Late Cretaceous Arctic Source Rock Project

Regionally extensive Late Cretaceous, marine, organic-rich mudstone units that contain oil-prone intervals are found across more than 1,200,000 km2 from the Canadian Arctic Islands to the Beaufort Sea, N. Alaska and potentially even beyond. Despite their importance for hydrocarbon exploration, these units have not been studied in great detail. Current unknowns are the organic matter composition, the lateral continuity of source rock intervals and the timing of source rock deposition. In 2016, CASP geologists visited the Smoking Hills of the Bathurst Peninsula in order that a comprehensive study of the palaeoenvironment and source rock characteristics of the Late Cretaceous Smoking Hills Formation could be carried out. This will complement earlier work carried out on the Kanguk Formation in the Sverdrup Basin.

Main Objectives

  • Characterisation of the source rock potential, organic matter composition and depositional environment of the Late Cretaceous Smoking Hills Formation oil shales, Bathurst Peninsula.
  • Determination of the geochemistry and U-Pb geochronology of bentonites in the Smoking Hills Formation, Bathurst Peninsula.
  • Documentation of the biostratigraphy of the Smoking Hills Formation, Bathurst Peninsula.
  • The ESEM study of organic matter from the Late Cretaceous Kanguk and Smoking Hills formations source rocks in Arctic Canada.
  • Comparison of the signatures of oils (hydrous pyrolysis) from Late Cretaceous mudstones, Arctic Canada.
  • A summary and GIS-database of source rock potential, biochemistry and depositional environments of the Late Cretaceous Kanguk and Smoking Hills formations, Arctic Canada.

Project length: 24 months from January 2018.
Contact: Peter Hülse