Abstract

Investigation of petroleum inclusions in carbonate samples from the Senilix well in the Barents Sea reveals petroleum entrapment in Paleozoic carbonates at reservoir temperatures from as low as 87.3°C to more than 130°C. Using corrected bottom hole temperatures, this corresponds to depths of 2800–4100 m, compared to the present-day depth of these samples of only 1965.9–2020.5 m. The oil in the Gohta and Alta discoveries is concluded to be of either Lower Triassic or Paleozoic origin based on the isomer distribution of triaromatic dimethylcholesteroids (TA-DMC). A potential source-rock candidate is the Ørret Formation, which is the time-equivalent to the Ravnefjeld Formation in Greenland. These oils are of a different origin compared to oils in the nearby Skrugard (renamed to Johan Castberg) discovery which contain oil sourced from the Upper Jurassic Hekkingen Formation. Evidence is presented to suggest that the Gohta and Alta oils represent blends of petroleum expelled at maturities ranging from about 1.0% calculated vitrinite reflectance (Rc) to more than 1.3%Rc, and this corroborates the inferences made from the petroleum inclusions. This emerging play is significant to exploration in the karst developed on the Barents Shelf and the Bjarmeland Platform during the Permo-Carboniferous. Karst reservoirs have been linked to eustatic sea-level changes, and analogous karst reservoirs may be present elsewhere in the Circum-Arctic: for example, in the Sverdrup Basin.

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