Petroleum is a a liquid mixture of hydrocarbons present in certain rock layers that can be extracted and refined to produce fuels like gasoline, kerosene, and diesel oil. The Petroleum Group at the Northwest Territories Geological Survey (NTGS) is responsible for the evaluation of the petroleum potential of sediments that were deposited from 530 to 10 million years before present. Areas of hydrocarbon potential are associated with the extension of the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin north from the 60th parallel to the Beaufort Sea.
Some Important factors that we evaluate include: (1) reservoir quality (amount of space and interconnectivity to store hydrocarbons); (2) source rock potential to form hydrocarbons; (3) the thermal history of the source rock to determine if it was sufficiently heated to generate hydrocarbons; (4) potential top and bottom sealing rocks to keep hydrocarbons from migrating out of the reservoir; and timing (5) of structures that help trap hydrocarbons in the reservoir. After we collect data, we map it to show where the areas of highest hydrocarbon potential are. We are currently mapping in the Liard, South Peel and Southern Mackenzie Plain areas.