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Brookian structural plays in the National Petroleum Reserve, Alaska

Open-File Report 2003-266

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Abstract

As part of the U.S. Geological Survey assessment of undiscovered oil and gas resources in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPRA), two structural plays were assessed in thrust-faulted and folded Upper Cretaceous rocks of the Brookian megasequence. These are the Brookian Topset Structural Play and the Torok Structural Play, located in the Brooks Range foothills and the southern part of the coastal plain, within the Tertiary-age frontal part of the Jurassic to Tertiary Brooks Range orogenic belt. A new regional structural interpretation, developed through regional seismic analyses, reconnaissance field investigations, and new thermal constraints, guided the geologic evaluation and risking of these plays. Volumetric parameters were derived from seismic reflection data, well data and oil and gas field analogs. The fundamental elements of the Brookian Topset Structural Play, exemplified by the undeveloped Umiat oil field, include: (1) reservoirs in Nanushuk Group and uppermost Torok Formation shallow-marine to nonmarine sandstones draped over anticlines caused by structural thickening in underlying Torok mudstones; (2) seals provided by overlying shale drapes in the Nanushuk, and locally by thrust faults; (3) Torok, gamma-ray-zone (GRZ) or pebble shale source rocks; (4) remigration of hydrocarbons from early formed (Late Cretaceous) stratigraphic traps disrupted by 60 Ma thrusting, into newly formed structural traps. The 60 Ma thrusting was probably accompanied by new generation and migration of natural gas resulting from late structural thickening and tectonic loading. Subsurface data from the Umiat field and other seismic reflection data within the play area indicate that the structural traps are commonly compartmentalized by thrust faults. The fundamental elements of the Torok Structural Play, exemplified by the undeveloped East Kurupa gas accumulation just south of NPRA, include: (1) reservoirs in lower Torok Formation basin-floor sandstones, and perhaps in small sandstone bodies intercalated with middle to upper Torok mudstones; (2) structural traps provided by folded sandstone bodies above thrust faults within a pervasively deformed passive-roof duplex beneath the foothills and a less-strongly deformed domain to the north; (3) seals provided by Torok mudstone, both stratigraphically above the sandstone bodies and smeared along bounding thrust faults; (4) Torok, GRZ, pebble shale, or Kingak Shale source rocks; (5) a migration and charging scenario similar to that of the Brookian Topset Structural Play. According to our estimates, the Brookian Topset Structural Play contains 137 million barrels of technically recoverable oil and 10.6 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of technically recoverable, non-associated natural gas, with both values representing the mean estimate (expected value). The Torok Structural Play contains about 35 million barrels of technically recoverable oil and 17.9 TCF of technically recoverable, nonassociated natural gas.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Brookian structural plays in the National Petroleum Reserve, Alaska
Series title:
Open-File Report
Series number:
2003-266
Edition:
-
Year Published:
2003
Language:
ENGLISH
Description:
49 p.