Energy in Canada's North

2019-20 Activity Update – Energy Geosciences Group

Tuesday, November 19, 2019 - 8:00am to 8:20am Theatre Three


K.M. Fiess (Presenting)
Northwest Territories Geological Survey

In June 2019, the Northwest Territories Geological Survey (NTGS) Petroleum Geosciences group was renamed Energy Geosciences group. The name change is appropriate as it more accurately reflects the scope of the geoscience research the team is mandated to undertake. This team promotes the development of energy resources in the Northwest Territories (NWT) by evaluating hydrocarbon and geothermal resource potential, generating regional and thematic geoscience knowledge to underpin successful exploration, and providing scientific advice to inform policy and regulatory decisions concerning these resource areas.

The Energy Geosciences group advanced work on three primary projects during fiscal 2018-19. These include the Shale Basin Evolution Project in the Central Northwest Territories (NWT) (Shale Basin Evolution Project), the Conventional Marketable Gas Resource Mapping Project, and a Geothermal Geoscience Scoping Project. Work continued on these projects into fiscal 2019-2020.

The Shale Basin Evolution Project is a multi-year, multi-disciplinary collaborative study, first initiated in 2014. The study area includes the Mackenzie Plain, Peel Plain, and southeastern Peel Plateau regions of the NWT. The project comprises of three main research components and one data synthesis phase that will culminate in a peer-reviewed publication before  March 31, 2021. The research components include a university research collaboration, a regional geological-seismic mapping project, and a regional basin modeling study.

A University research collaboration was initiated in 2016 with Dr. Murray Gingras of the University of Alberta (U of A) and three graduate students. The objective of the U of A  research project is to assess the reservoir quality of the Upper Devonian Shales of the Central Mackenzie Valley, Northwest Territories using sedimentology, ichnologic, and geochemical parameters. These data and various other parameters will also be used to establish a high-resolution sequence stratigraphic framework and assess paleoredox conditions and organic matter type and distribution in the Horn River Group. The U of A 2019-20 project deliverables includes project documentation, multiple peer-reviewed publications, and some additional geochemical research.

Fieldwork was conducted in July 2019, to support the Shale Basin Evolution Project and to scope several outcrops identified for future Imperial Formation related research.

A regional geological-seismic mapping project was recently undertaken to create good quality subsurface formation isopach and structure maps for input into the basin modeling study. Initial basin modeling results are targeted for 2020.

The Conventional Gas Resource Mapping Project was completed in fiscal 2019-20 and is currently in the Open Report publication process. The soon available map will show the distribution of discovered natural gas resource volumes in the NWT, as reported by the National Energy Board in 2014, with respect to communities, existing pipelines, and road infrastructure. Shapefiles and metadata for the ArcGIS project will be published with the Open Report.  

Lastly, a reservoir characterization study of the Nahanni Formation carbonate was commenced in the Fort Liard area of the NWT. The purpose of this study is to assess reservoir quality, continuity, and reservoir risk factors associated with the Nahanni Formation as a potential geothermal resource reservoir. This study will be completed by March 31, 2020.