The recent discovery of major oil resources on Alaska's North Slope has rekindled interest in the petroleum possibilities of the Yukon-Koyukuk province, a vast tract of Cretaceous rocks stretching along the west coast of Alaska from the Brooks Range to the Yukon delta. Attention was first focused on this region in the early 1950's, after oil and gas were discovered in the Cretaceous of the North Slope by the U.S. Navy. The presence of similar Cretaceous strata in the Yukon-Koyukuk province and the possibility that some of the broad alluviated lowlands within the province might be underlain by Tertiary basins were pointed out by Gryc and others (1951) and Payne (1955). Between 1954 and 1961 large parts of the province were reconnoitered by oil company surface parties and a small amount of geophysical work was carried out in the Nulato-Kateel and Bethel areas. The explorational activity culminated in 1960-61 with the drilling of two deep tests, a 12,000-foot hole near Nulato on the Yukon River and a 15,000-foot hole at Napatuk Creek in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Coastal Lowland. Apparently neither test revealed oil shows or favorable reservoir rocks, as exploration and leasing activity in the province declined sharply thereafter.
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Petroleum possibilities of the Yukon-Koyukuk Province, Alaska