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Ghexis newsletter No.23 - April 2004

 
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Newsletter No. 23 - April 2004
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Headlines:
1: West Greenland Licensing Round 2004

    Four areas with giant leads open for bid until 1 October 2004
    Competitive licensing terms
2: Tectonic history of Labrador Sea and Baffin Bay
     New evidence from seismic, well and sea-bed data
     Gravity data
     Age of deep successions
     Emerging models and prospectivity
3: Key exploration data
     Area 1: Lady Franklin Basin
     Area 2: Kangaamiut Basin
     Area 3: Ikermiut Ridge
     Area 4: Paamiut Basin
4:  Physical conditions: facts and myths

Download GHEXIS no. 23, April 2004 - in pdf-format (2070 kB; requires Acrobat Reader 4.0 or newer). 

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 4.0 or above only.


West Greenland Licensing Round 2004

Four areas with giant leads open for bid until 1 October 2004

The West Greenland Licensing Round 2004 opened with meetings on 1 April in Copenhagen and 6 April in Houston with participation of all major industry players.

Four areas have been selected for licensing based on the presence of large-scale 4-way closures, structural highs with inverted stratigraphy and deep connected basins allowing source rocks to be mature.

Oil generated from marine shales of possible Jurassic or Cenomanian-Turonian age have earlier been described in West Greenland (see Ghexis 22). A new Ordovician source rock has been demonstrated as a result of a sea bed sampling programme carried out in 2003.

The four areas offered for licensing are:
1 Lady Franklin Basin covering approx. 10,500 km2.
2 Kangaamiut Basin covering approx. 4900 km2.
3 Ikermiut Ridge covering approx. 7000 km2.
4 Paamiut Basin covering approx. 11,200 km2.

For further information on each area, read more below .

Competitive licence terms
Licensing terms are based on a Model Licence. The terms encompass a right for 10 years exploration with a right to a 30 year extension for exploitation. The exploration period is divided into subperiods and before the end of each, the licensee may choose to either surrender the licence or accept the work programme for the next subperiod.

The economic terms are very favourable with a 30% corporate tax, a three tier surplus royalty and a carrying of the public company Nunaoil with 12.5% in the exploration phase.

The Letter of Invitation, Model Licence, Model JOA, and Model Guarantee and Affidavit are all available from the Bureau of Minerals and Petroleum .

Tectonic history of Labrador Sea and Baffin Bay

The opening of the Labrador Sea and Baffin Bay is closely linked to the opening of the North Atlantic during mid-Cretaceous to Early Tertiary time. Modern seismic data, gravity data and detailed geochemical analysis of West Greenland seeping oils have resulted in recent developments of new basin models that have very strong implications for the prospectivity of the Labrador Sea - Baffin Bay region. Read more below .

Physical conditions offshore West Greenland: facts and myths

The adverse problems in the so-called Iceberg Alley off Labrador have coloured the petroleum industry’s view of Greenland exploration. Operating conditions relating to sea ice and icebergs are, however, dramatically different in Greenland than in Canada. Read more below .

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Opening of 2004 Licensing Round in Copenhagen on 1 April 2004 by Mr. Jørgen Wæver Johansen, Minister for Minerals and Petroleum, Goverment of Greenland


Opening Meetings in Copenhagen and Houston with representatives of all major industry players

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Tectonic history of Labrador Sea and Baffin Bay

New evidence from seismic, well and sea-bed data

For a long time there has been a general consensus that the opening of the Labrador Sea and Baffin Bay is closely linked to the opening of the North Atlantic during mid-Cretaceous to Early Tertiary time.

However, modern seismic data combined with an integrated seismic-gravity-magnetic (SGM) interpretation suggest a much earlier history of basin development in the region and furthermore challenge part of the plate tectonic spreading models, including the position of the COB (Continent-Ocean Boundary) in Palaeogene time.

Gravity data

Gravity data have been very useful for depicting major regional structures and especially the 100-km high pass filtered Bouger anomaly maps reveal the position of possibly very deep sedimentary basins in the border areas between Greenland and Canada.

Recent high-quality seismic data prove the existence of locally up to 8s TWT deep sedimentary basins where only the upper half or less may be correlated to known Cretaceous and Palaeogene sequences.

Age of deep successions

The age and nature of the deeper sedimentary sequences are unknown. However, regional analogues and the existence of reworked clasts and microfossils in wells and in onshore outcrops suggest that Lower Palaeozoic and Mesozoic sediments may be present in the deep sedimentary basin.

Ordovician carbonates are common on the Labrador shelf and oil-stained Ordovician limestones have also been recorded from both onshore and offshore West Greenland. Furthermore, Carboniferous, Triassic, Jurassic and Lower Cretaceous palynomorphs have been identified in offshore wells. Especially the presence of Oxfordian-Kimmeridgian dinoflagelates is very encouraging for petroleum exploration possibilities.

The geochemistry of oil seeps and oil-stained carbonates and volcanics onshore West Greenland also suggest the presence of several pre-Upper Cretaceous marine source rocks in the region (see Ghexis 22).

Emerging basin models and prospectivity

Improved seismic data quality has lead to enhanced seismic imaging of deep sedimentary successions. The gravity data and the new seismic data have also lead to a reinterpretation of some of the highs that previously were thought to be basement. This has recently been confirmed by seabed sampling programmes.

With ongoing seismic data acquisition in several poorly covered key areas it is still too early to develop a comprehensive tectonic model for the Labrador Sea ­- Baffin Bay region. However, there seems to be strong evidence for a system of connected older rift basins, several episodes of strike-slip movement with formation of pull-apart basins showing local compressional structures.

Many of the emerging basin models obviously have very strong implications for the prospectivity of the Labrador Sea - Baffin Bay region, especially because the chances for finding Cretaceous and older oil-prone source rocks seem higher than previously believed.

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Click to enlarge - 153 kB
Structural elements of the Labrador Sea - Davis Strait - Baffin Bay area based on an integrated SGM study. Background map shows 100-km high-pass filtered Bouger anomalies. Main structural highs are outlined by the +5mGal contour, and main sedimentary basins by the -5 mGal contour.

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Key exploration data

Area 1: Lady Franklin Basin

Area 1 (approximately 10,500 km2) covers part of the Lady Franklin Basin that stretches along the eastern side of the Ungava Fault Zone in central Davis Strait. Southwards, the Lady Franklin Basin connects with the hydrocarbon province of eastern Canada (Saglek and Hopedale Basins) and northwards there are several connections along the Ungava Zone to the onshore seep province of West Greenland.

  • Leads: Giant-sized leads mapped; mainly as large rotated fault blocks and anticlinal structures close to possible deep kitchens.
  • Closures: Mapped in both Lower and Upper Cretaceous and sometimes also in Palaeogene levels.
  • Reservoirs: Known Santonian reservoir level mappable throughout the region; inferred Lower Cretaceous sandstones in the core of many rotated fault blocks; also possibilities for stratigraphic traps (hanging wall fans).
  • Seal: Regional Upper Cretaceous mudstone seal present, also possibility for Palaeogene mudstone seal.
  • Source: Good possibilities for marine anoxic mid-Cretaceous and Upper Jurassic source rocks within relatively deep sub-basins that connect to the Ungava system (e.g. Maniitsoq Basin). Upper Ordovician source may also be present, cf 2003 seabed sampling programme.
  • Kitchens: Several 10-20 km wide and relatively deep sub-basins with inferred mature source rocks. Generally simple migration pathways.
  • DHIs: Seen as flatspots and gas clouds on some seismic lines.

Click to enlarge - 159 kB

  • Data coverage: No wells within this area; closest wells are Qulleq-1 (> 100 km) and the Canadian Gjoa-G37 (>75 km); many new seismic data from TGS-NOPEC (2000- 2003), some older data from Nunaoil (1997) and GEUS (1990-92). Total coverage approx. 4500 km.
  • Water depth: 700-2000 m.
  • Ice coverage: Some first-year sea ice in north-western part of area in March.
  • Infrastructure: Proximity to year-round deep-water harbour facilities (250-300 km to Nuuk).

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Area 2: Kangaamiut Basin

Area 2 (approximately 4,900 km2) covers part of the Kangamiut Ridge and the Kangaamiut Basin that stretches along the eastern side of the Ungava Zone. Southwards, this sytem of basins connects with the hydrocarbon province of eastern Canada (Saglek and Hopedale Basins) and northwards there are several connections along the Ungava Zone to the onshore seep province of West Greenland.

  • Leads: Giant-sized leads mapped; mainly as large rotated fault blocks and anticlinal structures close to possible deep kitchens.
  • Closures: Mapped in both Lower and Upper Cretaceous and sometimes also in Palaeogene levels.
  • Reservoirs: Inferred Lower Cretaceous sandstones in the core of many rotated fault blocks. The known Santonian reservoir sandstone may be present in parts of the area; also possibilities for structural and stratigraphic traps within the Palaeogene succession (hanging-wall and basin floor fans along and west of the Kangaamiut Ridge).
  • Seal: Regional Upper Cretaceous mudstone seal present, also good possibilities for Palaeogene mudstone seal.
  • Source: Good possibilities for marine anoxic mid-Cretaceous and older source rocks within the deep Kangaamiut Basin that connects to the Ungava Zone.
  • Kitchens: The deep and large Kangaamiut Basin with inferred mature source rocks. Simple migration pathways to the largest leads.
  • Shows: Major gas kick during drilling of Kangâmiut-1 in 1976.
  • DHIs: Dimming in the Palaeogene-Neogene succession above some major leads.

  • Data coverage: Kangâmiut-1 well drilled by Total in 1976 is within the area; the Nukik-1 and Nukik-2 wells from 1977 are relatively close the eastern boundary of the area; many new seismic data from TGS-NOPEC (1999, 2000, 2003), some older data from GEUS and NUNAOIL (1990-92, 1995). Total coverage approx. 2500 km.
  • Water depth: 200-600 m.
  • Ice coverage: Some first-year sea ice in March-April. No downtime during drilling of Kangâmiut-1 well.
  • Infrastructure: Proximity to year-round deep-water harbour facilities (~200 km to Sisimiut).

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Area 3: Ikermiut Ridge

Area 3 (approximately 7000 km2) covers parts of the Ikermiut Ridge and the Sisimiut Basin that stretches along the eastern side of the Ungava Zone in central Davis Strait. Southwards this system of basins connects with the hydrocarbon province of eastern Canada (Saglek and Hopedale Basins) and northwards there are several connections along the Ungava Zone to the nearby onshore seep province of West Greenland.

  • Leads: Giant-sized leads mapped; mainly as large compressional anticlinal structures and thrusts close to possible deep kitchens.
  • Closures: Mapped in Upper Cretaceous and sometimes also in Palaeogene levels.
  • Reservoirs: The known Santonian reservoir sandstone is mappable in parts of the area; also possibilities for Lower Cretaceous sandstones and structural and stratigraphic traps within the Palaeogene succession (hanging-wall and basin floor fans along and west of the Kangaamiut Ridge).
  • Seal: Regional Upper Cretaceous and Palaeogene mudstone seal demonstrated in Ikermiut-1.
  • Source: Good possibilities for marine anoxic mid-Cretaceous and older source rocks within the deep Sisimiut Basin that connect to the Ungava system. There may also be possibilities for mature Paleocene source rocks. Oils from such source rocks are known from the nearby Disko-Nuussuaq region.
  • Kitchens: One large deep kitchen in the Sisimiut Basin with inferred mature source rocks. Simple migration pathways to the largest leads.
  • Shows: HC fluid inclusions in some intervals in Ikermiut-1.
  • DHIs: Brigthening in the Palaeogene-Neogene succession above some major leads.

  • Data coverage: Hellefisk-1 well drilled by ARCO in 1977 is within the area, Ikermiut-1 drilled by Chevron in 1977 is just south of the area; some new seismic data from TGS-NOPEC (1999, 2001-02), some older data from GEUS (1990-92, 1995) and Nunaoil (1998), many relinquished data from Phillips (1999-2000). Total coverage approx. 3500 km.
  • Water depth: 150-500 m.
  • Ice coverage: First-year sea ice in January-March. No downtime during drilling of Hellefisk-1 and Ikermiut-1.
  • Infrastructure: Proximity to year-round deep-water harbour facilities (~150-200 km to Sisimiut).

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Area 4: Paamiut Basin

Area 4 (approximately 11,200 km2) covers part of the Paamiut Basin and includes the Fylla and Atammik Structural Complexes. Deep connections between the Paamiut Basin and the Nuuk Basin are probably present linking the basin with the known petroleum province to the north and possibly also to the Canadian side to the southwest. Furthermore, early rift successions may connect into the Atlantic region along the southwest coast of Greenland.

  • Leads: Giant-sized leads mapped; mainly as large four-way dip closures related to rotated fault blocks close to possible deep kitchens. Thick undrilled successions shown on seismic - presence of Jurassic and Ordovician suggested by reworked palynomorphs and seabed sampling.
  • Closures: Mapped in Upper Cretaceous and sometimes also in Palaeogene levels.
  • Reservoir: Santonian reservoir level penetrated by Qulleq-1 is mappable throughout the region. Older reservoirs within the Lower Cretaceous or older Mesozoic or Paleozoic successions may also be present.
  • Seal: Regional Upper Cretaceous and Palaeogene mudstone seal demonstrated in Qulleq-1.
  • Source: Good possibilities for marine anoxic Cretaceous source rocks within relatively deep subbasins that may connect to the Ungava system. Upper Jurassic and Upper Ordovician source may also be present within rotated fault blocks cf 2002 and 2003 seabed sampling programmes (see Ghexis 22).
  • Kitchens: Local relatively deep subbasins with inferred mature source rocks, especially towards southeast but also northeast of the Qulleq-1 well.
  • DHIs: Gas chimneys, brightening etc. in southernmost part of the area.

  • Data coverage: Qulleq-1 well drilled by Statoil in 2000 is in the central part of the area. Seismic coverage is highly varying: new seismic data towards south from Fugro-Geoteam (1998) and TGS-NOPEC (2001-2003), in the central part relinquished data from Statoil (1997, 1999, 2000) and Nunaoil (1994), towards north data from GEUS (1990/92) and Fugro-Geoteam (1998). Total seismic coverage approx. 5000 km.
  • Water depth: 150-1750 m.
  • Ice coverage: No sea ice and only small icebergs. Downtime due to ice during drilling of Qulleq-1 well in 2000 negligible.
  • Infrastructure: Proximity to year-round deep water harbour facilities (100-200 km to Nuuk).

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Physical conditions: facts and myths

It is a long-held belief, especially in the petroleum industry, that West Greenland waters are heavily ice-infested not only in wintertime, but also during summer, and furthermore that the area is plagued by strong gales and rough seas.

These beliefs are fostered not only by dramatic tales of ship wreckage, tourist information material and TV nature channels but also by the many technical and financial problems the petroleum industry has faced during exploration off eastern Canada due to sea ice and especially drifting icebergs.

The adverse problems in the so-called Iceberg Alley off Labrador have coloured the industry’s view of Greenland exploration - and this is not helped by the fact that more than 90% of the icebergs off Canada actually originate from Greenland glaciers.

Operating conditions relating to sea ice and icebergs are, however, dramatically different in Greenland than in Canada. This is in large part due to a relatively warm arm of the Gulf Stream that diverges northwards along the west coast of Greenland keeping the Greenland part of the Labrador Sea and the Davis Strait navigable essentially year-round. Icebergs are only a minor problem in this area since most have generally travelled far from their source along the north-east coast of Greenland.

In Canadian waters, the major source of the icebergs is from northern West Greenland, mainly in the Disko Bay area and further north. These bergs drift north- or westwards until they are caught and transported southwards by the cold Labrador Current originating in the Arctic Ocean. Of the five wells drilled during the 70s off West Greenland, none experienced any problems with icebergs and during drilling of the Qulleq-1 well in 2000, encroaching icebergs resulted in 28 hours of downtime, much less than the 25 days of technical downtime on the drill ship.

Sea ice
• Sea ice does not form offshore southern West Greenland.
• Sea ice is more dominant on the Canadian east coast.

Icebergs
• Only moderate concentration of icebergs in the four areas offered for licensing.
• Higher densities of icebergs occur north of the licensing areas and along the Canadian coast.

Wind, waves and currents
• Less severe than in the northern North Sea, around the Faroe Islands and West of Shetland.

The other popular myth concerning physical conditions off West Greenland relates to frequent stormy weather conditions and resulting rough seas. This again originates from fishermen’s tales of the southern tip of Greenland - Cape Farewell - that like the Shetlands is situated on major cyclone track across the North Atlantic. Off West Greenland, gales are much less frequent and from this perspective, exploration conditions are more favourable than both West of Shetland and in the northern North Sea.

More detailed information on the physical conditions in the four areas offered for licensing in 2004 is available in a recent publication by the Danish Meteorological Institute ( pdf-file, 4.2 MB).

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Click to enlarge - 152 kB
SeaWiFS image collected on April 1, 2001. There is still plenty of ice visible in northern Davis Strait and along the Labrador coast.
Image courtesy of NASA.

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Iceberg drift pattern off West Greenland and eastern Canada.

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Monthly average of scalar winds off West Greenland and Shetland Islands.

Weather, sea and ice conditions offshore West Greenland - focusing on new licence areas 2004.
Weather, sea and ice conditions offshore West Greenland - focusing on new licence areas 2004.
Report by the Danish Meteorological Institute.

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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
Website: http://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
Website: http://www.geus.dk

ISSN 0909-0630 

Edited by: Martin Sønderholm and Flemming G. Christiansen, GEUS.


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Last modified: 5 December 2003 © GEUS
GHEXIS is published by GEUS in co-operation with the Bureau of Minerals and Petroleum, Government of Greenland