seismic survey off West Greenland. These new high-quality seismic lines show the presence of hitherto unknown, deep sedimentary basins with possibly older stratigraphic units than has been seen before on other seismic data. These new basins and their features are so interesting that a new seismic survey of minimum 2700 km is planned for summer 2001 (see map). The survey called GreenCan2001 is a joint venture project between TGS-NOPEC and the Greenland Bureau of Minerals and Petroleum.

Canadian–Greenland Survey: investigation of structure, kitchens and migration routes

One of the most interesting areas for exploration off southern West Greenland is the area along the Canadian border west of the Maniitsoq and Hecla Rises. Large fault-blocks can be seen on the Greenland side of the border, stepping down towards the Lady Franklin Basin, most of which is on the Canadian side. Because of lack of data from the Canadian side of the border, it is not clear how hydrocarbons could migrate into these blocks from any kitchen area that may exist on the Canadian side of the border. GreenCan2001 is designed to investigate the structures and potential kitchens of the Lady Franklin Basin, and the potential migration routes towards traps located in the Greenland sector. Furthermore, it will provide a tie between three Canadian wells (Hekja O-71, Ralegh N-18, Gjoa G-37) and the Greenland Qulleq-1 well.

Recently, GEUS has received funding to conduct a new biostratigraphic study of these wells. The combination of the information from the seismic survey and the results of the biostratigraphic study could lead to new insights into some of the hydrocarbon plays on the Greenland side of the margin.

The remaining part of the planned survey falls into two groups. One group of NW–SE lines west of the Greenland 2002 licensing area is designed to investigate the strike-slip Ungava/Ikermiut fault zone. The details of how this fault complex moved is important in assessing prospectivity on the Greenland side of the border, but most of the faults and very deep local pull-apart basins lie on the Canadian side. The TGS-NOPEC 2000 survey demonstrates what may be a local pull-apart basin within the fault zone, just west of the Sisimiut-West licence. The area of oil-seepage onshore Disko and Nuussuaq is probably located over the distal NNE-wards extension of this strike-slip fault zone.

The other group of seismic lines is located in the deep-water open-door area south of the Fylla structural complex. The few existing seismic lines in this area show large fault-blocks similar to those in the Fylla licence area. The new lines in this area are designed to investigate deep-seated fault-blocks as well as potential migration routes from the deeper part of the basins between the fault blocks. One of the existing seismic lines shows a potential bright spot in Cenozoic sediments. The nature of the bright spot is uncertain, but may indicate the presence of hydrocarbons.

GreenCan2001 survey across the Greenland-Canada border. Click to enlarge

Figure 5. GreenCan2001 survey across the Greenland–Canada border

For further information please contact TGS-NOPEC:

Jens Christian Olsen
Veras Alle 7
DK-2720 Vanløse
Denmark
Kjell Trommestad
Baarsrudveien 2
N-3478 Nærsnes
Norway

Richard Horscroft
2500 City West Boulevard
Houston, Texas 77042
USA
Phone:+45 38 74 59 50
Fax:+45 38 74 94 89
Phone:+47 31 29 20 00
Fax:+47 31 29 20 10
Phone:+1 713 860 2100
Fax:+1 713 334 3308
E-mail: jenschristian@tgsnopec.no
E-mail: kjell.trommestad@tgsnopec.no
E-mail: richard@tgsnopec.com
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BUREAU OF MINERALS AND PETROLEUM (BMP)
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

GEOLOGICAL SURVEY OF DENMARK AND GREENLAND (GEUS)
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 May 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. 19