Skip to Main Content
Book Chapter

Geology and petroleum potential of the Arctic Alaska petroleum province

By
Kenneth J. Bird
Kenneth J. Bird
1
US Geological Survey, 345 Middlefield Road, Menlo Park, CA 94025, USA
Search for other works by this author on:
David W. Houseknecht
David W. Houseknecht
2
US Geological Survey, 12201 Sunrise Valley Drive, Reston, VA 20192, USA
Search for other works by this author on:
Published:
January 01, 2011

Abstract

The Arctic Alaska petroleum province encompasses all lands and adjacent continental shelf areas north of the Brooks Range–Herald Arch orogenic belt and south of the northern (outboard) margin of the Beaufort Rift shoulder. Even though only a small part is thoroughly explored, it is one of the most prolific petroleum provinces in North America with total known resources (cumulative production plus proved reserves) of c. 28 BBOE. The province constitutes a significant part of a displaced continental fragment, the Arctic Alaska microplate, that was probably rifted from the Canadian Arctic margin during formation of the Canada Basin. Petroleum prospective rocks in the province, mostly Mississippian and younger, record a sequential geological evolution through passive margin, rift and foreland basin tectonic stages. Significant petroleum source and reservoir rocks were formed during each tectonic stage but it was the foreland basin stage that provided the necessary burial heating to generate petroleum from the source rocks. The lion's share of known petroleum resources in the province occur in combination structural–stratigraphic traps formed as a consequence of rifting and located along the rift shoulder. Since the discovery of the super-giant Prudhoe Bay accumulation in one of these traps in the late 1960s, exploration activity preferentially focused on these types of traps. More recent activity, however, has emphasized the potential for stratigraphic traps and the prospect of a natural gas pipeline in this region has spurred renewed interest in structural traps. For assessment purposes, the province is divided into a Platform assessment unit (AU), comprising the Beaufort Rift shoulder and its relatively undeformed flanks, and a Fold-and-Thrust Belt AU, comprising the deformed area north of the Brooks Range and Herald Arch tectonic belt. Mean estimates of undiscovered, technically recoverable resources include nearly 28 billion barrels of oil (BBO) and 122 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of nonassociated gas in the Platform AU and 2 BBO and 59 TCF of nonassociated gas in the Fold-and-Thrust Belt AU.

You do not currently have access to this article.

Figures & Tables

Contents

Geological Society, London, Memoirs

Arctic Petroleum Geology

Anthony M. Spencer
Anthony M. Spencer
Statoil, Norway
Search for other works by this author on:
Ashton F. Embry
Ashton F. Embry
Geological Survey of Canada, Canada
Search for other works by this author on:
Donald L. Gautier
Donald L. Gautier
United States Geological Survey, USA
Search for other works by this author on:
Antonina V. Stoupakova
Antonina V. Stoupakova
Moscow State University, Russia
Search for other works by this author on:
Kai Sørensen
Kai Sørensen
Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland
Search for other works by this author on:
Geological Society of London
Volume
35
ISBN electronic:
9781862394100
Publication date:
January 01, 2011

GeoRef

References

Related

Citing Books via

Close Modal
This Feature Is Available To Subscribers Only

Sign In or Create an Account

Close Modal
Close Modal