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Int'l Dinner & Meeting

Petroleum-Systems Framework of Significant New Oil Discoveries in a Giant Cretaceous Clinothem in Arctic Alaska

Dave Houseknecht

U.S. Geological Survey

Recent oil discoveries in a Cretaceous clinothem in Arctic Alaska prove the potential for hundred-million to billion-barrel oil accumulations in Nanushuk Formation topsets and Torok Formation foresets–bottomsets. Oil-prone source rocks and the clinothem are draped across the Barrow arch, a structural hinge between the Colville foreland basin and Beaufort Sea rifted margin. Stratigraphic traps lay in a favorable thermal maturity domain along multiple migration pathways across more than 30,000 km2 (10,000 mi2). Sediment flux from Chukotka filled the western Colville foreland basin and spilled over the Beaufort rift shoulder, forming east- and north-facing shelf margins. Progradational shelf-margin trajectories change abruptly to “sawtooth” trajectories at mid-clinothem, the result of reduction in sediment influx. Two stratigraphic trap types are inferred in Nanushuk basal topsets in the eastern part of the clinothem. (1) Lowstand (or falling stage) systems tracts, inferred to reflect forced regression, include a narrow, thick progradational stacking pattern perched on a sequence boundary on the upper slope. (2) Highstand-progradational systems tracts include a broad, thin wedge of shingled parasequences above a toplap surface. Both include stratigraphically isolated sandstone sealed by mudstone. Trap geometries in Torok foreset and bottomset facies in the eastern part of the clinothem include basin-floor fan, slope-apron, and slope-channel deposits that pinch out up-slope and are sealed by mudstone. Significant potential exists for the discovery of additional oil accumulations in these stratigraphic trap types in the eastern part of the clinothem. Less potential may exist in the western part because sequence-stratigraphic successions, and therefore trap geometries, are poorly defined.

Speaker: David W. Houseknecht
Speaker David W. Houseknecht
Dave Houseknecht is a senior research geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) with a focus on basin analysis, geological controls of petroleum resource occurrence, and petroleum resource assessment. This work is mainly concentrated in Arctic Alaska and adjacent regions. He frequently represents the USGS scientific perspective on petroleum resources ...

Dave Houseknecht is a senior research geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) with a focus on basin analysis, geological controls of petroleum resource occurrence, and petroleum resource assessment. This work is mainly concentrated in Arctic Alaska and adjacent regions. He frequently represents the USGS scientific perspective on petroleum resources in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska, and other areas of Alaska and the global Arctic to the Administration and Congress. Dave joined the USGS in 1992, serving as Energy Program Manager through 1998 and then moving to a research position. Previously, Houseknecht was a professor of geology at the University of Missouri (1978-1992) and consultant to the oil industry (1981-1992), working on domestic and international projects. He received geology degrees from Penn State University (Ph.D. 1978, B.S. 1973) and Southern Illinois University (M.S. 1975).

Full Description
Organizer Robert Webster

When?

Wed, Feb. 21, 2018
5:30 p.m. - 8 p.m.
(GMT-0500) US/Central

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Where?

Brookhaven Country Club
3333 Golfing Green Dr.
Farmers Branch, TX 75234