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Shale Basin Evolution in the Central NWT

Shale Basin Evolution in the Central NWT

Bluefish Member and Canol Formation at Flyaway Creek, Peel Plateau. (Credit: Viktor Terlaky)

Description

There is potential for the discovery of new shale oil and gas reserves in NWT’s mainland basins because of the known high quality, mature source rocks identified, primarily in the Devonian age Canol and Hare Indian formations and the Cretaceous age Slater River Formation. Existing framework geoscience and datasets established during the Mackenzie Plain Petroleum Project require crucial detailed study to characterize shale reservoir units. New information from the adjacent Peel Plain and Plateau is needed to expand the knowledge of hydrocarbon resource potential and map organic-rich fairways. A detailed chronostratigraphic interpretation of the Givetian to Middle Frasnian period of shale basin evolution in the studied regions will be undertaken.

Geology Map

Location

The study area is in the Mackenzie Mountains, Mackenzie Plain, Peel Plateau, and Peel Plain.

helicopter on gravel near rock cliff

Justification

The goal is to map thermal maturity trends and differentiate oil-prone and gas-prone potential shale reservoir units in both Devonian and Cretaceous rocks. Legacy core and rock samples will be analysed through various techniques to improve knowledge of petroleum systems in the region. Use of this improved geoscience information supports current and future exploration activity, as well as underpins land use and resource management policies and decisions.

limestone and shale with rock hammer

Approach

Field and core investigations involve detailed examination of sedimentary features and spectral gamma ray measurement throughout the thickness of the stratigraphic intervals at each outcrop and core. Rock samples will be collected to evaluate: 1) source and reservoir rock potential (total organic carbon, porosity, permeability), 2) thermal maturity, 3) thermal history, 4) mineralogy, 5) whole rock geochemistry 6) carbon isotopic signatures, 7) fossils, 8) oil stain and seep inventory, 9) sedimentary grain provenance, 10) ichnology, and 11) absolute ages using carbon and oxygen isotope, rhenium and osmium and conodont dating. Sampling will be conducted on select outcrops and core at a sampling frequency to facilitate the determination of chronostratigraphic surfaces for regional correlation. Additional work will include the interpretation of the available regional seismic data and the incorporation of all pertinent data sets into basin modelling studies.

Outcrop of Devonian rocks at Arctic Red River East. (Credit: Viktor Terlaky)

Schedule

The field and subsurface project was initiated in 2014. Thus far two helicopter-assisted field seasons have been completed. The 2014 season focused on the Central Mackenzie Plain, whereas the 2016 season focused on the southern Peel Plateau. Results of the project to date are currently in press (2014) and in preparation/in press (2016) as an Open File. This project is ongoing and will not be completed until approximately 2022.

river with shale bank

Partners and Support

Kathryn Fiess, Viktor Terlaky, and Jonathan Rocheleau – NTGS
Leanne Pyle – VI Geosciences (2014-15)
Murray Gingras, David Herbers, Maya LaGrange, Brette Harris, Sarah Biddle – University of Alberta

Canol Formation shale, Arctic Red River East. (Credit: Jonathan Rocheleau)

Keywords

RE/TOC, chemostratigraphy, Devonian shales, Cretaceous shales, shale gas or oil play, vitrinite reflectance, rock- eval, total organic carbon, Peel Plateau, Peel Plain, Mackenzie Plain, Canol, Bluefish, Slater River, Arctic Red, chronostratigraphy, seismic interpretation, basin modelling studies.