Five dry exploratory wells were drilled through Upper Cretaceous and Tertiary sediments on the West Greenland shelf in 1976 and 1977. Two of these entered Precambrian basement, two bottomed in Paleocene or Upper Cretaceous basalt, and one in Campanian mudstone. On the basis of samples and logs supplied to the Geological Survey of Greenland the sedimentary sequence has been divided into seven new formations: the Campanian Narssarmiut Formation, consisting of coarse basement wash and black mudstone; the Campanian to Eocene Ikermiut Formation, consisting of marine organic-rich mudstone; the Upper Paleocene to Eocene Hellefisk Formation, comprising shallow-marine to paralic sandstone and mudstone; the Eocene Nukik Formation, consisting of turbiditic sandstone and mudstone; the Eocene to Oligocene Kangâmiut Formation of shelf to shallow-marine clean and argillaceous sandstone; the Oligocene to Neogene Manîtsoq Formation, consisting of coarse paralic to fan delta sandstone; and the Neogene Ataneq Formation, consisting of protected shallow-marine mudstone.The sedimentary evolution of the area fits well with earlier proposed models for the tectonic evolution of the Baffin Bay–Labrador Sea region.Potential petroleum source rocks are present in the Upper Cretaceous to Paleocene mudstone, and, even though they are largely immature in the drilled sections, they are expected to have entered the petroleum generation zone in the deeper parts of the basin. Their potential is mainly for gas, but some oil potential is also present. No reservoir rocks were encountered in the deeper parts of the sedimentary sequences, and the porous sandstones that occur higher in the sequence lack seals.

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