Energy in Canada's North

Central Mackenzie Valley Basin Analysis Project – An Update

Tuesday, November 19, 2019 - 9:20am to 9:40am Theatre Three


J. Rocheleau (Presenting)
Northwest Territories Geological Survey

Basin modelling is an important tool to understand the evolution of a sedimentary basin through time. The principal method for this type of analysis is numerical simulation with specialized software. A basin model requires multiple inputs, including but not limited to: stratigraphy, lithology, regional geology, tectonic history, and thermal flux. The Northwest Territories Geological Survey (NTGS) initiated a basin modelling project of the Central Mackenzie Valley (CMV) in order to model the Devonian sedimentary basin, and ultimately to refine the resource estimates for the unconventional hydrocarbon plays of the Horn River Group. In the last 15 years, the CMV has been the subject of multiple surface outcrop and subsurface well studies by both the NTGS and the Geological Survey of Canada. Nonetheless, it is understudied relative to hydrocarbon-producing areas in southern Canada. The regions included in this study are the Mackenzie Plain and adjacent portions of the Peel Plateau, Peel Plain, and Franklin Mountains.

The basin modelling project comprises several phases. The first phase is to identify available public data and prepare them for import into Zetware, the basin modelling package used by NTGS. Approximately 600 wells and 30 outcrops were in the initial dataset selection as inputs for this project. The data must go through a quality assurance before being imported into the software, which will reduce the ultimate total. The following step is setting up a 1-D model for each well or outcrop by entering multiple parameters into Zetaware’s Genesis module. Parameters required for each 1-D model include the lithology (as a percentage composite of sub-lithologies), thickness, and depositional age (to the nearest million years) of each stratigraphic unit, erosion and hiatus events (based on past studies of regional geology and best available knowledge). If available, temperature measurements at depth (from drill-stem tests) and thermal maturity data (%Ro from vitrinite reflectance analysis) are also used in the model.

Future work includes integrating all of the 1-D models into a regional 3-D framework in Zetaware’s Trinity module using surfaces based on recently interpreted seismic data. The following step is to include Zetaware’s Kinex module to model of hydrocarbon generation and expulsion from known source rocks based on real world analytical results. The final integrated 3-D model would then be iteratively tested against current known conditions in the basin for accuracy. A sufficiently accurate model could then be used to understand the evolution of the basin, the development of known hydrocarbon systems, and potentially predict the existence of previously undiscovered resources. This talk will highlight the initial data input steps and creation of 1-D models in Genesis, and give a brief glimpse of future steps in the modelling project.