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Abstract

Northern Alaska is a prolific oil and gas province estimated to contain a sig-nificant proportion of the undiscovered oil and gas of the circum-Arctic. A three-dimensional petroleum system model was constructed with the aim of significantly improving the understanding of the generation, migration, accumulation, and loss of hydrocarbons in the region. This study provides a unique geologic perspective that will reduce exploration risk and assess the remaining potential hydrocarbon resources in this remote province.

The present-day geometry is based on newly interpreted seismic data and a database of more than 400 wells. A key aspect of this model is an improved reconstruction of the progradation of the time-transgressive Cretaceous–Tertiary Brookian sequence and multiple erosion events in the Tertiary. The deposition of these overburden rocks controlled the timing of hydrocarbon generation in underlying source rocks and their principal migration from the Colville Basin northward to the Barrow Arch. The model provides a reconstruction of the complex and dynamic interplay of diachronous de-position and erosion and allows assessment of variations in migration behavior and prediction of the present-day petroleum distribution.

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