Oil and gas resource potential north of the Arctic Circle
Published:January 01, 2011
Donald L. Gautier, Kenneth J. Bird, Ronald R. Charpentier, Arthur Grantz, David W. Houseknecht, Timothy R. Klett, Thomas E. Moore, Janet K. Pitman, Christopher J. Schenk, John H. Schuenemeyer, Kai Sørensen, Marilyn E. Tennyson, Zenon C. Valin, Craig J. Wandrey, 2011. "Oil and gas resource potential north of the Arctic Circle", Arctic Petroleum Geology, Anthony M. Spencer, Ashton F. Embry, Donald L. Gautier, Antonina V. Stoupakova, Kai Sørensen
Download citation file:
The US Geological Survey recently assessed the potential for undiscovered conventional petroleum in the Arctic. Using a new map compilation of sedimentary elements, the area north of the Arctic Circle was subdivided into 70 assessment units, 48 of which were quantitatively assessed. The Circum-Arctic Resource Appraisal (CARA) was a geologically based, probabilistic study that relied mainly on burial history analysis and analogue modelling to estimate sizes and numbers of undiscovered oil and gas accumulations. The results of the CARA suggest the Arctic is gas-prone with an estimated 770–2990 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered conventional natural gas, most of which is in Russian territory. On an energy-equivalent basis, the quantity of natural gas is more than three times the quantity of oil and the largest undiscovered gas field is expected to be about 10 times the size of the largest undiscovered oil field. In addition to gas, the gas accumulations may contain an estimated 39 billion barrels of liquids. The South Kara Sea is the most prospective gas assessment unit, but giant gas fields containing more than 6 trillion cubic feet of recoverable gas are possible at a 50% chance in 10 assessment units. Sixty per cent of the estimated undiscovered oil resource is in just six assessment units, of which the Alaska Platform, with 31% of the resource, is the most prospective. Overall, the Arctic is estimated to contain between 44 and 157 billion barrels of recoverable oil. Billion barrel oil fields are possible at a 50% chance in seven assessment units. Undiscovered oil resources could be significant to the Arctic nations, but are probably not sufficient to shift the world oil balance away from the Middle East.
Figures & Tables
Arctic Petroleum Geology
The vast Arctic region contains nine proven petroleum provinces with giant resources but over half of the sedimentary basins are completely undrilled, making the region the last major frontier for conventional oil and gas exploration. This book provides a comprehensive overview of the geology and the petroleum potential of the Arctic. Nine papers offer a circum-Arctic perspective on the Phanerozoic tectonic and palaeogeographic evolution, the currently recognized sedimentary basins, the gravity and magnetic fields and, perhaps most importantly, the petroleum resources and yet-to-find potential of the basins. The remaining 41 papers provide data-rich, geological and geophysical analyses and individual oil and gas assessments of specific basins throughout the Arctic. These detailed and well illustrated studies cover the continental areas of Laurentia, Baltica and Siberia and the Arctic Ocean. Of special interest are the 13 papers providing new data and interpretations on the extensive, little known, but promising, basins of Russia.
A DVD is provided inside the back of the book, that contains PDFs of all papers plus all related Supplementary Publications.