NWT Open File 2003-03 Evaluation of Oil and Gas Potential in the Deh Cho Territory

L.P. Gal and A.L. Jones
Recommended Citation: Gal, L.P. and Jones, A.L., 2003. Evaluation of oil and gas potential in the Deh Cho territory; C.S. Lord Northern Geoscience Centre, Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. NWT Open File 2003-03, 88p.

P.O. Box 1500, 4601-B 52 Avenue Yellowknife, NT X1A 2R3 867.669.2636 Fax 867.669.2725

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Members of the C.S. Lord Northern Geoscience Centre’s petroleum geoscience group have undertaken a petroleum potential evaluation of the Deh Cho territory for the Deh Cho Land Use Planning Committee (DCLUPC). In addition to this evaluation and a discussion of the methodology behind it, an overview of the geology, hydrocarbon occurrences, and established and conceptual plays in the study area is provided. Appendices include exploration well and production information, educational materials on petroleum geology and the industry in general, as well as sources of further information. Maps and figures are provided throughout to illustrate important concepts and findings. An ESRI ArcView® project and accompanying GIS-ready data shapefiles of the potential mapping results were provided on separate CD to the DCLUPC for assimilation into their planning exercises. Deh Cho territory includes parts of two major geological provinces; the Cordillera and Interior Platform. Cordillera encompasses the Mackenzie Mountains and related components; dominantly Paleozoic and Mesozoic rocks that were uplifted, faulted, folded and generally deformed, mostly in Late Cretaceous time. Interior Platform comprises gently dipping, generally undisturbed sedimentary rocks of Paleozoic and Mesozoic age. The sedimentary rocks that comprise both provinces were mainly deposited in marine conditions on the margin of the ancestral North American continent. Some Cretaceous sedimentary rocks were deposited on the continent, and the source of sediments was the newly uplifted mountains. A foundation of Precambrian crystalline and sedimentary rocks underlies both the Interior Platform and Cordillera, and these “basement” rocks are also involved in Cordilleran deformation. A mantle of unconsolidated glacial deposits overlies much of the Interior Platform bedrock, and some of the Cordillera. The Cordillera and Interior Platform have been further divided into a number of domains or exploration areas, often informally referred to as basins. These exploration areas are: Selwyn Fold Belt, Mackenzie Mountains, Mackenzie Plain, Franklin Mountains, Great Bear Plain, Great Slave Plain, and Liard Plateau. At the time of this writing, 443 hydrocarbon wells have been drilled in Deh Cho territory. Most of these were new field wildcat wells; that is, their objective was to discover a new hydrocarbon field. Of these wells, 127 hydrocarbon occurrences have been documented, amounting to some 30% of all the wells. These occurrences range from minor oil streaks or gas bubbles observed in drilling mud being returned from subsurface formations, to producing and past producing wells. The currently producing fields in Deh Cho are natural gas from Fort Liard region, and gas with oil from Cameron Hills. Several other significant discoveries have been made that are not developed. The known occurrences can mostly be related to a given rock bed, or reservoir. They can also be described as belonging to a specific hydrocarbon play. This study of petroleum potential is based on the concept of the hydrocarbon play. A play is family of hydrocarbon pools and/or prospects (accumulations and/or potential accumulations) that share common geological characteristics and history of hydrocarbon generation, migration, reservoir development, and trap configuration.

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Hydrocarbons are generated in source rocks that are typically rich in organic matter. The type of organic matter, and depth and time of burial of potential source sediments are the major factors that determine whether gas or oil is generated. In Deh Cho territory, the Middle Devonian shales are prolific source rocks that generated mainly gas in western Deh Cho, and gas with oil in eastern Deh Cho. Hydrocarbons migrate from source rocks into reservoir rocks where they may be trapped. The reservoir rocks must be porous and permeable enough to hold and permit transport of oil and gas. There are many potential reservoir rocks in the subsurface of Deh Cho territory; chiefly sandstones, dolostones, and limestones. As well, many possible stratigraphic and structural traps can occur; these can be related to basement features, stratigraphic facies and subcrop limits, and Laramide folds, among others. The timing of trap formation with respect to hydrocarbon generation and migration is a crucial aspect to forming hydrocarbon traps, and is not always well constrained. Twenty plays were identified in this study; 9 are established (with known discoveries) and 11 are conceptual (geologically possible, some with known hydrocarbon occurrences). Some of the established plays only have discoveries south of 60°N latitude. Established plays generally have more information associated with them, and have been tested by more wells. The established plays were given a higher potential ranking due to their association with known hydrocarbon occurrences and the attendant increased amount of information. The mapped play areas were combined based on the number of established and conceptual plays in a given area, to create a polygon map of petroleum potential. The greatest potential for hydrocarbons is in Liard Plateau and Great Slave Plain. This is not surprising, as the southern Great Slave Plain is the natural extension of the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin, a long-producing and prolific hydrocarbon region in Saskatchewan, Alberta, and northeast British Columbia. In Great Slave Plain, significant plays are associated with the Middle Devonian carbonate barrier complex, and northeast trending reactivated basement faulting. In addition, there are plays throughout the Paleozoic succession and into Cretaceous strata. In Liard Plateau and adjacent Great Slave Plain, Laramide (Late Cretaceous) structures are important in forming structural traps, in a setting analogous to the Foothills plays of northeastern British Columbia and Alberta. Northward in Great Slave Plain, there is lesser potential as the Middle Devonian carbonate barrier complex gives way to a shale basin. There are opportunities in Lower Paleozoic rocks here. Great Bear Plain and Mackenzie Plain have similar geology to Great Slave Plain, and have much of the same potential, but are even less explored. The mountain areas (Mackenzie Mountains, Franklin Mountains, and Selwyn Fold Belt) have the lowest potential for containing hydrocarbons.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS ABSTRACT.................................................................................................................................. V INTRODUCTION......................................................................................................................... 1 GEOLOGICAL OVERVIEW OF THE DEH CHO TERRITORY ........................................ 1 Interior Platform ............................................................................................................................ 3
Great Slave Plain .................................................................................................................................... 5 Great Bear Plain ..................................................................................................................................... 6

Cordillera........................................................................................................................................ 6
Franklin Mountains................................................................................................................................ 6 Mackenzie Plain...................................................................................................................................... 6 Mackenzie Mountains ............................................................................................................................ 7 Liard Plateau .......................................................................................................................................... 7 Selwyn Fold Belt ..................................................................................................................................... 7

STRATIGRAPHY ........................................................................................................................ 9 Introduction.................................................................................................................................... 9 Early and Middle Cambrian strata.............................................................................................. 13 Late Cambrian to Early Ordovician strata.................................................................................. 13 Late Ordovician to Silurian strata............................................................................................... 13 Devonian strata ............................................................................................................................ 14 Devonian depositional history ..................................................................................................... 15 Carboniferous strata .................................................................................................................... 16 Permian strata .............................................................................................................................. 17 Triassic strata ............................................................................................................................... 17 Jurassic strata .............................................................................................................................. 17 Cretaceous strata.......................................................................................................................... 17 HYDROCARBON PLAYS IN THE DEH CHO TERRITORY ............................................ 18 Petroleum resources and occurrences ........................................................................................ 18 Liard Plateau................................................................................................................................ 22
Play #1: Laramide/Manetoe ................................................................................................................ 22

Pointed Mountain field ......................................................................................................... 25 La Biche field ........................................................................................................................ 27 Fort Liard K-29 field ............................................................................................................ 27 Fort Liard P-66A .................................................................................................................. 27 Bovie Lake J-72..................................................................................................................... 28
Play #2: Laramide/Windflower ........................................................................................................... 28

Liard N-60............................................................................................................................. 31 Fort Liard F-36 field............................................................................................................. 31 Great Slave Plain ......................................................................................................................... 31

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Play #3: Slave Point edge ..................................................................................................................... 32

Arrowhead G-69 ................................................................................................................... 34 South Island River M-41 ....................................................................................................... 35 Trainor Lake C-39 ................................................................................................................ 35 Netla C-07............................................................................................................................. 35
Play #4: Slave Point back barrier/Northeast fault structures ......................................................... 36

Rabbit Lake field ................................................................................................................... 38 Cameron Hills field............................................................................................................... 39 Celibeta H-78........................................................................................................................ 42 Tathlina N-18 ........................................................................................................................ 44 Grumbler G-63...................................................................................................................... 44 Kakisa F-35........................................................................................................................... 45
Play #5: Sulphur Point/Bistcho ........................................................................................................... 45 Play #6: Lonely Bay platform isolated reefs/Horn Plateau............................................................... 46

Mink Lake I-38 ...................................................................................................................... 49 Trout River D-14................................................................................................................... 49
Play #7: Basal Cretaceous clastics....................................................................................................... 50

Arrowhead B-41, Bovie Lake M-05 ...................................................................................... 51
Play #8: Jean Marie Member .............................................................................................................. 52

Celibeta H-78, Cormack C-65A, Arrowhead I-46 ................................................................ 52
Play #9: Keg River/Cordova Embayment .......................................................................................... 54 Play #10: Pre-Devonian basal clastics (La Loche) ............................................................................. 56 Play #11: Keg River reef (Rainbow) ................................................................................................... 57 Play #12: Arnica/Landry platform...................................................................................................... 58 Play #13: Lonely Bay/Nahanni platform ............................................................................................ 59 Play #14: Kakisa/Redknife platform................................................................................................... 60 Play #15: Upper Paleozoic (sub-Cretaceous) subcrop....................................................................... 60 Play #16: Triassic subcrop ................................................................................................................... 62 Play #17: Bovie structure ..................................................................................................................... 62 Play #18: Silurian-Ordovician platform............................................................................................. 64

Great Bear Plain .......................................................................................................................... 65
Play #19: Basal Cambrian clastics ...................................................................................................... 65

Mackenzie Mountains.................................................................................................................. 67
Play #20: Plateau Overthrust .............................................................................................................. 67

Mackenzie Plain........................................................................................................................... 67 Franklin Mountains..................................................................................................................... 68 Selwyn Fold Belt .......................................................................................................................... 68 PETROLEUM POTENTIAL EVALUATION ........................................................................ 69 Methodology ................................................................................................................................. 69
Sources of Information......................................................................................................................... 69 Definitions ............................................................................................................................................. 69 Petroleum Potential Ranking .............................................................................................................. 70

Previous Petroleum Potential Assessments................................................................................. 73 Discussion of Results ................................................................................................................... 75

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ....................................................................................................... 79 CITED REFERENCES .............................................................................................................. 79 APPENDICES ............................................................................................................................. 85 Appendix A ................................................................................................................................... 85 Appendix B ................................................................................................................................... 86 Appendix C ................................................................................................................................... 86 Appendix D................................................................................................................................... 87 LIST OF FIGURES 1. Geological provinces and exploration areas in the Deh Cho territory...................................... 2 2. Surface topography and subsurface geological features in the Deh Cho territory ................... 4 3. South side of Horn Plateau, northern Great Slave Plain........................................................... 5 4. Middle Devonian limestone at Louise Falls, Great Slave Plain ............................................... 5 5. Carcajou Canyon west of Norman Wells, representative of Mackenzie Plain ......................... 7 6. Drilling rig in the Liard Plateau area ........................................................................................ 8 7. View from a U-shaped glacial valley in the Selwyn Fold Belt................................................. 8 8. Table of formations for the Deh Cho territory........................................................................ 10 9. Southwest-northeast regional cross section of the Deh Cho territory..................................... 11 10. Northeast-southwest regional cross section of the Deh Cho territory .................................... 12 11. Petroleum occurrences in the Deh Cho territory..................................................................... 19 12. Middle Devonian hydrocarbon plays in the Deh Cho territory .............................................. 23 13. Liard Plateau: thrust fault play - Pointed Mountain................................................................ 24 14. Source rock maturity map for the Deh Cho territory.............................................................. 26 15. NE B.C. and SW NWT: Laramide/Windflower play ............................................................ .29 16. Late Paleozoic and Cretaceous hydrocarbon plays in the Deh Cho territory ......................... 30 17. Trout Lake Area: Slave Point edge......................................................................................... 33 18. Interpretation of seismic line (NIR-13, Northcor Energy) across Slave Point edge............... 34 19. Interpreted seismic line, Netla C-07 well at Slave Point edge................................................ 36 20. NE trending basement faults interpreted from seismic and geophysical surveys................... 37 21. Interpreted seismic line (OSL-06, Northcor Energy) across Slave Point edge....................... 39 22. Cameron Hills: Horst and Graben play................................................................................... 40 23. Interpreted seismic line (8090, Petro-Canada), Cameron Hills .............................................. 41 24. Gamma and density well logs from Cameron Hills M-31...................................................... 42 25. Interpreted seismic line (NCL-07, Northcor Energy), Celibeta High..................................... 43 26. Interpreted seismic line (JCP-ES1-B2, PanCanadian), Slave Point edge, Kakisa Lake......... 45 27. Interpreted seismic line (080-35-839, Petro-Canada), Arrowhead River H-31 well............. .48 28. Interpreted seismic line (D8106, Petro-Canada), Horn Plateau Formation reef..................... 49 29. Distribution of Cretaceous strata ............................................................................................ 50 30. Interpreted seismic line, Jean Marie Member platform edge ................................................. 53 31. Gamma and resistivity well log curves, Arrowhead I-46 well ............................................... 54 32. Early Paleozoic hydrocarbon plays in the Deh Cho territory ................................................. 55 33. Cretaceous subcrop map ......................................................................................................... 61

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34. Bovie structural zone cross section......................................................................................... 63 35. Precambrian basement structure contour map ........................................................................ 66 36. Hydrocarbon potential ranking map ....................................................................................... 76 37. Hydrocarbon potential and confidence ranking map .............................................................. 77 38. Hydrocarbon potential composite map (10 km x 10 km grid)................................................ 78 LIST OF TABLES 1. 2. 3. 4. Natural gas reserve and resource estimates for significant discoveries, pools and fields....... 20 Summary of hydrocarbon plays in this study ......................................................................... 21 Hydrocarbon potential evaluation system used in this study.................................................. 72 Undiscovered marketable gas potential for established and conceptual plays ....................... 74

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ABSTRACT The C.S. Lord Northern Geoscience Centre has undertaken an evaluation of oil and gas potential for the Deh Cho Land Use Planning Committee. This knowledge-based, qualitative analysis is based on known hydrocarbon plays in the Deh Cho territory. A play is defined as a family of hydrocarbon pools and/or prospects (accumulations and/or potential accumulations) that share common geological characteristics and history of hydrocarbon generation, migration, reservoir development, and trap configuration. Twenty plays were mapped in Deh Cho territory; 9 established (with discoveries) and 11 conceptual (geologically possible). The established plays were given a higher ranking due to their association with known hydrocarbon occurrences and the attendant increased information. Play areas were stacked to create a polygon map showing areas of relative petroleum potential. Results of the evaluation indicate that the areas of highest potential lie south of 61°N in Deh Cho territory. The location of the middle Devonian carbonate barrier is a major element of this highest potential area. In southwestern Deh Cho, Laramide structures at the Cordilleran front (analogous to Foothills geology) are highly prospective. In addition to Devonian reservoirs, younger Paleozoic and Cretaceous strata are also proven reservoirs. The most prolific source rocks are mostly overmature (i.e., in the dry gas phase) in western Deh Cho, but may be less mature and therefore oil bearing in the east. Petroleum potential decreases northward, as Middle Devonian carbonates are replaced by dominantly basinal clastics. This is somewhat compensated by lower Paleozoic clastic and carbonate reservoirs that potentially increase in importance in northern Deh Cho. The mountainous Selwyn Fold Belt, Mackenzie Mountains, and Franklin Mountains are considered to have lower potential.

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INTRODUCTION The Deh Cho Land Use Planning Committee (DCLUPC) posted a request for proposals (RFP) in the fall of 2002 for A Spatial Analysis and Literature Review of Oil and Gas Potential in the Deh Cho Territory, NWT. No acceptable proposals were received. The C.S. Lord Northern Geoscience Centre (CSLNGC) was asked by the DCLUPC to provide comment on the RFP. After some consultation, the CSLNGC provided a proposal to the DCLUPC to carry out an Oil and Gas Potential Evaluation of Deh Cho Region. This proposal was accepted, and a contract between DCLUPC and Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC), with the CSLNGC as the contractor, was initiated. The purpose of this report is to assess the petroleum (oil and gas) potential of Deh Cho territory through: compilation and assessment of all available, relevant information from a variety of sources; cataloguing and classifying known petroleum occurrences; creating a GIS-compatible map of petroleum potential; and a summary report with supporting maps, tables, and figures. This report constitutes a final summary report and is being released to the public as NWT Open File 2003-03. GEOLOGICAL OVERVIEW OF THE DEH CHO TERRITORY The Deh Cho territory (hereafter informally referred to as the Deh Cho) includes parts of two major geological provinces of Canada. These are the Cordillera, generally west of the Mackenzie and Liard Rivers, and Interior Platform in the east (Figure 1). The Canadian Shield lies further to the east, outside of Deh Cho, but is nonetheless important to the understanding of the region’s geology. The Canadian Shield is a vast exposure of very old (Precambrian age) metamorphosed igneous and sedimentary rocks. These ancient rocks form the core of the continental landmass, and lie below the rocks of the Interior Platform, forming the “basement” to these younger, overlying rocks, and influencing their distribution. The depth to “basement” increases as one moves westward from the edge of the Shield, or stated another way, the wedge of rocks comprising Interior Platform increases to the west and southwest from a zero thickness at the edge of the Shield. Bedrock exposures are common along lakeshores and river valleys, and within the mountain ranges of Deh Cho. However, much of the area is capped in gravel, sand and till deposits of the Laurentide (the last; Wisconsin age) continental glaciation, as well as deposits in the Cordillera from mountain glaciers. The thickness of these till deposits ranges up to several hundred metres. These deposits mask bedrock exposures, and hence an understanding of structures, but they are the main source of aggregate and road construction materials.

Evaluation of Oil and Gas Potential in the Deh Cho Territory

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Fra nkl
Cap Mountain Wrigley U x

U

Blackwater Lake

Community Deh Cho territory

U

Keller Lake

CANADIAN SHIELD

in M oun tain s

Great Bear Plain
Fish Lake Highland Lake

Cany

Greasy Lake

INTERIO PLATFO R RM

LERA

Nah

CORDIL

* denotes column on Figure 8 (Table of formations)

Bac kbo ne R ang es
Selwyn Fold Belt
50 0

Mackenzie Mountains

Figure 1. Geological provinces and exploration areas in the Deh Cho territory.

on Ra
ann

Mackenzie Plain

nges
i Riv er
km

Bulmer Lake

Willowlake River Ebbutt Hills Camsell Bend Macke nzie R Sibbeston Lake
Liard

iver
Fort Simpson

Marten Hills

U

Horn Plateau*

Willow Lake

River

Jean Marie River

Great Slave Plain
U

Fort Providence

U

Great Slave Lake

U Nahanni Butte Liard Plateau*

Kakisa U Lake Kakisa

Hay River

UUHay River Reserve

Trout Trout Lake Lake Area* U Sambaa
K'ee

Tathlina Lake

Enterprise

U

UFort Liard
50 100

Cameron Hills*

Buffalo Lake

N

Exploration areas from Davenport (2001).

The Interior Platform and Cordillera are subdivided into seven exploration areas (Figure 1; Davenport, 2001) within the Deh Cho: Great Slave Plain, Great Bear Plain, Franklin Mountains, Mackenzie Plain, Mackenzie Mountains, Liard Plateau, and Selwyn Fold Belt; and the sedimentary portion of the NWT to the north has several more. Their division is based on geological history, physiographic and structural characteristics, as well as changes in bedrock geology. Interior Platform The Interior Platform in the eastern Deh Cho is composed of Paleozoic, Mesozoic, and Cenozoic sedimentary rocks lying in an extensive basin between the Canadian Shield to the east and the Cordillera to the west. Paleozoic and lower Mesozoic clastic, carbonate, and evaporite sediments were deposited on platforms and within marginal (and pericratonic) basins, thickening to the west, on the actively rifting to passive western margin of the cratonic Canadian Shield (Stott and Aitken, 1993). Deposition was not uniform throughout the Phanerozoic eon as there were repeated periods of uplift, erosion, and subsidence. Sedimentation in the late Mesozoic increased during Cordilleran uplift, erosion, and infilling of the Cordilleran Foreland Basin (Stott and Aitken, 1993). The southern NWT is the northward extension of the prolific, somewhat informally named Western Canada Sedimentary Basin (WCSB), the source of much of Canada’s conventional and non-conventional petroleum resources. The WCSB is subdivided, based on physiography, into several exploration areas south of the border including Alberta Plain, Alberta Plateau, and Peace River Lowlands. The northern boundary of the WCSB varies in the literature from an economically induced cut-off at 62°N latitude to the La Martre Arch (Figure 2), a west-east trending basement feature. The WCSB has also been used synonymously with the entire Interior Platform, extending northward up to the Mackenzie Delta. Within the Interior Platform and Deh Cho territory are two exploration areas: the Great Slave and Great Bear plains (Stott and Klassen, 1993).

Evaluation of Oil and Gas Potential in the Deh Cho Territory

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U

Bulmer Lake Arch

Liard High

La

M a

Root Basin

r tr e

Arch

Bulmer Lake arch- Precambrian to Ordovician (after Dixon and Stasiuk, 1998) Great Slave Lake shear zone, Tathlina and Hay River fault zones - Precambrian to Paleozoic (after Burwash et al., 1994) La Martre arch - Precambrian (to pre-Cretaceous?) (after Meijer Drees, 1993) NE trending structures - Paleozoic (after MacLean and Morrow, 2001) Root Basin - early Ordovician to Middle Devonian (after Morrow and Cook, 1987) Liard High, Tathlina High - Devonian (after Meijer Drees, 1993) Slave Point edge - lower to middle Devonian (after MacLean, pers. comm.; Canadian Gas Potential Committee, 2001) Celibeta High - lower Devonian to post-Cretaceous (after Williams, 1977) Liard Basin - Cretaceous (after Leckie et al., 1991) Bovie Anticline - latest pre-Cretaceous to Laramide (after MacLean, 2002) U Community Deh Cho territory

U U

UB

er eav

Riv

tru er s

ct

ure

U

Bovie Anticline

Liard Basin

U

ou Tr

t

b Rab

Gre a she t Slav ar z e L one ake

50

0

km

Arrowhead Salient
50 100

Lia

rd
ef

e Lin
z ult

Slav
ne

int e Po

Edg

e

Tathlina High

U k La

a

o

hli Tat
Hay R f iver au

U

na f
e

zo ault

ne
UU U

it L

fa ake

ult

z

one

on lt z

va rdo nt Co ayme b Em

N

Figure 2. Surface topography and subsurface geological features (and their timing; see text for details) in the Deh Cho territory .

hn ent Utaa ym Emb

Celibeta High

Great Slave Plain

The Great Slave Plain underlies the southern and eastern Deh Cho. Below the glacial till cover, the bedrock is dominantly Devonian carbonate rocks and Cretaceous clastic rocks (west of Tathlina Lake; figures 3 and 4). Cretaceous outliers cap the plateaus and highlands (figures 1 and 2) such as Cameron Hills, Horn Plateau (an outlier of the Alberta Plateau), and the Ebbutt and Marten hills. Much of the surface is below 325 m in elevation.

Figure 3. South side of Horn Plateau, northern Great Slave Plain. (L. Gal, CSLNGC)

Figure 4. Middle Devonian limestone at Louise Falls, Great Slave Plain. (L .Gal, CSLNGC)
Evaluation of Oil and Gas Potential in the Deh Cho Territory 5

Great Bear Plain

Great Bear Plain includes the northern portion of Deh Cho territory, from Highland Lake north of the Willowlake River to Keller and Blackwater lakes (Figure 1). Great Bear Plain is physiographically similar to Great Slave Plain; the land surface is mostly below 300 m in elevation. The plains are separated by a gentle arch in the basement Precambrian rocks (La Martre Arch) at depth (Figure 2). Great Bear Plain is also coincident with a broad expanse of flat-lying Cretaceous bedrock, but with only minor Paleozoic carbonate rocks in the western part adjacent to the Franklin Mountains, unlike the abundant Devonian age exposures in the Great Slave Plain. Cordillera The Cordillera encompasses all the mountain ranges that lie along the western margin of the Americas. This is a region of uplifted, folded, and faulted rocks and includes rocks ranging in age from Recent to Precambrian. Tectonic forces have disturbed the rocks here during mountain building episodes. Most of this disturbance took place during the Laramide orogeny (Late Cretaceous to Early Tertiary). The same Phanerozoic rock units that lie gently dipping in Interior Platform are deformed and exposed at surface in the Cordillera, permitting correlation between surface exposures and subsurface well cores. The Cordillera in Deh Cho territory is divided into a number of physiographic and geologically based exploration areas (Figure 1; Stott and Klassen, 1993). Mountain areas are generally less prospective for oil and gas, because these rocks have been uplifted on folds and faults and are exposed at the surface, allowing for dissipation of any hydrocarbons present. The Foothills at the transition of Cordillera to Interior Platform are in contrast, very prospective; because associated structures are likely to form petroleum traps in the subsurface. The Foothills regions of Alberta, northeast B.C., and more recently, the Fort Liard area are known targets for natural gas exploration in western Canada.
Franklin Mountains

The Franklin Mountains are the easternmost range of the Cordillera, and trend northward from the Willowlake River (Figure 1). They are relatively low lying, heavily glaciated ranges. These mountains are asymmetric anticlines possibly cored by steeply dipping reverse faults (Stott and Klassen, 1993), or mobile salt (MacLean and Cook, 2000). Devonian and older rocks are exposed at the surface, with some Precambrian sedimentary rock outcropping northeast of Wrigley at Cap Mountain (Figure 1). Although these mountains are the easternmost expression of deformation at the surface in the northern Deh Cho, structures that are attributable to Laramide deformation do occur to the east.
Mackenzie Plain

Mackenzie Plain trends northerly between the Franklin and Mackenzie mountains. Mackenzie River follows this plain north of Camsell Bend (Figure 1). The Plain is generally underlain by flat lying Cretaceous strata, interrupted by local structures similar to the Franklin Mountains Figure 5).

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Figure 5. Carcajou Canyon west of Norman Wells, representative of the Mackenzie Plain. (B. MacLean, CSLNGC/Geological Survey of Canada)
Mackenzie Mountains

Mackenzie Mountains include several ranges in northwestern Deh Cho territory, including the Backbone and Canyon ranges. The general trend of the mountain ranges is north and northwest, but northeast trending structures do occur. Paleozoic and Mesozoic sedimentary rocks dominate the exposures, with Precambrian sedimentary rocks exposed in northwest trending linear belts north of 62°N. Anticlines are commonly asymmetric in the eastern ranges, with west dipping axial planes.
Liard Plateau

In Liard Plateau (Figure 6), the majority of outcrops are in river valleys and comprise northerly and northeasterly trending ridges, up to 1500 m above sea level (asl) and valley floors at 450 to 600 m asl. These ridges consist mostly of the cores of resistant Paleozoic rocks in anticlinal folds, while the valley floors are underlain by Mesozoic-cored synclines (Leckie et al., 1991).
Selwyn Fold Belt

The Selwyn Fold Belt (or Selwyn Mountains; Figure 7) lies along the border with Yukon. These rugged, glaciated mountains are differentiated from the Mackenzie Mountains by a facies change from Paleozoic carbonate rocks to basinal shale.

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Figure 6. Drilling rig in the Liard Plateau area. (courtesy of Canadian Forest Oil Ltd.)

Figure 7. View from a U-shaped glacial valley in the Selwyn Fold Belt. (H. Falck, CSLNGC)

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STRATIGRAPHY Introduction The age, lithologies, and general depositional history of the Phanerozoic rock formations found in the subsurface and outcropping in the Deh Cho territory are briefly reviewed here. Since the environments of deposition are not consistent through time or across a given area at a certain time, individual rock units are generally restricted in area. Some correlation between rock units throughout a given area may be possible, but this depends on the amount of information available and previous work done, as well as on distances between wells and/or surface outcrops. The table of formations in Figure 8 illustrates the age and main lithologies of rock units present throughout Deh Cho. The table contains a column for each of four geographic areas (see Figure 1 for locations), within which the stratigraphy is relatively well understood and consistent. The first vertical column on the left is geological time scaled in millions of years before the present, with the younger time periods nearing the top. The usage of stratigraphic nomenclature in this area is not entirely consistent. Formation names may change from place to place (especially when moving from Alberta and B.C. to the NWT) even if the geological characteristics of a given unit may not, although facies changes do account for many name changes. We have done our best to minimize this problem by stating equivalent units when they are known, being consistent in our usage, and providing concise lithological descriptions. A general reference map showing the various geologic elements such as arches, basins, and highs discussed in the following sections can be found in Figure 2. Regional scale southwest to northeast (Figure 9) and northwest to southeast (Figure 10) cross sections are provided to better illustrate the rock succession and geometry of the Deh Cho’s subsurface. These have been constructed using information from the literature, surface geology, exploration wells, and seismic profiles. The ancient Precambrian rocks which form a basement to the layered sedimentary rocks of the Interior Platform (and Cordillera) are important from a structural viewpoint, but their stratigraphy is less well known. An extensional tectonic regime in the Late Precambrian resulted in a horst and graben block faulting of basement rocks (Morrell, 1995) that would profoundly influence the deposition, and in some cases, the hydrocarbon prospectivity of subsequent formations. The Bulmer Lake Arch, a north trending basement topographic high, is possibly demarcated on its west flank by a fault which places Proterozoic sediments (west side) against older crystalline (igneous, metamorphic) basement rocks (Meijer Drees, 1974). Precambrian sedimentary rocks are also known from the subsurface in southern Deh Cho territory, and also outcrop in Mackenzie Mountains in the northwest. Cambrian to Silurian marine sediments were deposited on to a quiescent continental platform in the east and a slope and basin in the western Deh Cho (Aitken, 1993; Cecile and Norford, 1993).

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Figure 8. Table of formations for selected areas in the Deh Cho territory (modified from Jones, 2002).

Era Period +/- Epoch, Age Ma
CENOZOIC
Quaternary
Neogene

Horn Plateau

Liard Plateau

Trout Lake Area

Cameron Hills

Pliocene

1.77 5.33

Miocene Oligocene
Eocene 54.8 Paleocene
Maastrichtian

Tertiary

22.9 33.5

Paleogene

65.0

71.3
Campanian

Wapiti Kotaneelee

Late

83.5
Santonian Coniacian Turonian
Cenomanian

85.8
89.0

Cretaceous

93.06

Dunvegan
99

Dunvegan
Fort St. John Group

Dunvegan
Fish Scales Bed

Fort St. John Group

Albian
111

Sully Sikanni Lepine Scatter
Tussock Mbr Wildhorn Mbr Bulwell Mbr

Scatter Marker

MESOZOIC

Arctic Red Martin House

Early

Aptian
121.5

Garbutt

Fort St. John Group

Chinkeh

Chinkeh

Barremian
126.6

Neocomian

Triassic Jurassic

Late Middle

142 157 178.0

Early
200

Late
231

Permian

Middle 244 Early 253
Late

Toad-Grayling

258 269

Middle Early
Pennsylvanian

Fantasque (chert)
?

Kindle
300 303 306 311 314 327

shale organic-rich shale salt/anhydrite sandstone conglomerate
crystalline rocks limestone dolostone sand/gravel depositional hiatus/no record unconformity condensed deposition contact

Gzhelian

Carboniferous

Kasimovian Moscovian Bashkirian

Serpukhovian

Mississippian

Visean
342

Mattson
Golata

Flett
Clausen

Prophet Clausen
Yohin

Shunda

Pekisko

Tournaisian
360

Banff Kotcho Tetcho

Exshaw

Famennian

Kotcho Kotcho Tetcho
376

Late

Trout River Fort Simpson
Frasnian

Kakisa Mbr
Besa River (Fort Simpson)

Redknife

Jean Marie Mbr Fort Simpson
Tathlina Twin Falls Alexandra Mbr Hay River
Muskwa
Escarpment Mbr Waterways Mbr

Gas discovery

383

PALEOZOIC

Gas show Oil discovery Oil show Source rock

Devonian

Givetian

Horn River Horn (Spence Plateau River) reefs Lonely Bay (Keg River)
Willow Lake (Upper Chinchaga)

Otter Park Mbr

Slave Point Besa River (Horn River) Horn River
Klua
Presqu’ile Sulphur Point

Fort Vermilion

Watt Mountain
Bistcho

Middle

Muskeg
‘Keg River Platform’

Keg River

387

Nahanni Headless

Nahanni

Upper Chinchaga
Ebbutt Mbr

Eifelian

Ebbutt Mbr (Chinchaga)

Headless

394 Dalejan

Lower Chinchaga (Bear Rock) Mirage Point
Cold Lake Mbr Johnny Hoe Mbr

Manetoe
Mirage Point Funeral /Road River

Lower Chinchaga
Ernestina Lake

Landry La Loche (basal clastics)

Early

Emsian

409 Pragian 413
Lochkovian

Arnica
Sombre

?

?

Delorme
418

Silurian
Late
443 458
Little Doctor Mbr

Mount Kindle

WhittakerEsbataottine

Mount Kindle

Ordovician Middle
Early Late Middle
470 489 499 509
Franklin Mountain Saline River (La Martre Falls) Mount Cap (La Marte Falls)

Sunblood

Cambrian

Early
544

Mount Clark (Old Fort Island)

PRECAMBRIAN

mixed lithology (quartzite, shale, granite)

unnamed Helikian unnamed Aphebian

Redknife R No. 2 E-33 (Sulphur Point

SW
(Slave Point Formation) (Slave Point Formation)

Redknife J-21 (Sulphur Point Formation) Redknife I-24

Formation)

Figure 9. Southwest - northeast regional cross section of the Deh Cho territory.
(modified from Meijer Drees, 1993)

NE

Island River J-44

Trainor O-72

Redknife River N-06

NWT No. 2 D-59

Laferte River G-68

500 m

Laferte D-73

Laferte G-71

Laferte B-29

(Horn Plateau Formation)

Laferte K-13

Fawn Lake Reef

Redknife E-55

500 m

Fort St. John Group ? ? sea level Mackenzie River

Laferte River

bituminous shale & limestone

Horn River

?
?
?

Marion River

au late ? P a n Hor inchag h C

cian oint rdovi P O e n a Mirag Siluri

Camb

rian
sea level

Banff

cho Kot ho Tetc
n Jea Mar ie

ive tR u Tro isa k Ka

r

Fort Simpson
?

Ho
-500 m
Red knif e
Sulphur Point

r

iv nR

e

R ce n e p ay r (S ely B
Lon

r) ive

br eM r Lak oe Mb d l o H C nny Joh

-500 m

Precambrian
in nta
bituminous shale & limestone La Loche

Mu
-1000 m

skw

a

tt M Wa

ou

lin Tath

a Hi

gh
K-13 B-29 G-68 G-71 -1000 m

ve Sla

Poi

nt

Pre

s

’il qu

e
dominant lithology
well location

D-73

Horn River er Riv g Ke ga cha n i Ch

o Pr
e ag Mir int Po

o ter

z

oic

shale organic-rich shale
sandstone & shale

limestone

dolostone undivided sedimentary rocks crystalline rocks

Gas show Oil show unconformity

D-59 I-24 J-21 N-06 E-33 E-55 J-44 O-72 -1500 m

conglomerate salt/anhydrite

Vertical exaggeration is approximately 80 x.

NW
bedrock geology from Douglas & Norris,1973 modified from Meijer Drees,1993

Figure 10. Northwest - southeast regional cross section of the Deh Cho territory.
D-65 A-12
dominant lithologies
organic-rich shale sandstone
sandstone & shale
well location

SE

shale
limestone

dolostone undivided sedimentary rocks crystalline rocks

gas show

G-60

H-10 A-31 G-24 B-28 G-68 B-41 P-52 O-78 B-52 B-07 I-16 G-63 P-2

salt/anhydrite

unconformity

Willow Lake B-28

Davidson Creek P-2

Hornell Lake G-24

Johnson A-12

J-72
(Slave Point Formation)

Harris River A-31

Fish Lake G-60

Alexandra Falls B-07

Willow Lake H-10

Dahadinni D-65

Laferte River G-68

Mills Lake B-41

Big Island O-78

Hornell Lake

Horn Plateau

500 m

Fort N

Johnson River
Fort Sim

Fish Lake

Willow Ridge Anticline Greasy

Hay River B-52

Franklin Mountains

orman

Mills Lake P-52

Grumbler I-16

Grumbler J-72

Grumbler G-63

Lake

ceous

Mackenzie River
sea level

pson

Cretaceous Canol Lonely Bay
Hare Indian Arnica

Willowlake River Limestone Mbr Headless Mirage Point

Fort St. John Group Fort Simpson
Dolostone Mbr Cold Lake Mbr

500 m

Mink Lake Horn River (Spence River)

Deep Bay
?

Great Slave Lake
Slave Poin Sulphur Point ? t Buffalo River Presqu’ile bituminous shale & limestone

Watt Mountain

Hay River
sea level Fort Ve rmilion

Creta

Moun

Imperial
no l Ca

Ramparts

nni

-500 m ?

L

H
-1000 m

?

?

-1500 m

endl in t Ki ounta n u Mo lin M nk Fra

Cap Fa

Fort Norman

Camsell T

hrust

Moun

Na

t Kind

ar

n ha

Proterozoic

e

ni

Cambria

d In

n

ia

le - Fr

n

A

ca rni

Naha

anklin

He and

s les ad ry

parts Ram Landry

tain

Johnny Hoe

Mbr

Cambrian

?

Fort Norman

La Martre Arch

Mirage Point

Keg River

Muske

g

-500 m

o Tsets dle in n i K nt nta Mou lin Mou n nk bria Fra m Ca

Proterozoic Precambrian
-1000 m

ult

Bulmer Lake Arch
Vertical exaggeration is approximately 40 x.

-1500 m

The platform was established after continental breakup in earliest Cambrian time. The continental shoreline has been interpreted to have lain not far from the current eastern boundary of Interior Platform (Aitken, 1993). The structure and position of the basin margin resulted in westward thickening of sediments (Figure 9), first gradually and then dramatically into the Root Basin (Figure 2). Early and Middle Cambrian strata The youngest Phanerozoic strata are rocks of the Cambrian Mount Clark Formation. It consists of quartz sandstone with some thin shaly interbeds, and lies unconformably on the irregular surface of Precambrian basement. Mount Clark Formation, and the equivalent Old Fort Island Formation (Meijer Drees, 1975), are confined to the flanks of the Bulmer Lake Arch, which was a broad north trending uplift at that time. This sandstone was deposited as sea level rose (transgression) during rifting of the North American craton and the proto-Pacific Ocean was initiated. The sandstone filled topographic depressions on the Precambrian surface. Mount Cap Formation, a mixture of shale, silty sandstone, and dolostone, has a gradational contact with the underlying Mount Clark Formation. Mount Cap Formation is restricted to the northern Deh Cho, having been removed by erosion (or never deposited) over the Bulmer Lake Arch. Mount Cap Formation is indicative of deposition on a shallow continental shelf. Saline River Formation is probably of Middle Cambrian age and unconformably overlies Mount Cap Formation or older rocks. It is composed of dolomitic shale and siltstone, with a middle section of argillaceous and anhydritic dolostone. The eastern facies equivalent of the combined Mount Cap and Saline River formations is the La Martre Falls Formation (Norris, 1965; Balkwill, 1971). The Bulmer Lake Arch continued to stand as a topographic high during deposition of Saline River Formation, resulting in semi-restricted marine basins where evaporite deposits formed. Late Cambrian to Early Ordovician strata Franklin Mountain Formation is a mainly fine-grained limestone and dolostone, conformably overlying Saline River Formation. This unit is not present south of Horn Plateau, as it was removed from the southern part of Deh Cho by pre-Devonian erosion. It is a platform carbonate deposited during marine transgression from the north and west in Late Cambrian to Ordovician time (Aitken, 1993). Late Ordovician to Silurian strata Mount Kindle Formation is composed of dolostone unconformably overlying Franklin Mountain Formation. In the southwestern Deh Cho, a transgressive basal sandy member is present (Little Doctor member; Meijer Drees, 1975). Mount Kindle Formation was deposited over the Bulmer Lake Arch, which had ceased to be a topographic high during this time. The southern limit of Mount Kindle Formation in the Great Slave Plain marks the edge of preservation of Cambrian to Silurian strata, south of which Devonian beds lie on top of Precambrian basement. This erosional edge lies at about 62°30’N in Horn Plateau area.

Evaluation of Oil and Gas Potential in the Deh Cho Territory

13

There was differential uplift and erosion before deposition of Mount Kindle Formation, the basal beds of which are sandy and represent the near shore facies of renewed marine transgression. The balance of Mount Kindle Formation is shelf carbonate, which was deposited over top the drowned Bulmer Lake Arch (Meijer Drees, 1975). The Sunblood Formation, a resistant muddy limestone of Middle Ordovician age outcrops in the Virginia Falls area of Nahanni National Park (Liard Plateau) and in the Root River map area further north (Morrow and Cook, 1987), and is overlain by Mount Kindle Formation equivalent Whittaker-Esbataottine formations. Devonian strata Middle and Late Devonian beds are widely distributed throughout Deh Cho territory and are very important from the standpoint of hydrocarbon exploration. Their stratigraphy is complex, with major facies changes found throughout the succession. In a broad sense, Devonian age strata record an overall transgressive marine environment with a shelf to the (south)east and basins (i.e., Root and Selwyn) to the (north)west. Another important topographic high centred in southern Deh Cho, the Tathlina High (Figure 2), influenced sedimentation from middle Early Devonian time. Meijer Drees (1993) divided the entire Devonian section into detrital, evaporite, and carbonate facies. The detrital beds directly overlie the sub-Devonian unconformity. In the west, Tsetso Formation sandstone was deposited along the edges of Root Basin. In the east, La Loche Formation (or basal clastics) sandstone and conglomerate was deposited on the flanks of Tathlina High. Evaporite rocks overlie the detrital strata, or the sub-Devonian unconformity depending on the spotty distribution of the detrital rocks. These are both Early and Middle Devonian in age. Early Devonian Camsell Formation evaporites were deposited in the Root Basin (Morrow and Cook, 1987). Farther east, the lithologies include dolostone, anhydrite (Chinchaga Formation), redbeds, and salts (Mirage Point Formation). The equivalent strata outcropping in Franklin Mountains are called Bear Rock Formation and are composed of breccias. Carbonate rocks either overlie or are in facies contact with detrital or evaporites beds, but in some places (particularly in the western Deh Cho) directly overlie pre-Devonian rocks. These carbonate rocks are platform dolostones and/or limestones, or their basinal (deeper water) shale equivalents. The Early to Early-Middle Devonian carbonate units include the Sombre, Arnica, and Landry formation platformal carbonates in the western Deh Cho. The Manetoe dolostone is a diagenetic facies of coarse white dolostone created through diagenesis of Landry, Arnica, and overlying Nahanni formations. It is an important gas reservoir rock in the Fort Liard area. The western limit of these formations is an abrupt change to the shale facies of the Funeral and Road River formations (Meijer Drees, 1993; Morrow and Cook, 1987). This facies boundary is coincident with the eastern limit of the Selwyn Fold Belt.

Evaluation of Oil and Gas Potential in the Deh Cho Territory

14

Onset of Keg River transgression resulted in drowning of the Hume-Nahanni-Lonely Bay platform. Carbonate sedimentation rates were sustained in the Presqu’ile barrier complex, the Deep Bay carbonate bank, and in the 12 known Horn Plateau reefs (all within 150 km of the seaward edge of the main barrier). The Root River reef (at approximately 63°N 125°W) may also be correlative with the Horn Plateau reefs. The Middle Devonian carbonate rocks include widespread platform carbonate rocks (Nahanni, Lonely Bay, and Keg River formations), as well as the succeeding Presqu’ile barrier. This barrier reef complex built up over top of the Tathlina High, and includes important reefal facies reservoir rocks, including Sulphur Point and Slave Point formations. The edge of the carbonate barrier is marked by the limit of Slave Point Formation (the Slave Point Edge) where an abrupt northward facies change to Horn River Formation shale occurs. Sulphur Point and Slave Point formations were locally affected by diagenesis producing a coarse white dolostone, the Presqu’ile facies. Isolated patch or pinnacle reefs to the north (Horn Plateau Formation) grew upward from the Lonely Bay Formation (Keg River Formation equivalent) platform. Late Devonian carbonate beds include Twin Falls Formation, Jean Marie Member (Redknife Formation), and Kakisa Formation limestones and intervening shales, as well as the youngest Devonian Tetcho and Kotcho formations. These limestone units form relatively thin platform deposits that extend northward and westward beyond the Slave Point edge, and have gradational facies changes to Fort Simpson Formation shale. Devonian depositional history Due to the economic importance and complexity of the Devonian strata, a brief description of the depositional and tectonic history of this period is outlined below. Detailed reviews of Devonian stratigraphy may be found in Morrow and Geldsetzer (1988), Meijer Drees (1993), Moore (1993), Mossop and Shetsen (1994), among others. The oldest Devonian rocks accumulated in the Root Basin in western Deh Cho territory, and onlapped the northwestern flank of the Tathlina High, which consisted of older Paleozoic and Precambrian rocks. A second, north trending topographic uplift, the Liard High (Figure 2), lay in the Sibbeston Lake area. Much of the Great Slave Plain was probably emergent (i.e., above sea level) during this time. Therefore, Early Devonian beds are not present in southeastern Deh Cho, except for a small area at the west end of Great Slave Lake. Redbeds and evaporites of Mirage Point Formation accumulated north and east of the Tathlina High in semi-restricted shallow marine basins. These basins expanded with rising seal level, permitting the Arnica and Landry formations’ platform carbonates to be deposited widely. The Lower Chinchaga Formation anhydrite rocks are the landward, shallow water equivalents of Arnica and Landry formations. To the west, the limestone platform graded into deep water basinal shales (Funeral/Road River formations). An early Middle Devonian period of emergence and erosion resulted in an unconformity, upon which the Ebbutt Member of the Upper Chinchaga Formation (and equivalent Headless Formation) shale was deposited when marine conditions returned. During this time, a

Evaluation of Oil and Gas Potential in the Deh Cho Territory

15

widespread carbonate platform (Nahanni, Hume, and Lonely Bay formations) was established. The north and west or distal limits of this platform were marked by transitions to deeper water shales (Horn River and Spence River formations). As relative sea level continued to rise, the carbonate platforms were overlain by widespread shales, including organic rich bituminous shale (e.g., Muskwa Formation). Carbonate platforms and shallower water evaporite and silt deposits became more restricted in their distribution; for example, the lower Keg River (Sulphur Point) part of Presqu’ile barrier retreated to the area of the Tathlina High (Williams, 1986). Following development of the lower Presqu’ile barrier reef, there was another period of regression, emergence, and erosion, as indicated by the erosion of Sulphur Point Formation at the crest of the Tathlina High, as well as erosion of some Horn Plateau Formation reefs. This widespread unconformity was followed by deposition of Watt Mountain Formation shale and equivalents up to the flanks of the high. A return to a state of sea level rise resulted in a widely distributed carbonate platform (Slave Point Formation), and the drowning of the Tathlina High. The basinward (north and west) sides of the Slave Point platform were host to a thick sequence of shales. Alternating episodes of regression and transgression throughout the Upper Devonian gave rise to the deposition of thin carbonate platforms (e.g., Jean Marie Member, Kotcho, and Tetcho formations) within the thick shales of the Fort Simpson Formation (Figure 8). The dramatic westward thickening of sediments in the western Deh Cho shows that the Root Basin was subsiding during the Devonian, while in the east tectonic conditions were more stable (Meijer Drees, 1993). The general trend during the Devonian was an overall rise in relative sea level, punctuated by periods of lowered sea level. The lack of clastic sediments in the Lower and Middle Devonian indicates that there was little erosion by meteoric water in emergent areas. This suggests that elevations were low and/or rainfall was slight. It is further assumed that Devonian North America was much warmer than at present, and that North America was then at tropical or sub-tropical latitudes as indicated by widespread reefs and evaporite deposits. Carboniferous strata The basal Carboniferous unit is the Exshaw Formation, a black bituminous shale. This is conformably overlain by a thick basinal shale package (Besa River Formation) that interbeds to the east with a lower interval of dominantly terrigenous slope and shelf facies limestone and sandstone (Banff and Yohin formations), a middle succession with carbonate platform and ramp facies limestones (Pekisko, Prophet, and Flett formations), and an upper deltaic facies sandstone (Mattson Formation; Richards, 1989). The eastern tongues of Besa River Formation equivalent shale that separate these packages are the lower Banff, Clausen, and Golata formations. Carboniferous strata are preserved only in the southwestern Deh Cho territory. They unconformably overlie Devonian age beds. These strata comprise a shallowing upward succession of continental terrace wedge deposits, deposited on the downwarped western margin of the ancestral North American continent (Richards, 1989). There is evidence that Carboniferous strata were deposited over a wider area originally and were later reduced by widespread erosion during the Early Permian. The four carbonate buildups (Banff, Pekisko,

Evaluation of Oil and Gas Potential in the Deh Cho Territory

16

Prophet, and Flett formations) in the section progressively prograde farther basinward from oldest to youngest, which is consistent with an overall regression through Carboniferous time. Permian strata Early Permian beds unconformably overlie Carboniferous strata. They consist of silty limestone to dolomitic, limey, and phosphatic shale to sandstone of the Kindle Formation (Henderson et al., 1993). Kindle Formation is overlain unconformably by late Permian Fantasque Formation, which is dominantly chert. These marine Permian rocks have a limited distribution in Deh Cho territory; they are found only in the southwest. Triassic strata Middle Triassic beds consist of shales of the Toad-Grayling Formation which lie unconformably over Permian and older strata. Like other Late Paleozoic strata, they are limited to the southwestern Deh Cho. Their environment of deposition was a westward thickening wedge of sediments along the tectonically stable North American continental shelf and shore. Jurassic strata No Jurassic strata are preserved in Deh Cho territory; the region was probably emergent throughout much of this period. Erosion of the uplifted landmass provided sediments for areas of deposition to the northwest, and to the Alberta Plateau to the south-southwest (Poulton et al., 1993). The onset of the Columbian Orogeny in Upper Jurassic time and development of a foredeep trough provided a deep and growing basin along the mountain front to receive sediments. The Columbian orogen marked a change in depositional and tectonic environments of the western margin of North America from a passive margin to an active, compressional regime. However, the effects of orogenic activity on depositional environments did not reach the Deh Cho area until the late-Early Cretaceous time. Cretaceous strata Late-Early Cretaceous strata (Aptian to Albian age; Figure 8) consist of marine shales and lesser sandstones of the Fort St. John Group. Cretaceous rocks unconformably overlie older Mesozoic, or commonly, Paleozoic formations. The shales were deposited in a basin offshore from delta and fluvial sources in the southwest. The coarser grains in shelf sandstones are evidence of nearer source areas. The basal Chinkeh Formation sandstone is at least partly fluvial, filling scoured channels (Leckie et al., 1991). By Albian time, uplift in the Cordillera had produced highlands to the west which supplied a source of sediment for deposition in the foreland basin. Alluvial conglomerates and fluvial sandstones of the Dunvegan Formation were deposited. The youngest Cretaceous rocks are nonmarine clastic rocks of the Kotaneelee Formation (dominantly shale and siltstone) and sandstones of Wapiti Formation (Dixon, 1999), deposited from sediment sources in the

Evaluation of Oil and Gas Potential in the Deh Cho Territory

17

Mackenzie Mountains and confined to the southwestern corner of Deh Cho. Cretaceous rocks are found through southern Deh Cho territory west of Tathlina Lake, as well as capping outlying highlands such as Horn Plateau and Ebbutt Hills. North of La Martre Arch, Cretaceous rocks underlie the Great Bear Plain. The thickest sequence of Cretaceous rock is in the Liard area. HYDROCARBON PLAYS IN THE DEH CHO TERRITORY Petroleum resources and occurrences The Canadian Gas Potential Committee (CGPC, 2001) has estimated that 69,177x106m3 of natural gas in place has been discovered in the NWT portion of the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin (that is, within Deh Cho territory). Undiscovered nominal marketable gas was estimated at 31,075x106m3; although representing only 1.3% of the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin total, this accounts for 45% of the total gas discovered to date in Deh Cho territory. The more liberal estimate of nominal ultimate potential marketable gas was even greater (50,537x106m3; CGPC, 2001). According to these estimates, a considerable amount of gas is yet to be discovered in the Deh Cho territory. At the time of this writing, there were 127 wells with petroleum occurrences in the Deh Cho territory, plus a few surface oil and gas seeps (Figure 11). Some of the more significant finds (with reserve and/or production figures) are found in Table 1. The petroleum discovered by drilling ranges in quantity from minor oil and gas shows to the delineated fields currently producing near Fort Liard and in the Cameron Hills area. Natural gas may be associated (occurring in reservoirs as a cap above oil) or free, or as solution gas held under reservoir pressure within oil. Sour gas describes gas containing quantities of hydrogen sulphide. All of the petroleum occurrences can be attributed to a respective play. A play is defined as a family of pools and/or prospects that share common geological characteristics and history of hydrocarbon generation, migration, reservoir development, and trap configuration (see the Petroleum Potential Evaluation chapter for more information). This section outlines the plays, both established and conceptual, that occur in the exploration areas of the Deh Cho territory, providing examples of discovery wells where applicable. These plays are summarized in Table 2.

Evaluation of Oil and Gas Potential in the Deh Cho Territory

18

Wells with petroleum occurrences
64N

* 0 1
# S

booked reserves - gas

U %

booked reserves - oil & gas booked reserves - producing gas booked reserves - producing oil confidential results gas > 10 mcf/day (from DST) gas < 10 mcf/day (from DST) gas < 10 mcf/day (from DST), minor oil minor gas minor oil & gas minor oil past producer Pointed Mountain gas field Liard gas fields

U %
63N

+ . Y &
# S

# S

R "

103

&

R

45

R"
126

$ T T $
127

Cameron Hills oil & gas fields gas seep

U % U %

oil seep U % community Deh Cho territory

62N

U %

& 109 & 52
U %

&58 & & &123
53 120

"

57

+66
65 63

T $
36

&40
61N

*56
km 50 0 50 100

60N

128W

127W

126W

125W

124W

123W

& 96 .34 &35 72 . #80 S # 4 &8 S * 71 79 # S *7 100 1 91 73 #9*5 S . 77 1 32 # S # 59 93 S 3 U % # S 33 #S S # S # 941 .6 75 # S 78 # S 95$ .121 *118 115 T 12 92 # S #11 S 49 U % &.119 .14 #60 S 116 . * 87 & 13 117 + 50 90 . & & 84 86 &47S *31 61 122 48 # S 83 1 # # S 89 85 + 1 *104 46 &51 & . 105 # S
U %
121W

&62

39 &101 "R 69 U % 98 +54 97 0 * & 99 102 Y .10 .43 70 R112 & . R 42 &124 114 &111

" "

U % 76

.

"

" "

37

T $

64

&44
U %

U %U %

&2
120W
119W

&1

&125 R 106 .107

&740113 *41 110 " 68 18&88 82 1 #17 26 S 81 1 # S # S 16 R 27 &38 1 # S 1 24 15 &108 &5528 29 +30R 67 & 1 # S 25 1 0 & 021 22 20
117W
118W

115W

116W

19 23

Figure 11. Petroleum occurrences in the Deh Cho territory.

122W

Well Name, Field or Pool (play number)

ARROWHEAD B-41 (7) ARROWHEAD G-69 (3) BOVIE LAKE J-72 (1) NETLA C-07 (3) TRAINOR LAKE C-39 (3) S ISLAND RIVER M-41 (3) CELIBETA H-78 (4) GRUMBLER G-63 (4) TATHLINA N-18 (4) RABBIT LAKE O-16 (4) LABICHE F-08 (1) POINTED MTN. FIELD (1) FORT LIARD K-29 FIELD (1) FORT LIARD P-66A (1) FORT LIARD, F-36 and O-35 wells (2) SE FORT LIARD, N-01 well (2) CAMERON HILLS FIELD (4,5) CAMERON HILLS M31 (4,5)

Reserves (95% probability; Morrell, 1995; NEB, 1996) -71 128 101 10 19 48 -43 187 263 10,200 -----32

Established reserves (reference)

Recoverable (NEB, 1996)

Gas in place (CGPC, 2001; or as noted)

Cumulative Production (NEB, 2003; or as noted) -----------8874 (INAC, 2002) 2800 62 (INAC, 2002) 186.74 118 169.66 (2.0885 103m3 oil) --

-57 (Meding, 1994) 114 (Meding, 1994) 250 (Meding, 1994) 229 (Meding, 1994) 44.6 (Meding, 1994) 77 (Meding, 1994) 54 (Janicki, 2003) 131 (Janicki, 2003) 496 (Janicki, 2003) 500 (Meding, 1994) 11,023 (Meding, 1994) 11,300-17,000 (Brackman, 2001) ---7,082 (Brackman, 2001) 99 (Janicki, 2003)

249.28 107.64 178.46 597.72 31.16 48.16 141.64 -70.82 320.1 1779 15387.77 -----19.83

364 128 (Meding, 1994) 237 (Meding, 1994) 357 (Meding, 1994) 386 (Meding, 1994) 82 (Meding, 1994) 116 (Meding, 1994) 47 (63; Janicki, 2003) 162 451 (630; Janicki, 2003) 2,343 (851; Meding, 1994) 57,538 (64,842; Meding, 1994) -------

All reserve and production figures in 106m3; -- indicates no estimate available.

Table 1. Natural gas reserve and resource estimates from various sources for significant discoveries, pools and fields in the Deh Cho territory. These are impressive when compared to most of the recent Alberta discoveries which contain less than 30x106m3 (CGPC, 2001).

Evaluation of Oil and Gas Potential in the Deh Cho Territory

20

Play #

Play Name

References* Laramide Structures (NEB); Liard Fold Belt LFP1 (CGPC)

Reservoir Unit Manetoe facies of lower Paleozoic carbonates (Arnica, Headless, Nahanni, Landry fms)

1

Laramide/Manetoe Laramide Structures-Mesozoic All beds other than Manetoe facies in Laramide Clastics/Carbonates (NEB); Laramide Fold Belt structural traps LFP1 (CGPC)

Distribution (see Figures 12, 16, 32) Western boundary is carbonate bank to shale basin transition; northern boundary is outcrop belt of Manetoe facies; eastern boundary is limit of Laramide deformation Delineated on west and north by outcropping host formations; east boundary is Bovie structure

2

Laramide/Windflower Slave Point Barrier-Helmet, part of Slave Point Preferably dolomitized Sulphur Point/Slave Point Slave Point edge and barrier foreslope; back barrier limit Barrier Reef and Isolated reefs (Clarke Lakefms (shelf, slope and bank edge reefal margin about 5 km from edge Yoyo-Kotcho), Upper Keg River (Pine Point) shelf) along Slave Point edge barrier-Clarke Lake (NEB); Slave Point Barrier Reef (Clarke Lake; GSC); 3F337, F340 (CGPC)

Source/Seal Trap Style Muskwa, Horn River (and equivalents) fms/Muskwa, Horn Structural-Laramide antiforms cross-cut by faults; fracturing River (and equivalents) fms associated with the axial traces of antiforms increases porosity and permeability; stratigraphic/diagenetic-Manetoe facies dolomitization Besa River, Horn River, Muskwa, Etanda fms, ToadStructural-Laramide antiforms cross-cut by faults; fracturing associated with the axial traces of antiforms is essential to production; Grayling Fm/Besa River, Horn River, Muskwa, Etanda fms, Toad-Grayling Fm, also tight Mattson Fm facies and all except Cretaceous reservoirs should be fractured to be productive; Fantasque Fm stratigraphic-facies changes in Mattson Fm fluvio-deltaic and Lower Cretaceous clastics Horn River, Muskwa fms/basinward seal by Horn River Stratigraphic-Slave/Sulphur Point reef-type limestone buildups near Fm, top seal by Muskwa Fm or tight Slave Point Fm barrier edge in narrow zone between basinal shales/micrites and tight back-reef carbonates; dolomitization preferable (necessary?); fracturing increases porosity and permeability

Gas/Oil gas (sour)

Deh Cho significant fields/pools Pointed Mountain, Liard "K-29" fields

Exploration Risks Dolomitization; formation damage by mud invasion while drilling (due to fracturing) Timing of traps with respect to hydrocarbon migration; sufficient porosity/permeability

gas (non-associated slightly sour)

Liard F-36, North Liard N-01, Liard N-60

gas (non-associated sour);oil Trainor Lake C-39, Arrowhead G-69 possible in east

Dolomite distribution, fracturing

3

Slave Point edge Slave Point Platform-Ekwan/Celibeta, Upper Slave Point and Sulphur Point fms biostromal and Northern and western boundaries are Slave Point margin; Keg River Sulphur Point back barrier, Upper platform carbonates eastern boundary is subcrop/outcrop limit Keg River (Pine Point) Cameron Hills play, Slave Point platform Ekwan/Celibeta (NEB); Slave Point Platform (Adsett), Cranberry (GSC); J349, J348, J 338? plus F, J 337 (CGPC) Part of Upper Keg River Back Barrier-Cameron Sulphur Point Fm (dolomitized Bistcho facies) Hills, Middle Devonian Sulphur Point Bistcho (NEB); Sulphur Point platform facies-Bistcho (GSC); J349 (CGPC) Muskeg, Horn River fms/bottom seal is anydritic dolomite in basal Slave Point Fm, Watt Mountain Fm, top seal is Muskeg Fm, lateral seals are faulted and juxtaposed with Muskeg Fm or tight Slave Point Fm Structural/stratigraphic-complex antiforms associated with NE gas (sour, associated with oil Celibeta, Tathlina, Grumbler, Cameron Hills trending basement horsts, also drape structures in Slave Point Fm over east of Cordova embayment) Slave Point Fm buildups, salt solution, and pinnacle reefs; dolomitization of reservoirs associated with faulting; fracturing enhances reservoir characteristics; stratigraphic/diagenetic-porosity associated with dolomitization in isolated back barrier buildups Stratigraphic-reservoir facies are dolomitic grainstones or packstones deposited in peritidal channel environment; structural overprint (Cameron Hills)-traps in complex antiforms associated with NE trending basement horsts; dolomitization and fracturing associated with structure enhances reservoir characteristics; structural-possible drapes over salt collapse or mounds Stratigraphic/diagenetic-isolated bioherms basinward of Slave Point edge; reservoirs should be dolomitized and fractured to be productive gas (sour, non-associated Cameron Hills west of Cordova embayment); gas and oil (east of Cordova embayment) Dolomite distribution; low seismic contrast within Slave Point Fm (reefal buildup vs. platform)

4

Slave Point back barrier/NE fault structures

To northern (and western) edge of Muskeg anhydrite; Watt Mountain and Muskeg fms/lime mudstones or eastern boundary is sub-outcrop limit or facies transitions to anhydrite of basal Sulphur Point Fm, top seal is Muskeg tight limestones, shales and evaporites Fm, lateral seals are faulted contacts with Muskeg Fm or tight carbonates, shales

Recognition and distribution of facies; sufficient porosity/permeability

5

Sulphur Point/Bistcho Upper Keg River (Pine Point) isolated reefsYoyo/Sierra, part of Slave Point barrier and Isolated Reefs (Clarke Lake/Yoyo/Kotcho), Upper Keg River (Pine Point) isolated reefsHorn Plateau, part of Slave Point isolated reefsdeep bank (NEB); Keg River Isolated Reef (Yoyo; GSC); F340, J347, also A348 (CGPC) Muskwa, Besa River, Horn River, Buffalo River Horn Plateau Fm and equivalents, isolated slope Outboard of north and west margin of Middle Devonian and platform pinnacle reefs on lower Keg River carbonate barrier; east boundary is subcrop/outcrop limit at fms/Muskwa, Besa River or tight Slave Point fms (Lonely Bay/Nahanni) platform, includes Slave Canadian Shield; west boundary is Bovie fault Point buildups on pre-existing lower Keg River reefs

gas (sour, non associated) in west; oil +/-gas(?) in east

Trout River D-14, Mink Lake I-38

Dolomite distribution, fracturing; if Slave Point reservoir then dependent on the development of a dolomitized conduit in the underlying Keg River Fm (in all cases, it is very difficult to differentiate Slave Point Fm reef from underlying Horn Plateau Fm reef)

6

Lonely Bay platform isolated reefs/Horn Plateau Basal Cretaceous clastics

Basal Cretaceous clastics-Arrowhead (NEB) 7

Lower Cretaceous fluvial and shallow marine clastics (Chinkeh, Scatter and Sikanni fms of Fort St. John Group) Jean Marie Platform/Barrier edge-Celibeta, Jean Jean Marie Mbr of Redknife Fm; silty to Marie stratigraphic-Helmet (NEB); Jean Marie dolomitic biostromal shelf carbonates and Biostrome (Helmet North; GSC); F317 (CGPC) dolomitized reef front carbonates; foreslope pinnacle reefs along margin of Jean Marie Mbr platform Keg River (Pine Point)-Cordova embayment (Helmet; NEB); Keg River Platform-July Lake (GSC); F340 (CGPC) Basal Clastic (Devonian)-Mirage Point (NEB); Basal Clastics (Janicki, in prep. b)

North, south and east boundaries are subcrop limits; west boundary is limit of Laramide deformation (Bovie fault)

Fort St. John Group shales, possibly Toad-Grayling Fm/Fort St. John Group shales

Stratigraphic-valley fill, channel fill, near-shore sands on preCretaceous unconformity

gas associated with oil

Shell Arrowhead B-41, Bovie Lake M-05

Breaching?; reservoir quality

North margin is Jean Marie Mbr outcrop/subcrop; western Horn River, Fort Simpson fms/tight limey facies or silty boundary is Jean Marie Mbr platform edge; east boundary is Redknife Fm is top seal; Fort Simpson Fm lateral seal east side Cordova embayment (but possibly continues further east)

8

Jean Marie Member Keg River Fm (Lonely Bay/Nahanni and Sulphur Cordova embayment; northern boundary is 'neck' of Point fms) dolomitized ramp and platform embayment at 60°25'N carbonates; related to play #13? Transgressive basal pre-Devonian clastics (La Loche Fm) Delineated on all sides by facies changes and/or nondeposition Muskwa, Horn River fms/Horn River Fm

Stratigraphic (+/-diagenetic)-coral and stromatoporoid reservoir facies gas (sour) associated with oil Celibeta H-78 in limey mudstone-wackestones; structure for the trap-reservoir in east characteristics provided by localized differential compaction and drape over Slave Point Fm structure, and also over faulted Slave Point Fm and older traps; reservoirs enhanced by dolomitization (necessary), fracturing and dissolution Stratigraphic/diagenetic-Presqu’ile dolomitization porosity; reservoirs gas (sour, non-associated); oil must be dolomitized and fractured to be productive possible

Reservoirs tend to be underpressured, prone to formation damage; generally thin pay needs large closures for worthwhile pools; secondary porosity and permeability important

Dolomite distribution; top seal (Sulphur Point Fm absent?)

9

Keg River/Cordova embayment Basal pre-Devonian Clastics (La Loche)

10

11

12

13

14

15

16 17

18 19 20

Structural/stratigraphic-onlap and mantling (pinchouts) on basement gas (sour, non-associated); oil (Tathlina High); isolated thickening of sands within basement grabens; possible fracturing may increase porosity and permeability Podruski et al. (1988) Keg River patch or pinnacle reefs (dolomitized); North and west boundary is southern Slave Point edge; east Watt Mountain, Muskeg, possibly Muskwa fms/lateral seal Stratigraphic/diagenetic-isolated bioherms in evaporite sub-basins oil (with associated gas) Keg River reef analogous to Play #6 boundary is subcrop/outcrop limit, play continues is Muskeg Fm, top seals are Muskeg or Watt Mountain Fm back of middle Devonain carbonate barrier; reservoirs should be southward dolomitized to be productive (Rainbow) Arnica/Landry shelf stratigraphic (NEB) Dolomitic Arnica/Landry fms Eastern boundary is outcrop/subcrop limit and/or facies Fort Norman Fm, possibly Road River, Headless and Stratigraphic/diagenetic-post depositional leaching (sub-aerial gas (non-associated, sour) change; south boundary is limit of deposition or alteration to Funeral fms/ Headless Fm top seal, lateral seal Chinchaga exposure) has improved/created reservoir characteristics for Landry; Manetoe or Presqu'ile facies (lack of seal); west boundary is Fm local primary and secondary porosity in Arnica; possible minor alteration to Manetoe facies (lack of seal), and/or outcrop buildups in platform; fracturing may also enhance reservoir Arnica/Landry limit characteristics platform Lonely Bay (Lower Keg River) platform (NEB) Dolomitized lower Keg River (Lonely Outboard of north margin of Devonian carbonate barrier Buffalo River, Muskwa, Horn River fms/Buffalo River, Stratigraphic (+/-structural)-local dolomitization and fracturing (must gas (non-associated, sour); oil NWT Province No.1 (K-31)? Bay/Nahanni fms) (forms south boundary); west boundary is edge of disturbed Horn River fms be present for productive reservoir) likely related to reactivated possible belt; east boundary is subcrop-outcrop edge of Canadian basement faults; structural traps particularly around Tathlina High; Shield basal member of Lonely Bay Fm (upper Chinchaga Fm equivalent) is Lonely Bay/Nahanni dolostone (Willow Lake Mbr) platform Kakisa stratigraphic-Redknife (NEB) Dolomitized shelf-edge shoals, biohermal buildupsNorth and east margins are subcrop edge; western boundary Fort Simpson, Horn River fms/Trout River Mbr top seal, Stratigraphic-basinward shale-out of reefal facies, biohermal buildups gas (non-associated?); oil and subcrop traps in Kakisa Mbr; analogous to is platform margin/transition to basinal shale Fort Simpson Fm lateral seal on platform and subcrop traps beneath Cretaceous unconformity; must possible in east Play #8 be dolomitized to be productive, local fracturing enhances reservoir characteristics; Kakisa Mbr pools may overlie fault-bounded Keg Kakisa/Redknife River or Slave Point fms accumulations platform Elkton-Debolt; Pekisko; Flett/Fantasque Dolomitized Pekisko, Flett Fm limestones, North and east boundaries are subcrop limits, west margin is Exshaw Fm, minor Fort St. John Group/Fort St. John Stratigraphic/structural-porosity development along Cretaceous gas associated with oil Subcrop (NEB); D255, D254 (CGPC) Mattson Fm sandstone, Fantasque Fm chert Bovie structure Group, Prophet Fm (seal for Pekisko Fm) unconformity subcrop and fault bounded traps; carbonate reservoirs must be dolomitized and vuggy; down dip facies changes and porosity Upper Paleozoic (subdevelopment; related to play #2 Cretaceous) subcrop this study; Bird et al. (1994) Turbidites, distal siltstones and sandstones in North and east boundaries are sucbcrop edges; west Toad-Grayling, Exshaw fms, Middle Devonian Stratigraphic-erosional truncation at subcrop edge; distal sand turbidite gas facies; structural-possible drape over Paleozoic structure Toad-Grayling Fm boundary is outcrop/Laramide deformation front (restricted shale/Triassic shale, Cretaceous? to Liard Basin) Triassic subcrop this study; MacLean (2002) Middle Devonian carbonates or Carboniferous Footwall of Bovie fault Devonian shales (Besa River, Horn River fms)/Besa River, Structural-footwall structures and juxtaposition against faults gas (sour) Bovie structure Mattson Fm Horn River fms, fault seal? this study, CGPC Mount Kindle and Franklin Mountain fms, basal South limit is outcrop edge; west limit is outcrop/Laramide Devonian?/lower Devonian evaporites (Bear Rock, Structural-highs, folds, fault bounded; fracture porosity; porosity gas Silurian-Ordovician Little Doctor Mbr of Mount Kindle Fm deformation at Mackenzie Mountains front; east boundary is Chinchaga fms), tight Mount Kindle Fm seal for Little enhanced through pre-Devonian erosion; stratigraphic-pinchouts and subcrop edge at Canadian Shield Doctor Mbr facies changes in Little Doctor Mbr sandstones platform Basal Cambrian this study, CGPC Mount Clark/Old Fort Point fms basal sandstones Subcrop limit of Basal Cambrian clastics; onlapping Bulmer Mount Cap Fm shales, possible Proterozoic source west of Stratigraphic-pinchouts, thickened sand in grabens, facies changes gas clastics Lake arch Bulmer Lake arch/Mount Cap, Saline River fms and/or diagenetic porosity control; structural-fault controlled this study Paleozoic carbonates Footwall of Plateau thrust fault and related faults Devonian shales (Besa River, Horn River, Hare Indian Structural-fault controlled, fold closures gas Plateau Overthrust fms)/Devonian shales, fault seal * NEB = National Energy Board (1996); GSC = Reinson et al. (1993); CGPC = Canadian Gas Potential Committee (2001); others as noted.

Fort Norman, Mirage Point fms, middle Devonian shale/Fort Norman, Chinchaga fms, Mirage Point salt

Moderate reservoir quality; isolation from hydrocarbon charge (source rocks); development of unit, porosity, top seal Host evaporite sub-basins (e.g., Rainbow, Zama, Shekilie) not yet recognized in NWT; dolomitization Top seals very risky (fractured and/or Manetoe facies); moderate reservoir quality; isolation from hydrocarbon charge

Reservoir quality; restricted to lower dolostone member?

Dolomitization; reservoir properties (Kakisa Mbr generally tight)

Top seal (basal Cretaceous sand); dolomitization, fracturing, diagenetic porosity (needed for favourable reservoir) Top seal very risky (basal Cretaceous sand); suitable reservoir Timing of hydrocarbon production; migration with respect to trap (latest pre-Cretaceous) Suitable source rock; breaching during hiatus (unconformities in sequence); suitable reservoir Suitable source rock; isolation from source rock; preservation of porosity Timing of generation, migration with respect to structure; breaching

Table 2. Summary of hydrocarbon plays in this study.

Liard Plateau The Liard Plateau (Figure 1) is geologically analogous to the Foothills belt of the Cordillera and similar with respect to its petroleum plays. Structures within the Liard Plateau are generally continuous with Mackenzie Mountains to the north. Compared to the Foothills of northeastern British Columbia, there is somewhat less potential in southwestern Deh Cho territory. This is due to the northward decrease in the amount of Laramide shortening, which has resulted in less structure being developed in the north (Osadetz et al., 1995). That said, there are major structures in the Liard Plateau that have not been fully explored, and there is the potential for very large pools. Morrell (1995) assigns the greatest resource potential in southern NWT to Liard Plateau plays. Two plays are described here; both are established as they contribute to producing fields within the Deh Cho territory. They extend from the Liard Plateau onto the Great Slave Plain as far as the limit of Cordilleran deformation at Bovie Anticline (Figure 2).
Play #1: Laramide/Manetoe

This is a non-associated sour gas play that includes all pools and prospects hosted in fractured, diagenetically dolomitized (Manetoe facies) lower Paleozoic (particularly Devonian) carbonates. These include the Sombre, Arnica, Landry, Headless and Nahanni formations (Morrow et al., 1990; Morrow and Aulstead, 1995). The play includes combined structural and stratigraphic traps, but some purely stratigraphic/diagenetic traps are also feasible. The play area (Figure 12) is limited to the west by the carbonate to shale facies transition of the Devonian platform carbonates, which coincides with the eastern boundary of the Selwyn Fold Belt. Potential sub-Devonian reservoirs (e.g., Whittaker Formation) may lie further west, beyond the Devonian carbonate margin. The northern boundary is placed at the limit of surface outcrops of Manetoe dolostone in the Nahanni Range. The east boundary is placed at the Bovie Anticline, which is generally taken as the eastern limit of Laramide deformation. The play area continues south of 60°N. Anticlines formed during Laramide (Late Cretaceous) fold and thrust deformation are the basic structural trapping mechanism here (Figure 13). These are large, generally high relief anticlines, cut by high angle reverse faults. The folds plunge south, and may be characterized by several down-plunge culminations, possibly due to cross faults. Some individual drillholes have been dry, but this does not necessarily eliminate the entire structure from consideration. The stratigraphic/diagenetic aspects of this play are dependent on the presence of vuggy and porous Manetoe dolostone. The formation of this dolostone predated the migration of hydrocarbons and occurred in two stages (Morrow et al., 1990; Morrow and Aulstead, 1995). The first stage of dolostone emplacement involved precipitation within pre-existing caverns that had been created by groundwater dissolution during subaerial exposure in Middle Devonian time (the Watt Mountain unconformity) or by later hydrothermal karsting (Morrow and Aulstead, 1995).

Evaluation of Oil and Gas Potential in the Deh Cho Territory

22

64N

r

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Horn Plateau reef Deh Cho territory Manetoe facies distribution Presqu'ile facies distribution Laramide/Manetoe - Play #1 Sulphur Point edge - Play #3 Slave Point edge - Play #3 Slave Point back barrier/NE structures - Play #4 Sulphur Point back barrier/NE structures - Play #4 Sulphur Point/Bistcho - Play #5 Lonely Bay isolated reefs/Horn Plateau - Play #6 Keg River/Cordova embayment - Play #9 Keg River reef (Rainbow) - Play #11

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Figure 12. Middle Devonian hydrocarbon plays in the Deh Cho territory.

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Figure 13. Later dolomite precipitation and matrix dolomitization occurred as a result of alteration by heated residual brines, rising up from more deeply buried Middle Devonian evaporite beds. These brines rose due to anomalously high heat flow in the region during Late Devonian to Carboniferous time (Morrow and Aulstead, 1995). The evidence for high heat flow lies in paleontological thermal maturation indicators which show a much greater degree of thermal maturation of sub-Upper Devonian strata compared to younger beds (Morrow et al., 1990). The seal for the reservoirs, and source of the gas, is the thick package of DevonianCarboniferous Besa River Formation overlying Manetoe dolostone (Osadetz et al., 1995). Late Paleozoic burial of Devonian carbonates under thick siliciclastics deposits (Besa River/Fort Simpson formations) was accompanied by maturation of hydrocarbons in the overlying shales, and migration downward (and laterally, especially south of 61°N) into porous Manetoe facies where the two units were in contact (Morrow et al., 1990). Hydrocarbons were initially

Evaluation of Oil and Gas Potential in the Deh Cho Territory

24

generated from Besa River Formation in Late Paleozoic time (Morrow and Bird, 1995). Upper Devonian (Besa River equivalents) source rocks are overmature with respect to oil in the Liard Plateau (Figure 14; Stasiuk and Fowler, 2002). In general, source rock maturity indicates which type of hydrocarbon will be produced. Source rocks that are mature will produce oil (i.e., they are within the oil window); if they are overmature the oil has been cracked (converted) to gas. Bitumen coated vugs in Manetoe dolostones indicate that liquid hydrocarbons (i.e., oil) migrated into the Manetoe reservoirs, and were thermally cracked to gas after further deep burial during the Mesozoic and Tertiary. Undeformed vertical masses, formed from rising hydrothermal fluids, of Manetoe facies are exposed in the Ram Plateau area, as well as occurring in the subsurface. There are potential stratigraphic/diagenetic traps here, where capped by Besa River shales and laterally sealed by tight Nahanni Formation limestone or Headless Formation (Morrow, pers. comm.). There are also potential reservoir rocks in carbonate siltstones deposited into karst cavities and vugs in the Manetoe. These siltstones are the reservoir in the Labiche F-08 well. Pointed Mountain field The earliest recorded petroleum exploration activity in Liard Plateau was reconnaissance work done by California Standard (now Chevron) in 1955. This early work included field mapping and photo-geological studies that outlined the prospective structures. The first well was completed in 1959 in northeastern B.C. on the Beaver River anticline. The Beaver River, Kotaneelee (Yukon) and Pointed Mountain fields were defined by drilling between 1962 and 1968. Amoco Canada Petroleum Ltd. drilled the discovery well, Pointed Mountain P-53, in 1966. The field is hosted within the Pointed Mountain anticline, an asymmetric northeast trending anticline in the hanging wall of the Pointed Mountain thrust fault (Figure 13). At surface, the Carboniferous age Mattson Formation outlines the core of the anticline. The reservoir is Manetoe facies sparry coarse dolostone, the product of alteration of the dark grey mottled, partly argillaceous Nahanni Formation. It is up to 580 m thick in some wells. Average pay is 205.4 m (Meding, 1994). This anomalous thickness of Manetoe facies is the result of a vertical development (Morrow et al., 1990), where Manetoe dolomitization affects Nahanni and locally Arnica formations, rather than being restricted to Landry Formation, as is the general case (Figure 8). These vertical developments tend to occur along the southern and eastern edges of the “Funeral Embayment” and indicate the possible presence of a “barrier reef” near the Middle Devonian carbonate edge, the location of which may have been influenced by faults. Fracture porosity associated with the hinge zone of the anticline, and/or the leading edge of the thrust fault that carries the fold, has enhanced the reservoir characteristics. Average porosity is only 2.5% (Meding, 1994). Unfortunately, this fracturing also increases the risk of formation damage by mud invasion while drilling, and water coning if production rates are too high.

Evaluation of Oil and Gas Potential in the Deh Cho Territory

25

Overmature Mount Kindle Formation
64N

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Deh Cho territory Cretaceous well samples - mature Permian well samples - mature Carboniferous (Exshaw Formation) Upper Devonian (Fort Simpson / Besa River formations) Upper Devonian (Muskwa Formation) Middle Devonian (Horn River Formation) Wells

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Source rock maturity based on vitrinite reflectance. Mature (within oil window) corresponds to mean reflectance measurements of 0.60-1.20% Ro. Immature = < 0.60% Ro Overmature (gas generating) = > 1.20% Ro. Middle and Upper Devonian, and Exshaw Formation maturity after Stasiuk and Fowler (2002). Additional data from Feinstein et al., 1988; Snowdon, 1990; Morrow et al., 1993; Potter et al., 2000.
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Figure 14. Source rock maturity map for the Deh Cho territory. Refer to Figure 8 for the stratigraphic settings of these source rocks.

116W

Mature Mattson Formation

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The Pointed Mountain field commenced production in 1972, and was shut-in (production ceased) in October 2001 (INAC, 2002). BP Canada Energy is the current operator. The Canadian Gas Potential Committee (CGPC; 2001) estimated total gas in place at 57,538x106m3. Initial established reserves were 11,023x106m3 (NEB, 1996). Cumulative production to the end of September 2001 was 8,874x106m3 (INAC, 2002). La Biche field La Biche F-08 was drilled in 1971 into the La Biche anticline, a large north trending structure identified by mapping and geophysical surveys. At surface, Besa River Formation shales outcrop in the core of the anticline. The reservoir is Nahanni Formation limestone and siltstone, the lower part of which is altered to Manetoe dolostone. The siltstone is the main reservoir interval, not the Manetoe dolostone in this case. The siltstone was probably deposited as a paleokarst infill. The average pay is 15.5 m, and the siltstone is porous and fractured, with density log measurements of over 30% porosity and averaging 11.8% (Meding, 1994). The CGPC (2001) estimated gas in place at 2,343x106m3. Additional untested closures are known along this structure. The average pay is 15.5 m, and average porosity is 11.8% (Meding, 1994). The field is covered by SDL 012, held by Encana Corporation. Fort Liard K-29 field This field is located east of Liard Plateau, and northwest of Fort Liard. Northcor Energy drilled the Nahanni F-25 well into the Liard Anticline on the hanging wall of the Liard Thrust. This hole did not reach the target Nahanni Formation, and was plugged back and re-entered. Well F25A then intersected 300 m of Nahanni Formation, including an interval of fractured Manetoe dolostone. The reservoir is highly fractured dolostone, with low matrix porosity. Meding (1994) determined an average pay of 11 m, and average porosity of 4.4% from this single well. Subsequent exploration expanded this field, particularly after the highly successful K-29 well was drilled in 1999 by Chevron Canada Resources, the current operator. The field now produces from four wells (K-29, M-25, F-25A, and 2K-29), and is connected by a 46 km pipeline to the Pointed Mountain production facility. Cumulative production to the end of May 2003 was 2,800x106m3 (NEB, 2003). Fort Liard P-66A This gas field lies 15 km north of the Chevron K-29 well. The discovery was made by Ranger Oil and the property is currently operated by Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. The reservoir is Nahanni Formation. Production commenced from the P-66A well in May 2000. The well was shut-in in March 2001 due to well problems; it is currently not producing. Cumulative production to the end of 2001 was 62x106m3 (INAC, 2002).

Evaluation of Oil and Gas Potential in the Deh Cho Territory

27

Bovie Lake J-72 The predecessors of Mobil Oil Canada Ltd. first explored the north trending Bovie Anticline in 1950. The Bovie Lake J-72 well was then drilled by Texaco in 1967. The well lies on the Bovie trend, at the eastern limit of Cordilleran deformation. The reservoir is Nahanni Formation in the hanging wall of a fault with apparent displacement of over 180 m. The pay interval is 10 m dark grey vuggy dolostone with veins of coarse white dolostone. The average pay is 7.9 m and average porosity is 6.6% (Meding, 1994). Recent interpretations of the structure in the area suggest that the reservoir is carried in the hanging wall of a west-directed high-angle thrust (the Bovie fault; MacLean, 2002). Given this geometry, there could be a play in the footwall as well. Initial established reserves are 128x106m3 (Morrell, 1995). The CGPC (2001) estimates 219x106m3 (8 Bcf) of gas is in place. CGPC did not include this play (coded F340) with the others discussed here, as they split the plays at the Liard Anticline, which they considered to be the eastern limit of Cordilleran deformation.
Play #2: Laramide/Windflower

This is an established gas play that includes all pools and prospects hosted in strata other than Manetoe facies dolostone in the Liard Plateau and in Laramide structures of southwestern Great Slave Plain. The potential reservoirs include Mesozoic clastic and carbonate rocks. The variety of potential reservoir beds increases the chances of stacked reservoirs (Figure 15). Traps occur in Laramide aged antiforms, which may be modified by faults. There are recent discoveries in the Deh Cho territory and several south of 60°N in northeast British Columbia. To the west and north, the play area is limited by the outcropping of host formations. The eastern boundary of the play area is the Bovie Anticline, which is taken as the eastern limit of Laramide deformation. Between Bovie Anticline and the Nahanni Thrust Fault, the play boundary is placed at the zero edge subcrop of Pekisko Formation beneath Cretaceous cover (Figure 16). The play areas continue southward into British Columbia. A large portion of the play area is within the Great Slave Plain (Figure 2), but is included here because of the structural relationship to Laramide folds and faults, which are associated more with the Liard Plateau (and Mackenzie Mountains). Because of the broad stratigraphic range of possible reservoirs, the play includes the entire Liard Plateau south of the limit of upper Devonian outcrop. It is recognized that the most favourable exploration areas are beneath Cretaceous cover (i.e., Kotaneelee Valley and the north end of Liard Basin). Laramide structures and topography are more subdued east of Liard Plateau, but still occur in Liard Basin. The overall synclinal aspect of Liard Basin was formed during the Laramide Orogeny, and the Upper Cretaceous Dunvegan Formation is exposed at the surface along the basin margins and dips toward its centre (Leckie et al., 1991). Structural highs define the eastern limit of the basin along the Bovie structural trend, and also occur to the northwest of the basin (Leckie et al., 1991).

Evaluation of Oil and Gas Potential in the Deh Cho Territory

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Figure 15. Laramide antiforms, developed during fold and thrust tectonism, are the basic structural trapping mechanisms (Figure 15). Additional folding and thrust faults may enhance trap geometries, but increase the risk of breached reservoirs. Stratigraphic traps associated with facies changes may also be important. Potential reservoirs include highly fractured middle Devonian shales, Carboniferous Flett and Prophet formations carbonate rocks, Permo-Carboniferous Mattson Formation clastic rocks, Permian Fantasque Formation chert, and Lower Cretaceous clastic rocks. The pre-Cretaceous reservoirs are discussed in Play #14, Upper Paleozoic (subCretaceous) subcrop. All reservoirs except the Lower Cretaceous must be fractured to be effective. The fracturing is associated with the axial traces of Laramide anticlines (Figure 15; NEB, 1996). Organic rich shales of middle Devonian and younger age (e.g., Besa River, Mississippian Exshaw, and Triassic Toad-Grayling formations) are potential source rocks here as well as seals. Upper Devonian formations and Exshaw Formation are overmature with respect to oil in the area (Stasiuk and Fowler, 2002). Vitrinite reflectance data from Cretaceous strata from the East Flett H-13 well indicate maturity within the oil window (Potter et al., 2000). Additional sealing formations could be tight facies of Mattson Formation or Fantasque Formation chert.

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64N

Deh Cho territory Bovie Anticline Laramide/Windflower - Play #2 Basal Cretaceous clastics - Play #7 Jean Marie Member - Play #8
63N

Kakisa/Redknife platform - Play #14 Upper Paleozoic (sub-Cretaceous) subcrop - Play #15 Triassic subcrop - Play #16 Bovie structure - Play #17

62N

61N

50

0

km

50

100
116W

124W

Figure 16. Late Paleozoic and Cretaceous hydrocarbon plays in the Deh Cho territory.

122W

120W

118W

60N

126W

Liard N-60 The N-60 well, drilled in 1997 by Ocelot Energy Inc., had a measured gas flow rate of 32x103m3/d on drill stem test (DST) from Mattson Formation, at a depth of only 636-650 m. Fort Liard F-36 field Paramount Resources operates this field located 25 km southeast of Fort Liard. Gas is produced from the Mattson Formation at a depth of about 2000 m. Two wells are producing: the discovery well F-36 and the O-35 well were brought onstream in April 2000. Cumulative production to the end of May 2003 was 186.7x106m3 (NEB, 2003). Twenty-four kilometres of pipe (the Shiha Pipeline) carries gas from this field to a production facility near Maxhamish Lake, British Columbia. Further southeast, a single well field (Paramount Southeast Fort Liard N-01) commenced production in August 2001. Gas is produced from the Mattson and Fantasque formations. This well is also tied into the Shiha Pipeline. Cumulative production to the end of May 2003 was 118x106m3 (NEB, 2003). Great Slave Plain The Great Slave Plain exploration area (Figure 1) is underlain by very gently, southwest dipping strata through much of its area, with some Laramide structures evident in the far southwest corner (see previous play section). Deep-seated faults cutting the basement are abundant in places, and these have an effect on overlying Phanerozoic strata, particularly where there has been later reactivation. In particular, the subsurface south of the Mackenzie River between 116°W and 121°W hosts an abundance of northeast trending basement faults. Stratigraphic plays dominate here. The most important geological feature in the subsurface is the Middle Devonian age carbonate barrier that built up over the Tathlina High, on the widespread Keg River (Lonely Bay/Nahanni formations) platform (figures 2 and 8). Plays exist both within the platform carbonates and in buildups at the barrier margin, as well as in isolated pinnacle reefs which grew both seaward and landward of the main barrier. The Sulphur Point (upper Keg River) barrier edge is overlain by the Slave Point barrier edge. The two barrier edges are close, but not exactly coincident in the subsurface. In this section, we refer to the “Slave Point edge” in a general sense to mean the generally abrupt boundary of the Middle Devonian carbonate barrier (also referred to by many as the Presqu’ile barrier). The edge is outlined on Figure 2. The National Energy Board (NEB, 1996) favoured separation of Sulphur Point and Slave Point platform edge and back-barrier plays into distinct groups; this study follows this example. However, in our play descriptions we have grouped the Sulphur Point and Slave Point for the sake of brevity. The two formations may be difficult to distinguish, particularly near the barrier edge, both seismically and due to Presqu’ile facies dolomitization. From an exploration standpoint, seismic targets are buildups generally seen at the top of Slave Point Formation.

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In addition, there are several other carbonate platform/barrier edge complexes that grew through the Middle and Late Devonian, separated by unconformities and/or shale packages (Figure 8). Upper Devonian platform carbonates are generally thinner than Middle Devonian platforms, and not as widely dolomitized, but the Jean Marie Member and Kakisa Formation are still important potential reservoirs. Upper Devonian platforms extend generally further basinward (to the north and west) up section from the Jean Marie Member and Kakisa Formations, to the less prospective Kotcho and Tetcho formations. The eastern part of Great Slave Plain in the Deh Cho territory is where the Phanerozoic sedimentary package is thinnest and basement most shallow (about 550 m or less). This increases the risk of reservoir breaching, and makes the area from Mink Lake to Falaise Lake and Windy Point, less prospective. However, this region still includes important hydrocarbon occurrences (including the Mink Lake I-38 well) and illustrates that sealing shales (Horn River Formation and equivalents) are still effective here.
Play #3: Slave Point edge

This is an established, non-associated, sour gas play that includes all pools and prospects hosted in stratigraphic traps in mostly dolomitized Sulphur Point Formation (Upper Keg River equivalent) and Slave Point Formation along a narrow belt at the margin of the Slave Point edge. There is potential for the Lonely Bay/Nahanni formations platform (Lower Keg River equivalent) to contain reservoir facies, particularly if affected by Presqu’ile dolomitization. Sulphur Point Formation has been locally removed by erosion (or greatly thinned) by sub-Watt Mountain Formation erosion on the Tathlina High. This effectively reduces the number (and quality) of available reservoirs. The northern and western boundaries of the play area (Figure 12) are defined by the sharp transition to basinal shales at the barrier edge. The eastern boundary is the subcrop or outcrop limit at the Canadian Shield. The NEB placed the southern (back barrier) play boundary at the 300 m isopach contour for the Middle Devonian carbonate barrier, which was estimated to be the gross dolostone thickness needed for a productive reservoir (NEB, 1996). The southern, or back barrier boundary, is placed at a distance of approximately 5 km back from the front edge. The traps are commonly (but not always) dolomitized bioherms or buildups at the barrier edge or on the relatively steep barrier front slope (figures 17 and 18). These are sealed laterally by onlapping basinal shales (Horn River Formation; locally dense lagoonal facies micrites) and capped by tight back reef limestones (Sulphur Point and/or Slave Point formations). Some reservoirs are capped by Muskwa Formation shale. The Slave Point Formation pools and prospects include isolated shelf, slope and bank edge reefal carbonates situated along the margin of the Middle Devonian carbonate complex. These are generally smaller than those at a lower stratigraphic setting (i.e., Sulphur Point Formation with or without Lonely Bay/Nahanni formations) where they can be discriminated (NEB, 1996).

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Figure 17. Devonian organic rich shales (Muskwa Formation and/or Horn River Formation and equivalents) are the source rocks. Muskwa Formation is immature east of about 117°W at the Slave Point edge, and within the oil window to approximately 120°20’W (Figure 14; Stasiuk and Fowler, 2002). West of there, gas would have been produced. The Middle Devonian (Horn River Formation and equivalents) shales are within the oil window from about 120°30’W and eastward at the Slave Point edge, except for an immature zone centered on 118°W (Figure 14; Stasiuk and Fowler, 2002). Most discoveries on Slave Point edge have produced gas, but maturation studies suggest that there is minor oil potential east of the Cordova Embayment. Reservoirs are found within commonly dolomitized intervals of Sulphur Point or Slave Point formations. Local fracturing increases porosity (which, unaltered, is usually less than 3%) and permeability to levels capable of production (NEB, 1996). Several examples of discoveries within this play type are described below.

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Figure 18. Interpretation of seismic line (NIR 13, Northcor Energy Ltd., 1984a) across the Slave Point edge on the west side of the Cordova Embayment. The edge shows a slight buildup and may be localized by basement faulting (red line). Note the angular truncation of reflectors beneath the sub-Cretaceous unconformity. The Island River E-56 well is located just to the west (left) of the figure. Vertical exaggeration is approximately 2.2 x. Arrowhead G-69 The Arrowhead area was first explored in the early 1960s by the British American Oil Company and Texaco. In 1985, the Arrowhead G-69 well was drilled on a seismically delineated high on the Slave Point edge. The operator interpreted the reservoir here to be dolomitized Lonely Bay/Nahanni formation in a small, basin margin reef build-up. Dolomitization to Manetoe facies makes it difficult to distinguish between Sulphur Point and Nahanni formations. In the well report, porous dolostone is noted at 2450 m depth. The pay interval is 5 m and the average

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porosity is 6.8% (Meding, 1994). This is at the level of the lower Keg River and is overlain by limestones of both upper Lonely Bay and Sulphur Point. However, chip samples descriptions from these two overlying limestones are not obviously differentiated (despite both well and log picks listed for these formations). Dolomitization may occur in the Slave Point, Sulphur Point or Lonely Bay/Nahanni platform carbonates. The CGPC estimated 144x106m3 gas in place for the Arrowhead G-69 pool (CGPC, 2001). The NEB estimated initial established reserves for the G-69 well of 71x106m3 gas at the 95% probability level (Morrell, 1995). South Island River M-41 The first exploratory well drilled in this area on the west side of Cordova Embayment was by Imperial Oil in 1954 (Island River G-50). It recovered traces of gas from near the base of the Lonely Bay Formation platform, somewhat back from the Slave Point edge. HB Pan Am South Island River M-41 was drilled in 1964 and recovered gas from Slave Point Formation. The reservoir is medium to coarsely crystalline, fractured and vuggy Slave Point Formation limestone lying below 21 m of dense Slave Point, near the crest of a reefal buildup at the edge of the carbonate barrier. The net pay is 5.5 m and the average porosity is 5.5%, ranging up to 11% (Meding, 1994). The NEB estimated reserves of 19x106m3 gas at a 95% confidence level (Morrell, 1995). Amoco HB drilled the South Island River M-52 well in 1973, testing a separate seismic anomaly on the Slave Point edge. A DST in the Slave Point Formation produced 11.3x103m3/d. North of these wells, and east of Island River G-42, MacLean and Morrow (2001) illustrated an undrilled Slave Point target at the edge on the west side of Cordova Embayment (Figure 18). Trainor Lake C-39 In 1965, Pure Oil Co. and Pan American discovered gas along the east edge of Cordova Embayment in Trainor Lake C-39. The reservoir is undifferentiated Slave Point and Sulphur Point formations - dark grey to brown fractured and stylolitic limestone (rather than dolostone). The pay is 22.9 m with an average porosity of 6.6% (Meding, 1994). The NEB estimated 31x106m3 recoverable gas (NEB, 1996). Netla C-07 Various companies explored the Netla area in the early 1960s, after gravity surveys indicated a possible Middle Devonian reef edge. The Sun Netla C-07 well was drilled in 1961. The reservoir is reefal Slave Point Formation on the margin of the Slave Point barrier (Figure 17). The reservoir zone is 14 m of porous light grey siliceous limestone (another occurrence of undolomitized reservoir rock). Porosity is estimated at 9% (Meding, 1994). The NEB estimated a reserve of 101x106m3 at a 95% confidence level (Morrell, 1995).

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MacLean and Morrow (2001) showed that large carbonate mounds are clearly imaged by seismic just behind the shelf edge reservoir at Netla C-07 (Figure 19). These could be back-reef shelf mounds, or a slightly younger (and stratigraphically higher) Slave Point edge. This target has not been drill tested.

Figure 19. Interpreted seismic line (Line 02, Shell Canada, 1987) with Netla C-07 well (gas) at the Slave Point edge. Note the untested back-edge mound. Vertical exaggeration is approximately 2.7 x. (modified from MacLean and Morrow, 2001)
Play #4: Slave Point back barrier/Northeast fault structures

This established play encompasses all pools and prospects in Middle Devonian carbonate platform rocks, back from the shelf edge. These include biostromal and platform carbonates of Sulphur Point Formation, as well as Slave Point Formation. The pools contain sour gas, associated with oil east of Cordova Embayment. The north and western margins of the play are defined by the interior limit of the Slave Point edge play (#3). The eastern limit is the subcrop and/or outcrop limit at the Canadian Shield. The play extends south of 60°N, with known pools in British Columbia and Alberta. A major feature of this play is its structural elements. Dolomitized and often significantly fractured reservoirs form traps in complex antiformal closures associated with dominantly northeast trending faults that extend upward from the Precambrian basement (Figure 20). Drapes over basement horsts and fault-bounded traps are common.

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Figure 20. Northeast trending basement faults interpreted from seismic and geophysical surveys. Major faults are blue (see also Figure 2); minor faults are red. Public domain seismic tracklines are the finer black lines. (modified from Morrow et al., 2002) These northeast trending faults and fault zones are inferred from inflections in regional structure contours, as well as imaged in seismic (Morrow et al., 2002). There are significantly more known and inferred northeast trending faults north of the Great Slave Lake shear zone than south of it (Morrow et al., 2002). The Precambrian surface here is more irregular, with an overall southwest dip. In the region west of 118°W, seismic evidence suggests that there was a deformation episode (reverse faulting) that was post-Slave Point Formation but pre-Jean Marie Member (early Late Devonian time; Morrow et al., 2002). East of 118°W, faulting is generally pre-Slave Point Formation (i.e., Proterozoic), so Slave Point reservoirs may have been draped over older structures. There is also evidence for Laramide reactivation of some older structures. The major faults, the Tathlina and Hay River faults for example (figures 2 and 20), show apparent dextral offset of basement domains (MacLean and Morrow, 2001; Morrow et al., 2002). Offset of Upper Devonian strata has been mapped across the Tathlina Fault in outcrop and similar offset is inferred in the subsurface. Small post-Devonian movements are also inferred from deflections in regional trends on structure contour maps (Morrow et al., 2002).

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Reservoir facies comprise patchy zones of dolomitized, porous biohermal and platformal carbonates (chiefly amphiporoid rich packstone and wackestone). Dolomitization may be associated with basement faulting, and fracturing associated with these structures is also very important. Fracturing elevates the background porosity of usually less than 2% (NEB, 1996) and permeability to levels sufficient for economic recovery. Muskeg Formation evaporite rocks form a top seal for Sulphur Point reservoirs. Lateral seals are provided by the fault juxtaposition of tight, deeper water Keg River carbonate rocks and shales, or by the evaporites. The primary source of hydrocarbons is the organic rich layers within the Muskwa Formation that overlie and interfinger with the Middle Devonian carbonate rocks. Horn River Formation shales are also source rocks, as discussed previously for Play #3 (see Figure 14). Source rocks can be expected to have produced associated gas east of the Cordova Embayment, and non-associated gas in the west. Podruski et al. (1988) note that the Slave Point Formation is typically gas bearing, but may contain oil. There are several varied examples of this play type in the Deh Cho territory. They exhibit some major differences, which is not surprising given the rather broad parameters of this play. Rabbit Lake field Rabbit Lake, drilled in 1955, was the first natural gas discovery in the NWT. The discovery resulted from surface mapping of a fold structure, traceable for 50 km through Upper Devonian strata. It was later outlined by seismic surveys and tested by drilling. The reservoir unit is Sulphur Point Formation in an antiformal closure against a fault that extends upward from the Precambrian basement. The reservoir is a highly porous, fragmental and crystalline limestone, which is only 2.4 m thick in Rabbit Lake O-16 (No. 1 well) and 9.1 m thick in Rabbit Lake B-07 (No. 3 well). This is different than the play model that requires dolomitization of the reservoir to attain sufficient porosity. Core of the pay zone shows sub-vertical fracturing throughout complemented by scattered pinpoint and vuggy porosity (Janicki, 2003). The fracturing that enhances porosity may be due to faulting (reactivation). A northeast trending horst provides the basis of the structural trap. The Sulphur Point Formation is draped over this horst, forming the anticlinal trap. The adjacent graben is about 5 km wide with relief of up to 100 m (MacLean and Morrow, 2001). Faults also close off the structure to the north and east, indicating reactivation of the faults in Paleozoic (early Middle Devonian) time (Janicki, 2003). The pool is covered by SDL 011, held by Philips Petroleum Resources. The reservoir's initial potential rate of production was calculated to be 141.6x103m3/d (Janicki, 2003). The CGPC (2001) estimate of gas in place is 451x106m3. The NEB gives a 95% confidence level of reserves of 187x106m3 (Morrell, 1995).

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The Rabbit Lake fault zone has been projected further to the southwest by MacLean and Morrow (2001). They identified (from seismic) a 3 km wide platform mound complex on Slave Point Formation, northeast of Trainor K-70 and located along the possible projection of Rabbit Lake fault zone. This feature may therefore have a structural aspect, rather than simply being a mound complex. The feature may have been partly tested by the Trainor E-35 well (Figure 21). No DSTs were done, but gas-cut formation water was recovered from the Lonely Bay Formation (Lower Keg River Formation) platform carbonate.

Figure 21. Interpreted seismic line (OSL-06, Northcor Energy Ltd., 1983). This line was shot across the Slave Point edge on the east side of Cordova Embayment. Note that the Slave Point reflector abruptly stops at the shelf edge. On the Slave Point platform, a number of northeast trending fault offsets (in red) on the Slave Point reflector are apparent. Also note the clinoform beds within Upper Paleozoic strata (Banff Formation) beneath the sub-Cretaceous unconformity. The vertical white line indicates a change in orientation. Vertical exaggeration is approximately 2.4 x. Cameron Hills field United Canso Oil and Gas Ltd. drilled the first well in this area, Cameron H-34, in 1968. It recovered oil-flecked and gas-cut mud from the Sulphur Point Formation. Reactivation of Precambrian basement faults produced drapes and structural traps in overlying units (figures 22 and 23). Porosity enhancement may have resulted from dolomitization or

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leaching fluids traveling along the fault zones that extend into Late Devonian strata; fracturing related to fault reactivation was also certainly a factor.

Figure 22.

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Figure 23. Interpreted seismic line (8090, Petro-Canada, 1985a). This line was shot in Cameron Hills and displays a draped Slave Point Formation over a basement high, tested by the Cameron Hills I-10 well. Additional drape features lying above fault-bounded basement uplifts are also indicated. Slave Point Formation may be draped over, or offset by these faults, as shown southwest of the Swede E-02 well. Vertical exaggeration is approximately 1.6 x. The M-31 well was drilled by Paramount-HB et al. in 1979. The reservoir there was developed near the top of Slave Point Formation below 6 m of tight limestone. DST’s over three intervals recovered oil and gas (up to 35x103m3/d). More than 15 m of pay was logged in Keg River Formation (Lonely Bay Formation equivalent) platform limestone. Additional reservoir rock was developed in Sulphur Point Formation sucrosic dolostone (Bistcho facies - Play #5). Streaks of 14% to 15% porosity in this unit are indicated both on the logs and in the samples; average porosity is close to 9% (Figure 24; Janicki, 2003). Dense anhydritic dolostone forms a cap, and Muskeg Formation anhydrite or tight Keg River dolostone at fault contacts create lateral seals. For the M-31 well, Janicki (2003) estimated 151x106m3 of gas in place. CGPC (2001) estimated a gas in place amount in Slave Point Formation for the Cameron Hills field of 54x106m3. It is not known on which well(s) this estimate was based, but it seems conservative. Production at the Cameron Hills field commenced in February, 2002. Current production is from nine gas wells, four of which also produce oil. The wells are: A-73 (gas), C-50 (gas), N-28 (gas and oil), J-37 (gas), A-05 (gas), H-03 (oil and gas), H-58 (gas), K-74 (oil and gas), and F-73 (oil and gas). Gas is transported by pipeline to Bistcho Lake, Alberta; while oil and produced water are transported by tanker to facilities in Alberta. Cumulative production to the end of May 2003 was 169.66x106m3 gas, and 2,088.5x103m3 oil (NEB, 2003).

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Figure 24. Gamma and density well logs from Cameron Hills M-31, Slave Point, Sulphur Point and Keg River formation intervals. The density porosity kicks indicate gas pay (shaded red). (after Janicki, 2003) Celibeta H-78 The Celibeta High is an oval shaped basement uplift, possibly asymmetric with a steeper west flank, elongate northeastward and 34 km wide in an east-west direction (Figure 2; Williams, 1977; MacLean and Morrow, 2001). A post-Paleozoic timing of uplift is indicated by dome-like structures on several Devonian horizons. Uplift both before (early post-Paleozoic to preCretaceous) and after the sub-Cretaceous unconformity (Tertiary) is indicated (MacLean and Morrow, 2001). North to northeast trending syn- and post-Paleozoic normal extension faults cut

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the structure. Some post-Paleozoic faults form grabens on the west flank of the Celibeta High. Most syn-Paleozoic normal faults are downthrown to the east and commonly displace the subPhanerozoic unconformity (Figure 25). The Celibeta High features a large area of significant closure on the Slave Point Formation (Meding, 1994). However, only the well drilled highest on the structure has been successful thus far. Home Oil Co. Ltd. drilled this discovery well No. 2 (Celibeta H-78) in 1960 on the crest of the structure, after it was identified in gravity and magnetic surveys and confirmed by reconnaissance seismic work.

Figure 25. Interpreted seismic line (NCL-07, Northcor Energy Ltd., 1984b) across the southeast flank of Celibeta High. Structural relief on Devonian horizons is shown. Faulted offsets on the southeast flank are interpreted to represent an extension of the Trout Lake Fault. Vertical exaggeration is approximately 2.7 x. (modified from MacLean and Morrow, 2001)

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This well is on the high side of the northeast trending Trout Lake fault zone, which continues on to the northeast (MacLean and Morrow, 2001). The Trout Lake fault zone may provide the north side to a 5 km wide graben (Williams, 1977; MacLean and Morrow, 2001). The reservoir is the fractured and cavernous upper part of the Slave Point Formation. The trap is structural and formed by faulting (of the Precambrian to Devonian section), partial erosion of exposed Slave Point (resulting in cavernous quartz-lined vugs and thinner than normal Slave Point and absent Muskwa Formation), and later Laramide structural deformation. At Celibeta H-78, initial established reserves are 48x106m3 (NEB estimate; Morrell, 1995). The pay thickness is 6.1 m with an average porosity of 8% (Meding, 1994). The discovery is covered by SDL 001 (held by BP Energy Canada Ltd.). Tathlina N-18 In 1973, Pacific and Amoco discovered gas in the Tathlina N-18 well in Slave Point Formation. In this area, a series of northeast-trending faults in the Precambrian basement form horsts and grabens. These faults propagate through the Devonian strata and probably into the Cretaceous, possibly due to Laramide tectonism. The result is Slave Point Formation draped over a preexisting uplifted Precambrian fault block (Williams, 1977). An anticlinal rollover provides closure. The structure is sealed to the northwest by Muskwa Formation shales that have been down-dropped into a graben. The reservoir rock consists of dolomitic light brownish grey wackestones to packstones with traces of leached pinpoint vuggy porosity (Janicki, 2003). Established reserves are 130x106m3 (Janicki, 2003). Grumbler G-63 In 1969, Shell Canada drilled the Grumbler G-63 well on what was originally considered to be a pinnacle reef seismic anomaly. While drilling, the well encountered a large volume of slightly sour gas from the Slave Point Formation while tripping for a bit change. Shell contemplated building a pipeline into the town of Hay River; roughly 80 km north of the well, but it was deemed to be uneconomic. Shell estimated that reserves in this low-pressure reservoir were roughly 11x106m3 per km2. Average flow rates on testing were 155.8x103m3/d. The CGPC (2001) estimates gas in place at Grumbler to be 47x106m3 (2 Bcf). The reservoir is Slave Point Formation, draped over faulted and uplifted Keg River Formation. Laramide fault reactivation increased the structural elevation, and may also have fractured the reservoir rock and contributed to zones of lost circulation. Samples across the porous zone consist of shaly and fossiliferous wackestones and packstones. Much of the porosity appears to be in fine fractures evident in the samples; intergranular porosity is poor to fair (Janicki, 2003). Dense limestone of upper Slave Point Formation caps the reservoir.

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Kakisa F-35 Pan American Petroleum Corporation and Shell Canada Resources drilled Kakisa F-35 in 1964. Roughly 28x103m3/d flowed from the Slave Point Formation during DST. Early surface mapping identified a synform along the east shore of Kakisa Lake, which was thought to be a graben at basement level (Janicki, 2003). The structure was later clarified by seismic survey, and is illustrated in Figure 26.

Figure 26. Interpreted seismic line (JCP-ES1-B2, PanCanadian, 1969). This line was shot across the Slave Point edge on the east side of Kakisa Lake. A buildup at the Slave Point edge was tested by the Kakisa F-35 well. Surface mapping indicated a structural synform. Several faults offsetting the basement and at least Chinchaga Formation are indicated between the F-35 and I-44 wells. These are the northeast trending faults typical of the region. Vertical exaggeration is approximately 2.3 x. The Slave Point reservoir consists of porous, fossiliferous reef edge facies. Intergranular porosity is fair but there is also abundant pinpoint and vuggy porosity, with pyrobitumen plugging some of the pore space. Porosities of up to 17% and permeabilities to 1.2 darcies were recorded (Janicki, 2003). The core descriptions from the well files from nearby Kakisa I-44 well are similar to the Slave Point Formation in Kakisa F-35. However, the two wells are separated by probable northeast trending structures.
Play #5: Sulphur Point/Bistcho

This established play includes all pools and prospects hosted in stratigraphic traps composed of Bistcho shelf facies carbonate rocks of the Sulphur Point Formation. The play area extends northeastward from Alberta into the Cameron Hills area of the Deh Cho territory (Figure 12).

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The Bistcho member is oil-bearing in Alberta, where traps are formed by draping of Bistcho facies over Keg River reefs (Podruski et al., 1988). At Cameron Hills, the pools are associated sour gas on top of thin oil zones. The northern and western boundaries of the play are coincident with the northern subcrop edge of Muskeg Formation anhydrite, which is in transitional, lateral, and overlying contact with the Bistcho facies (NEB, 1996). The southern and eastern boundaries are the facies transition from porous dolostone and limestone into tight limestone, shale, and evaporite rocks. The play is related to #4 (Slave Point back barrier-northeast fault structures), but is treated separately here because the reservoir is a specific facies. The Sulphur Point Formation is a shelf carbonate disconformably overlying (and laterally equivalent to) Muskeg Formation evaporite rocks. The basal portion of the Bistcho member interfingers with the underlying Muskeg Formation. The reservoir rocks in this stratigraphic play are dolomitic grainstones and packstones (up to 80 m thick; NEB 1996) deposited in peritidal channels (Bistcho facies) on a shallow, restricted tidal shelf. Supratidal lime mudstones and anhydrite form a lateral seal while lime mudstones also form a capping seal. The source rock is probably organic rich shales of the Watt Mountain Formation that unconformably overlie these carbonates, as well as organic rich intervals of the Muskeg Formation. The Cameron Hills field is representative of this play in the Deh Cho territory, as well as including pools and prospects related to Play #4 (Figure 22). The Bistcho facies is likely to extend eastward from the Cameron Hills area. Bistcho facies reservoirs may also be involved in drape structures (over evaporite features) south of the Middle Devonian carbonate barrier, in the Elk Point basin (Podruski et al., 1988). Paramount Resources tied this area into its northern Alberta gas plant at Bistcho Lake in 2002. An estimate of established natural gas reserves of 7,082x106m3 was quoted by Brackman (2001) for the Cameron Hills Field (including plays #4 and #5).
Play #6: Lonely Bay platform isolated reefs/Horn Plateau

This established stratigraphic play was divided into several different components by the NEB (1996), and corresponds to the Keg River isolated reef play of Reinson et al. (1993), and the F340 and J347 plays of CGPC (2001). While the play is considered established, we have treated the portion of the play north of the Slave Point edge as a conceptual play for the purposes of this assessment because the discovered Horn Plateau reefs there have been only moderately endowed with petroleum. However, Horn Plateau equivalent reefs in the Utahn Embayment in British Columbia are important producers. Thus the portion of the play area within the Utahn Embayment in the Deh Cho territory (Figure 2) retains full established status with respect to our assessment methodology. The play includes all pools and prospects in isolated reefs and bioherms located basinward (outboard) from the Slave Point edge (Figure 12). The southern play boundary is the Middle Devonian carbonate barrier edge. The eastern boundary is the subcrop/outcrop edge at the
Evaluation of Oil and Gas Potential in the Deh Cho Territory 46

boundary with the Canadian Shield. Reinson et al. (1993) placed the north boundary 24 km outboard from the Slave Point edge, corresponding to the estimated slope/shale basin boundary. Many of the reefs (Horn Plateau Formation) occur further than 24 km from the Slave Point edge, and are surrounded by Horn River Formation shales and rooted in Lonely Bay Formation platform rocks (Figure 12). Similar reefs are also known to be rooted in Nahanni Formation in the western Deh Cho territory. Our play boundaries reflect the inclusion of both these reef groups. The reservoirs are generally (although not always) dolomitized. Dolomitization is an important factor in determining the reservoir quality in B.C. examples (e.g., Yoyo), although most of the discovered Horn Plateau reefs are undolomitized. They are encased in Horn River Formation shales, and are capped by Muskwa (Spence River) Formation. Fracturing enhances porosity and permeability, and may be due to pre-Muskwa Formation exposure, erosion, and solution by groundwater (i.e., karst effects; Vopni and Lerbekmo, 1972). The NEB (1996) differentiated Slave Point Formation (and Upper Keg River) isolated reefs as a separate play. These are Slave Point reefal overgrowths on pre-existing Horn Plateau (or Sulphur Point) formation reefs. The distinction is not made here due to the difficulty in differentiating the separate reef facies seismically, although it is recognized that the pool parameters for each group may be different. In some cases, reefal buildups on Slave Point Formation alone (no underlying Horn Plateau reef) may be developed just outboard of Slave Point edge on the slope of the carbonate barrier front (Figure 27). These prospects are included with the Slave Point edge (Play #3) group.

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47

Figure 27. Interpreted seismic line (080-35-839, Petro-Canada, 1985b). This line was shot basinward from the Slave Point edge. The interpretation shows a reef-like buildup tested by the Arrowhead River H-31 well. The well file report indicates that Slave Point Formation was intersected (not Horn Plateau Formation). Reef development may have been influenced by a basement fault (red line). Note also the truncation of beds under the sub-Cretaceous unconformity. Vertical exaggeration is approximately 2.1 x. The reservoirs are sealed by shales of Horn River Formation, and capped by Muskwa/Besa River formation shales; these shales are also the source rocks. Muskwa Formation, as mentioned previously, is immature east of about 117°W at Slave Point edge, and within the oil window to approximately 120°20’W (Figure 14; Stasiuk and Fowler, 2002). The Middle Devonian (Horn River Formation and equivalents) shales are within the oil window from about 120°30’W and eastward at the Slave Point edge, except for an immature zone centered on 118°W (Figure 14; Stasiuk and Fowler, 2002). Therefore, the reefs in the east part of the play would be oil prone, while those further west would contain increasing amounts of associated sour gas. Prospects in the Utahn Embayment (Figure 2) may be expected to hold gas, and there have been exploration successes here in northeastern British Columbia.

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48

Several Horn Plateau reefs have been tested in the southern Deh Cho territory (Figure 28) and many have small amounts of gas or oil, but few pools have been discovered. Most of the reefs are not dolomitized, and perhaps porosity was not sufficiently developed. Morrell (1995) supposed that migration problems between source rock and host, and local reservoir breaching might have reduced the number of exploration successes in this play. It is likely that many more reefs could be discovered with modern seismic surveys.

Figure 28. Interpreted seismic line (D8106, Petro-Canada, 1985c) showing a Horn Plateau Formation reef built up from Lonely Bay Formation platform, above basement uplift. Clinoform reflectors are apparent in Horn River Formation basinal shales. The Redknife H-28 well tested the edge of the reef and recovered mud and mud-cut formation water on DST. Vertical exaggeration is approximately 1.5 x. Mink Lake I-38 During the drilling of Mink Lake I-38 by Horn River Resources, Placid and Imperial Oil in 1971, an uncontrolled blowout and gas flow occurred from Middle Devonian carbonate rocks at a depth of 267 m. Gas flowed for 8 hours, and was eventually controlled with drilling mud. On DST, the gas flow was 15.86x103m3/d decreasing to a steady 12.97x103m3/d. An amount of oil was also recovered. The gas flow and DST shut-in pressure indicated good reservoir pressure and permeability (Morrell, 1995). A core of the tested interval consisted of brown argillaceous microcrystalline to aphanitic limestone. Porosity was somewhat tight, but vugs bleeding oil and horizontal fracturing were noted. Trout River D-14 The Trout River D-14 well was drilled in 1970 by Gulf on a seismically defined buildup on the Lonely Bay Formation platform. The well intersected a Horn Plateau Formation reef composed of fossiliferous limestone alternating with beds of lime mud. Good intrafossil and vuggy
Evaluation of Oil and Gas Potential in the Deh Cho Territory 49

porosity, as well as oil staining were noted in the core. A DST recorded gas flows of up to 2.07x103m3/d. Traces of gas (minor shows) were also found upon testing of Horn Plateau Formation reefs in the Trout River D-66 and Jean Marie B-48 wells.
Play #7: Basal Cretaceous clastics

This established play includes all pools and prospects within the Lower Cretaceous clastic rocks of the Fort St. John Group (Figure 8). Cretaceous strata subcrop throughout much of the southern Deh Cho territory (Figure 29), and are particularly thick within the Liard Basin (Play #2). The play area is defined by outcrop and subcrop limits (Figure 16). The southern Deh Cho territory has thick sequences of Cretaceous strata. Here, the western play limit is the Bovie Anticline, which is taken as the eastern limit of Laramide structures. The play area extends southward into British Columbia. Cretaceous strata that cap smaller plateaus such as the Ebbutt and Marten hills are too thin and shallow, so are not considered prospective. There is a possibility that Cretaceous strata could trap hydrocarbons in Horn Plateau (429 m of Cretaceous rocks in the Willow Lake B-28 well). Also, the section is somewhat thicker within Great Bear Plain (e.g., 594 m in Blackwater E-11; Figure 29).

Figure 29. Distribution of Cretaceous strata (shaded green) in the Deh Cho territory. Isopach contours are in metres. (modified from Dixon, 1999; Janicki, in prep. a)

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Reservoir sands include the fluvial and shallow marine clastics of the Chinkeh, Scatter and Sikanni formations of the Fort St. John Group (Figure 8). This group is a mainly Albian age shale-sandstone package that includes valley-fill, channel, estuarine and shelf sands interbedded with marine shales (NEB, 1996). Observed porosities in outcrop sections range from 5% to 18% and outcrops also show evidence of minor hydrocarbon saturation (CGPC, 2001). The basal Chinkeh Formation commonly fills erosional channels that cut down into the Paleozoic (CGPG, 2001). Reservoirs in Scatter Formation open marine shelf sandstones are dependent on zones of preserved (or increased through diagenesis) effective permeability and porosity. The unit is typically very fine-grained and glauconitic, with a high proportion of lithic grains, and not as good a reservoir as the Chinkeh sandstone. Specific plays noted by Leckie et al. (1991) for basal Chinkeh Formation sandstone include: shallow marine sandstones pinching out laterally into marine shales of Garbutt Formation (the potential reservoir unit in this scenario is up to 32 m thick); non-marine valley/channel fill of pre-existing cuts in Paleozoic rocks and sealed by overlying shales. Leckie et al. (1991) observed up to 8 m of incision in outcrop exposures in northeast B.C.; and fault traps with reservoir sandstone juxtaposed against shale adjacent to the Bovie Lake Anticline (Play #2). The traps envisioned are mainly stratigraphic, resulting from valley and channel fill and nearshore sands deposited on the sub-Cretaceous unconformity. However, there is some structural component possible, especially near the Bovie structures. Seals for the traps and sources for hydrocarbons are the organic-rich Garbutt Formation shales and other interbedded Cretaceous shales (e.g. Lepine Formation). Reconnaissance data suggest lowest Cretaceous sedimentary rocks are mostly mature (with respect to oil generation) with increasing maturity to the southwest (Leckie et al., 1991). Potter et al. (2000) evaluated Cretaceous strata from several wells between Trout Lake and the Bovie Anticline; vitrinite reflectance values indicated maturity values within the oil window. Thus, oil and sweet gas may be expected to be produced from these prospects. Another possible source rock is the Triassic Toad-Grayling Formation shale, which has not been evaluated for maturity in the Deh Cho territory, but is likely to be gas producing. Arrowhead B-41, Bovie Lake M-05 The Arrowhead B-41 well was drilled in 1989 by Shell Canada. Gas was discovered in a fluvial channel sand of the Chinkeh Formation. The NEB has estimated recoverable gas of 249x106m3 (NEB, 1996); CGPC (2001) estimates of gas in place are 364x106m3. Measurable gas was also discovered by DST in the Bovie Lake M-05 well.

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Play #8: Jean Marie Member

This is an established stratigraphic play that includes all pools and prospects in the vicinity of the Cordova Embayment hosted in silty to dolomitic biostromal shelf carbonates of the Jean Marie Member of the Redknife Formation. Also included are pools and prospects in dolomitized reef front carbonates and possible pinnacle reefs that developed at the western margin of the Jean Marie platform. The NEB (1996) separated these into distinct plays, with the platform edge play listed as immature. The northern boundary of the play is the Jean Marie Member outcrop/subcrop limit (Figure 16). The play extends south of 60°N and the western boundary is placed at the Jean Marie shelf edge (NEB, 1996). The eastern boundary is at the east side of the Cordova Embayment, because of the potential for draping structures over the Slave Point edge. The Jean Marie platform is 13 to 25 m thick, but thickens westward to over 95 m before abruptly shaling out into the Besa River (Fort Simpson) shale basin (Figure 30). The platform edge trends northward near 122°W longitude (Mossop and Shetsen, 1994). Reservoir rocks behind the shelf edge are tabular coral and stromatoporoid framestones and boundstones up to about 4.5 m thick, encased in a limey mudstone to wackestone. Local, differential compaction of underlying shales filling the Cordova Embayment provide the structure for a trap, particularly where Jean Marie Member is draped over the Slave Point edge. Porosity and permeability may be enhanced by fracturing, dissolution, and dolomitization; the fracturing may be related to differential compaction. The reservoir must be dolomitized to be productive. Jean Marie pools often overlie faulted Keg River or Slave Point gas accumulations. The top seal to the trap is the silty to shaly Redknife Formation, while Fort Simpson Formation shales form a lateral seal to shelf edge traps. Intra-platform traps are laterally sealed by tight Jean Marie Member. The source rocks are likely organic rich Horn River and/or Fort Simpson formations. Podruski et al. (1988) indicated that oil is possible in the Jean Marie Member, particularly east of the Cordova Embayment. Stasiuk and Fowler (2002) note that the maturity of these rocks is just above the oil window around the Cordova Embayment, so non-associated gas is likely in the shelf edge prospects. The Jean Marie reservoirs tend to be underpressured and prone to formation damage (NEB, 1996). No pools have been discovered in the Deh Cho territory; however, significant discoveries have recently been announced in northeast British Columbia. Celibeta H-78, Cormack C-65A, Arrowhead I-46 Celibeta H-78 was previously discussed with respect to the discovery in the Slave Point Formation (Play #4). Oil staining was found uphole within the Jean Marie Member, which is 96.6 m thick here. Porosity was noted to increase toward the bottom, but a DST at the top of the interval recovered gas cut drilling mud. The Cormack C-65A well was drilled to test a target at the Jean Marie Member level, but apparently missed it (NEB, 1996).

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Figure 30. Interpreted seismic line showing the Jean Marie shale out (note that the reflector fades basinward). Note also the untested Jean Marie platform mound, southwest of the Arrowhead I-46 well. Vertical exaggeration is approximately 2.9 x. (modified from MacLean and Morrow, 2001)

A DST in the Arrowhead I-46 well recovered water (probably filtrate) and mud from the Jean Marie Member. According to the well report, the test was performed to evaluate a zone of logindicated porosity of 5% to 8% (Figure 31).

Figure 31. Gamma and resistivity well log curves from the Arrowhead I-46 well. The resistivity low in Jean Marie Member indicates porosity. MacLean and Morrow (2001) have since outlined an undrilled prospect near the Arrowhead I-46 well inferred to be a reefal mound near the shelf edge of the Jean Marie Member (Figure 32).
Play #9: Keg River/Cordova Embayment

This is an established play in the south, but there have not yet been discoveries in the Deh Cho territory. The play includes all pools and prospects hosted in dolomitized Lonely Bay Formation (lower Keg River Formation) ramp and platform carbonates within the Cordova Embayment. The Cordova Embayment was a restricted, open to the north paleogeographic depression in the Middle Devonian (Morrow et al., 2001). The play is stratigraphic, with a diagenetic component in that Presqu’ile dolomitization is key. This play is related to Lonely Bay platform (Play #12), a conceptual play north of the Middle Devonian carbonate barrier.

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64N

Deh Cho territory Pre-Devonian basal clastics (La Loche) - Play #10 Arnica/Landry platform - Play #12 Lonely Bay/Nahanni platform - Play #13 Silurian-Ordovician platform - Play #18 Basal Cambrian clastics - Play #19
63N

Plateau Overthrust - Play #20 Little Doctor Member of Mount Kindle Fm

62N

61N

50

0

km

50

100
116W

126W

124W

Figure 32. Early Paleozoic hydrocarbon plays in the Deh Cho territory.

122W

120W

60N

118W

The north boundary of the play lies at about 60°25’N within the “neck” of the embayment, beyond which conditions were not favourable for carbonate reef development (NEB, 1996). The east, south and west boundaries are the margins of the main carbonate barrier around the Cordova Embayment (Figure 12). The Lonely Bay Formation is a widespread unit up to 40 m thick composed of mostly tight limestone. Presqu’ile facies (or other) dolomitization provides local porosity; fracturing increases both porosity and permeability. If Sulphur Point Formation (upper Keg River Formation) is present above the Lonely Bay platform, gas will not likely be trapped and will instead migrate into Sulphur Point Formation (Play #4). Therefore, the Horn River Formation shales that seal the traps must overlie Lonely Bay Formation. Horn River Formation and Muskwa Formation shales are likely source rocks. As mentioned previously, these shale units are generally overmature with respect to the oil window in the Cordova Embayment (Figure 14), although there is a small chance of oil at the east edge. There are no discoveries in this play group in the Deh Cho territory, but substantial discoveries have been made in British Columbia (e.g., July Lake; NEB, 1996).
Play #10: Pre-Devonian basal clastics (La Loche)

This conceptual play includes all pools and prospects in structural and stratigraphic traps where the transgressive pre-Devonian basal clastic rocks unconformably onlap and mantle rocks of the Tathlina and other basement highs, which are the sediment sources (Figure 2). This play is conceptual, although a number of minor shows have been found in northern Alberta and British Columbia within the basal clastic horizon (NEB, 1996). The play is analogous to basal Devonian clastics (Granite Wash) onlapping the Peace River Arch. This is a prolific oil producer in northwest-central Alberta (e.g. Red Earth; Podruski et al., 1988). The play area is limited on the north, east, and west by facies changes to evaporite rocks or carbonates (Meijer Drees, 1993). The southern boundary is the limit of deposition on the Tathlina High, as well as facies changes that occur south of 60°N (Figure 32). The basal clastic rocks are known as the La Loche Formation (Meijer Drees, 1993) and comprise a number of distinct facies which are based on parent material provenance and depositional environment. The traps envisioned for this play are mainly updip depositional pinchouts of porous clastic rocks. Thickened sand units deposited in basement grabens are also possible. The sands may be interbedded with anhydrite units that could provide local seals. Potential reservoir sandstones onlapping the Tathlina High are up to 21 m thick southeast of Tathlina Lake (Meijer Drees, 1993). Mantling clastic deposits on the crest of the high are generally thinner with poor porosity. Another basal sand body occurs in the subsurface of the western end of Great Slave Lake, from Hay River to Falaise Lake (Meijer Drees, 1993). Sandy units are also known from the basal Tsetso Formation in western Deh Cho territory, flanking the north trending Liard High. Their reservoir potential does not seem to have been investigated. Janicki (in prep. b), upon examination of drill samples, divided the basal clastic units into three facies: quartz arenite, detrital, and fragmental. Quartz arenite facies is the most continuously distributed and thickest of three facies, and is moderately well sorted in places with zones of
Evaluation of Oil and Gas Potential in the Deh Cho Territory 56

good (but quite variable) porosity (Janicki, in prep. b). The quartz arenite facies was mapped in a northeast trending belt from the Silt Lake area to Big Island in Great Slave Lake. The distribution seems to be related to underlying granitic basement, but also corresponds to a northeast trending basement structural low (Janicki, in prep. b). These fault structures (i.e., the Hay River and Tathlina fault zones) were probably more of an influence on distribution than basement lithology. The detrital facies is generally poorly sorted with a mixed provenance, but zones of porosity over 9% have been noted. Detrital facies had the highest proportion of samples with fair to good porosity (e.g., the Cameron River L-11 well had 4 m zone of good porosity; Janicki, in prep. b). The fragmental facies has high quartz content and may have been reworked locally to quartz arenite facies. However, it has low porosity and therefore the poorest reservoir potential. The source rocks for reservoirs could be the organic-rich beds of Lower Chinchaga Formation (or equivalent Fort Norman Formation). The maturity of these strata is not well known. Younger (Middle Devonian) source rocks are also possible. NEB (1996) described the play as non-associated sour gas, but it could host oil. Lower Chinchaga and/or Mirage Point formation evaporites are potential seal rocks. Several wells have tested this interval in eastern Deh Cho territory and recovered formation water, thus indicating some degree of porosity and permeability (NEB, 1996). However, Janicki (in prep. b) found little evidence of hydrocarbons in the basal clastics within his study area. Several exploration risks can be anticipated; including thin and discontinuous sediments (poor communication in reservoir horizon, isolation from source beds), and generally poor permeability (log and sample evidence). Porosity is generally poor to fair, due to overall poor sorting and cementation (Janicki, in prep. b). In addition, the overlying Chinchaga Formation includes porous beds and is not a consistently good seal. Hydrocarbons could migrate upwards into Middle Devonian formations that have better reservoir characteristics. Janicki (in prep. b) has interpreted the greatest potential for this play to be in the Cameron Hills area, but even there only as a secondary target. At Cameron Hills, fair porosity has been found within a moderately thick, and relatively continuous section. Janicki (in prep. b) noted oil staining in basal Devonian clastics in the Kakisa J-65 well. The well report for the Gull Creek A-63 well mentions “basal sandstone” as the source of gas on DST (15.9x103m3/d). However, the tested interval was very broad and included the lower part of Slave Point Formation, so the assignment of this show to the basal pre-Devonian clastics is questionable.
Play #11: Keg River reef (Rainbow)

This play includes all pools and prospects in dolomitized pinnacle reefs growing from the Keg River platform in the Muskeg evaporite basin, south of the Middle Devonian carbonate barrier. The play area is bounded on the north and west by the subcrop limit of Muskeg Formation, and to the south by the Middle Devonian carbonate barrier (Slave Point edge; Figure 12). This area is part of the Steen River evaporite basin located between the Tathlina Lake and Buffalo Lake areas (Podruski et al., 1988). The eastern boundary is the Keg River Formation subcrop limit near the Canadian Shield. The play continues southward into Alberta, where it hosts the prolific
Evaluation of Oil and Gas Potential in the Deh Cho Territory 57

reservoirs at Zama and Rainbow about 60 km and 100 km, respectively, south of the NWT border. The discovery of these oil pools in northern Alberta was a key driver of exploration in southern Deh Cho territory through the 1960s and 1970s. The reservoir is dolomitized carbonate in pinnacle reefs. The reefs are encased in evaporitic rocks that form a seal. Source rocks are organic-rich facies of Muskeg Formation.
Play #12: Arnica/Landry platform

This conceptual, non-associated gas play includes all pools and prospects hosted in Early Devonian age dolomitic Arnica or Landry formation platform carbonates (Figure 8). The plays are essentially stratigraphic and the traps rely on post-depositional leaching to enhance porosity and permeability in the case of Arnica, and preservation of primary porosity (with enhancement by dissolution) for Landry reservoirs. The Arnica play area extends north of the Deh Cho territory, but is also limited by areas of outcrop. The western boundary is limited by outcrop and/or alteration to Manetoe facies dolostone, which destroys any top or lateral seal. The southern play limit is areas of nondeposition at structural highs, or alteration to Manetoe/Presqu’ile facies dolostone that results in a lack of seal. The eastern limit is a facies change to Chinchaga Formation or equivalents (Meijer Drees, 1993; Figure 32). The Landry play area is partly coincident and smaller, limited on the west by outcrop and/or alteration to Manetoe facies. Manetoe dolomitization also constitutes the south boundary, while the eastern boundary is delineated by subcrop limits and facies change to Chinchaga Formation and equivalents (Figure 32). The Arnica Formation is generally tight shelf limestone or dolostone with porosity generally less than 5% (NEB, 1996); the Landry Formation is predominantly a tight platformal dolostone. Porosity development may have been enhanced through subaerial exposure and leaching, and/or fracturing. Porosities of up to 15% (from sonic well logs) in the Arnica Formation have been indicated over thin zones (30 m gross thickness), and up to 10% from sonic logs in Landry Formation (NEB, 1996). Oil stained cores of both Arnica and Landry formations have been reported (NEB, 1996). Water flows on DSTs of the Arnica Formation indicate sufficient porosity and permeability locally. For the Arnica play, the top seal would be tight Landry carbonates, and the lateral seal Chinchaga (or Fort Norman) formation anhydrites. Seals for the Landry play would include Headless Formation shales (top seal) and Chinchaga Formation evaporites (lateral seal). The top seals for both plays are at risk of being poor quality, due to dolomitization of Landry Formation (for Arnica Formation reservoirs) and fracturing of the Headless Formation (for Landry Formation reservoirs; NEB, 1996). Potential source rocks for the Arnica play are shales of Funeral Formation. For the Landry play, potential source rocks are organic rich intervals of Fort Norman or Chinchaga formations and possibly Headless Formation shales. The maturity of these formations is not well known in Deh Cho region; but based on maturity analyses of overlying Devonian rocks (Stasiuk and Fowler,
Evaluation of Oil and Gas Potential in the Deh Cho Territory 58

2002), it is probable that Early to Middle Devonian source rocks are mature beyond the oil window in the western Deh Cho territory where these reservoir rocks occur. Arnica reservoirs are at risk of isolation from source rocks (NEB, 1996). The Highland Lake K-42 well recovered small amounts of condensate from a DST within Arnica Formation. NEB (1996) considered the best region for Arnica reservoirs to be near the Kakisa and Laferte rivers; however, this seems to be beyond the limit of known subsurface Arnica Formation (Meijer Drees, 1993; Figure 32). Existing DSTs of these intervals are all from wells in the western Deh Cho territory, in the western Great Slave Plain and Mackenzie Plain.
Play #13: Lonely Bay/Nahanni platform

This conceptual play includes all pools and prospects hosted in dolomitized Lonely Bay and Nahanni formation platform carbonates, outboard of the Middle Devonian carbonate barrier. The play area extends north, beyond the edge of the Deh Cho territory, where the equivalent strata are called the Hume Formation. The east boundary is the outcrop/subcrop limit (lying east of the Deh Cho territory). The south limit is the Slave Point edge (Middle Devonian carbonate barrier). The western limit is the extent of the Laramide disturbed belt (Mackenzie Mountains), or where Manetoe facies dolomitization has replaced Nahanni Formation (figures 12 and 32). Lonely Bay/Nahanni Formation is widespread throughout the Deh Cho territory and is of rather uniform thickness. Dolomitization and fracturing, most likely related to basement fault reactivation, form the reservoir. In the northeastern Deh Cho territory, the basal Lonely Bay Formation is a dolostone unit (Willow Lake Formation of Law, 1971), and is equivalent to the Upper Chinchaga Formation. Traps would be mainly stratigraphic, although a structural component is probable in that faulting may form small structural closures. Vintage seismic surveys (1960s to early 1970s) in the eastern Deh Cho territory commonly imaged only the reflector representing the top of the Lonely Bay Formation. Time structure maps created from these surveys reveal many minor structures and uplifts of Lonely Bay Formation. Several of these remain untested. Overlying Horn River Formation shales would provide both seal and a source rock; Muskwa Formation equivalents are also a viable source. Tight limestones of Lonely Bay/Nahanni formations and Upper Chinchaga evaporites provide lateral seals. The Middle Devonian shales lie largely within the oil window in the eastern Deh Cho territory, but are overmature (gas) in the west (Figure 14; Stasiuk and Fowler, 2002). Podruski et al. (1988) considered the Upper Chinchaga Formation to be the oldest potential oil reservoir in the southern NWT, possibly in stratigraphic/structural plays and particularly in the vicinity of the Tathlina High. DSTs recovered traces of oil at Mills Lake P-18 and C-03. In the NWT Province K-31 well near Fort Providence, a DST within the Lonely Bay Formation recovered gas flowing at 1.13x103m3/d. A trace of gas was also recovered from the dolomitic lower member of Lonely Bay Formation in the Imperial Strong Point G-24 well.

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Play #14: Kakisa/Redknife platform

This conceptual play includes all pools and prospects in dolomitized shelf edge shoals, platformal biohermal buildups, and subcrop traps associated with the quartzose, dolomitic limestone Kakisa Member of the Redknife Formation. The north margin of the play coincides with the Middle Devonian carbonate barrier complex and outcrop/subcrop limits (Figure 16). The eastern boundary is the outcrop and subcrop limit; the western play boundary is the carbonate to shale transition at the edge of the Kakisa platform. The play continues south of 60°N. Stratigraphic traps in this play include basinward shale outs of reefal facies, biohermal buildups along the edge of the platform, and subcrop plays associated with the sub-Cretaceous unconformity. The reservoir must be dolomitized to be productive, and local fracturing may enhance permeability and porosity. Like the Jean Marie Member (Play #8), Kakisa platformal buildups often overlie fault-bounded Slave Point or Sulphur Point formation gas accumulations, yielding stacked reservoirs. Sources of gas are bituminous shales of Horn River/Fort Simpson formations. For this play, non-associated gas could be expected. The Trout River Formation shales and limestones form a top seal with the Fort Simpson Formation shales laterally sealing potential reservoirs. Further up section, the Late Devonian Kotcho and Tetcho formations’ platform limestone rocks are almost invariably tight and make poor reservoirs, as evidenced from the very few DSTs that have been performed on these intervals.
Play #15: Upper Paleozoic (sub-Cretaceous) subcrop

This conceptual play includes all pools and prospects hosted in stratigraphic traps of several potential Late Paleozoic (Carboniferous and Permian) reservoirs. It is related to the Laramide/Windflower play (#2) in that many of the same reservoirs are involved. However, the reduced effect of Cordilleran tectonics in the Great Slave Plain reduces the role of structures in forming traps in this play. The most likely reservoir beds are Carboniferous Pekisko, Prophet, Flett, and Mattson formations, as well as Permian Fantasque Formation. Traps are associated with the subCretaceous unconformity and local faulting; there is potential for stacked reservoirs (Figure 33).

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Figure 33. Formations subcropping beneath the Cretaceous rocks in southern Deh Cho territory. Cretaceous rocks elsewhere in Deh Cho are underlain principally by Middle and Upper Devonian strata. Note erosion of Cretaceous on the Celibeta High. (modified from Morrow and MacLean, 2000) The play limits vary somewhat depending on the distribution of the formations listed above (figures 16 and 33). The Pekisko Formation is widely distributed up to 118°W, while Prophet, Flett, and Mattson formations are more restricted. In general, the northern and eastern limits are subcrop limits, and the western boundary is the limit of Cordilleran deformation (taken as the Bovie Anticline). Play areas extend south of 60°N. The Pekisko, Prophet, and Flett formations are limestones that have potential for enhanced porosity through local dolomitization. Mattson Formation sandstone is porous but thin and limited in distribution east of the Bovie Anticline, due to pre-Cretaceous uplift and erosion (MacLean, 2002). Thicker sand bodies may be locally preserved. Permian Fantasque Formation chert may be reservoir quality where sufficiently fractured; this unit also includes minor sandstone. Traps will typically be unconformity related at the eastward subcrop truncation of the units. Down-dip zones of porosity may occur in particular facies and drapes or compaction features due to underlying features (CGPC, 2001). Porosity may be developed along the sub-Cretaceous unconformity. Diagenetic porosity could be an important factor in this play. Traps may be

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enhanced by fault-associated structures. Small pre-Cretaceous structural culminations just east of the Bovie structures may provide traps. The reservoirs generally need to be dolomitized to be productive, or in the case of Fantasque Formation, fractured. The major source rock will be Lower Mississippian Exshaw Formation shale, with a possible contribution of Cretaceous Fort St. John Group shales. Seal is provided by Fort St. John Group shales, or unfractured Fantasque Formation chert or tight cherty limestones. Exshaw Formation maturity is mostly within the oil window, increasing to overmaturity near the Bovie structures (Figure14; Stasiuk and Fowler, 2002), thus oil and associated gas can be expected for this play. Potter et al. (2002) analysed potential Fantasque Formation source rocks in the Bovie Lake J-72 well and found it to be within oil window.
Play #16: Triassic subcrop

This conceptual play includes all pools and prospects in Triassic strata in the southwestern corner of the Deh Cho territory (Liard Basin). The play area is limited by subcrop limits to the north and east, as well as subcrop and outcrop limits to the west (Figure 16). The play area continues to the south and east. Lower and Middle Triassic strata in the Fort Liard area are Toad-Grayling Formation (Figure 8). Thick sections, mostly of deep water shale dominated facies, are exposed in outcrop on the Liard River. Coarser grained, more proximal sediments occur to the southeast. Potential reservoirs are thin, fine-grained sands that represent progradational pulses of shoreface sediments interbedded with distal to proximal shelf shales. Pelletier (1961) noted turbidites and sandstones in the lower Triassic Grayling Formation. Such turbidite deposits may be analogous to the clastic Montney Formation reservoir in northeastern British Columbia (e.g., North-Ring play of Bird et al., 1994). Potential trapping styles include erosional truncations at subcrop edge, structural drape over underlying Paleozoic features, facies pinchouts, or combinations thereof. Cretaceous strata form a top seal, although there is risk here because of porous basal Cretaceous sandstone. Source rocks are organic rich shales within the Toad-Grayling package, as well as Exshaw Formation and Devonian Besa River Formation. The Exshaw and Devonian shales will be overmature and therefore gas prone here. Triassic source rocks have not been widely studied in the Deh Cho territory, due to their limited distribution. Triassic plays in northeastern B.C. are gas (Bird et al., 1994).
Play #17: Bovie structure

This conceptual play includes all pools and prospects in Middle Devonian carbonate rocks in structural traps related to the Bovie fault, Bovie Lake thrust fault, and related folding (figures 2 and 34). The play area is limited on the north to about 60°30’N, although the Bovie structures probably continue beyond here. The western limit is approximately the Bovie fault, and the eastern limit is approximately the Bovie Lake thrust fault (Figure 16). The play continues south of 60°N.

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At surface, the Bovie structures are marked by a resistant ridge of Mississippian Flett Formation in a north plunging anticline, surrounded by Cretaceous strata (Douglas and Norris, 1974). Recent interpretations (MacLean and Morrow, 2001; MacLean, 2002) indicate that the structures are formed from the intersection of two compressional faults. The first is a high-angle, west directed reverse fault rooted in basement, with dominantly vertical displacement (the Bovie fault, originally interpreted as a down-to-the west normal fault bounding Liard Basin). This fault was established by the latest (post-Mississippian) pre-Cretaceous time and likely reactivated during the Cretaceous. The second fault was an eastward directed thrust fault with dominantly horizontal displacement and rooted in a near bedding-parallel detachment in underlying Banff Formation shales (the Bovie Lake thrust fault; Figure 34).

Figure 34. Cross section (based on seismic interpretation) of Bovie structural zone. Early Bovie fault (west-directed reverse fault) was cross-cut by later Bovie Lake thrust fault (eastdirected). Bovie structure play (#17) area is indicated at Nahanni Formation level (other reservoir strata are possible). The J-72 well found gas in Manetoe facies Nahanni Formation (Laramide/Manetoe play). Note additional closure west of J-72 (after MacLean, 2002). The anticline exposed at surface on the ridge is interpreted to be a block cut off from the hanging wall of the earlier Bovie fault and carried east on the later, cross-cutting Bovie Lake thrust fault (MacLean, 2002). The reinterpretation of the Bovie fault as a west directed reverse fault opens the possibility of structural traps located in the footwall of this fault. Possible Devonian reservoirs include fractured Nahanni or Slave Point formations juxtaposed against the footwall of the Bovie Fault. Rollover anticlinal traps in Middle Devonian (Manetoe dolomitized) formations were addressed in Play #1 (e.g., Bovie Lake J-72; Figure 34). Younger reservoirs are possible, particularly the Mattson Formation in footwall of the Bovie fault, west of Bovie anticline. The hydrocarbon source rocks here could be Exshaw Formation or Cretaceous shales, both of which are mature here (Figure 14; Stasiuk and Fowler, 2002). Devonian source rocks would be gas-bearing, and the Bovie Lake J-72 well is evidence of this source rock potential. As for other Laramide/Manetoe pools, the gas was cracked in the reservoir from oil that migrated into the porous dolostone in pre-Laramide time. In general, this play could be included with the Laramide plays (#1 and #2), but it is treated separately because the Bovie fault is a pre-Laramide structure, and west-directed according to

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recent interpretations. The Bovie Lake J-72 well was discussed as an example of the Laramide/Manetoe play (#1). Higher structure, with possible additional closure, exists west of this hole, under the Bovie anticline in the hanging wall of Bovie fault.
Play #18: Silurian-Ordovician platform

This conceptual play includes all pools and prospects in the Cambrian-Ordovician Franklin Mountain Formation and Ordovician-Silurian Mount Kindle Formation. These are widespread platform carbonates (dolostone and lesser limestone) separated by an unconformity. Mount Kindle Formation is overlain by the sub-Devonian unconformity (Figure 8). The play area is bounded on the west by the limit of Cordilleran deformation (and outcrop in the Mackenzie Mountains), on the east by subcrop and outcrop limits at the boundary with the Canadian Shield, and on the south by subcrop limits (Figure 32). The play extends northward through Great Bear Plain and Mackenzie Plain. The dominant lithology is dolostone, which is relatively tight. A transition from carbonates to the shales of Road River Formation and its equivalent occurs west of the Deh Cho territory in the Yukon. The vuggy, coralline Mount Kindle Formation is the more favourable reservoir, as it is generally more porous than the Franklin Mountain Formation. Meijer Drees (1975) noted porosity in several wells, many intervals of which remain untested. The basal Mount Kindle Formation in southwestern Deh Cho is a locally porous transgressive sandstone unit (Little Doctor Member sandstone; Meijer Drees, 1975). Fracturing in structured Franklin Mountain Formation would enhance both porosity and permeability. The cherty member of Franklin Mountain Formation often hosts vugs and fractures (Norford and Macqueen, 1975). Potential traps include porosity lenses, structured porous beds, and unconformity related traps (including pinchouts) beneath the sub-Devonian unconformity. Stratigraphic traps involving distributions of porous Little Doctor Member sandstone are also possible. Structural traps may develop due to salt solution and salt flowage of the underlying Saline River Formation and preDevonian faulting may result in drapes over basement highs. The seal rocks are basal Devonian Bear Rock/Chinchaga formation anhydrites. Seals are problematic where porous Bear Rock Formation breccias overlie Mount Kindle Formation. Basal Little Doctor Member sandstone may be sealed by tight Mount Kindle dolostone. Potential source rocks are the laterally equivalent Road River Formation shales in the southwest or overlying Middle Devonian and possibly Early Cretaceous shales. Paleozoic source rocks will be overmature, making this is a dry gas play. Source rocks within these formations are unlikely; Franklin Mountain Formation may not have been buried deeply enough to reach maturity before pre-Mount Kindle uplift and erosion. In the East Mackay B-45 well, near the community of Tulita (well north of the Deh Cho territory), fractured Franklin Mountain Formation hosts oil sourced from Cretaceous shales (Morrell, 1995). Most testing of the Franklin Mountain/Mount Kindle formations has been done in northern Deh Cho (Great Slave and Mackenzie Plains). A very slight oil trace was recovered from probable

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Mount Kindle Formation in Willow Lake G-32 well, and dead oil stain was noted in sample chips in the Willow Lake L-59 well. The Little Doctor Member of Mount Kindle Formation has not been evaluated to any degree, although well logs of Willow Lake O-27A mention possible clastic appearance in “Ronning Formation” (an obsolete amalgamation of the Franklin Mountain and Mount Kindle formations) over an interval that tested slightly gas cut mud. This may have been the Little Doctor Member. Great Bear Plain The Great Bear Plain (Figure 1) could host many of the same conceptual plays, outboard from Slave Point edge, as the Great Slave Plain. Throughout Great Bear Plain, Cretaceous rocks overlie mainly Middle Devonian rocks (Hare Indian Formation and lower). As with Great Slave Plain, there are few known structural elements, so most plays might be expected to be stratigraphic. In northern Deh Cho territory, Cretaceous strata are almost 600 m thick (e.g., in the Blackwater E-11 well), and a basal Cretaceous sandstone (equivalent to Martin House Formation) is locally present and represents a possible reservoir. Traps would be stratigraphic pinchouts or facies changes. This play is analogous to the basal Cretaceous clastics play (#7).
Play #19: Basal Cambrian clastics

This established play includes all pools and prospects hosted in the basal Cambrian sandstone (Mount Clark or Old Fort Island formations). The play area is determined by subcrop distribution of basal Cambrian clastic rocks, on the flanks of Bulmer Arch (Figure 2). It does not extend very far into northern Deh Cho territory, but is also present in Great Slave Plain (Figure 32). Reservoir rock is porous quartz sandstone of Mount Clark and Old Fort Island formations, deposited unconformably on Precambrian basement (Figure 35). These quartz sandstones have variable porosity, locally reduced due to silica and/or dolomite cementation (Meijer Drees, 1975). Minor glauconitic sandstones in Mount Cap Formation might be included, as Mount Cap and Mount Clark formations are locally difficult to differentiate (Meijer Drees, 1975). The proposed traps are stratigraphic and/or structural, related to the deposition and preservation of the sandstones in topographic lows on the Precambrian surface. Stratigraphic pinchouts and onlaps against basement highs, fault controlled traps, local thickening in basement downwarps, intra-formational variability of porous zones created by diagenesis (cementation), and/or facies changes are all potential trapping structures.

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Figure 35. Structure contour map on Precambrian basement. The undulose nature of the surface and dipping to the south and west is apparent. Basal Cambrian clastics developed in paleotopographic lows on this surface. Contour interval is 100 metres. The sealing rocks are shales of Mount Cap Formation or the salt, anhydrite, and shale of the unconformably overlying Saline River Formation. Fault seals are also possible. Hydrocarbon source rocks are likely to be in organic rich intervals in the Mount Cap Formation (Wielens et al., 1990). Snowdon and Williams (1986) studied possible Proterozoic source rocks. Snowdon (1990) evaluated some Proterozoic samples from well cuttings in central Deh Cho territory, but these were found to have poor source rock potential. The maturity of source rocks is such that the play would contain dry gas. The play is established in the central Mackenzie corridor, and three gas discoveries have been made in the Colville Hills area north of Great Bear Lake (CGPC, 2001). Major risks for this play would be the development and/or preservation of porosity, communication with source rocks and sufficient volume of source rocks to generate economic amounts of gas.

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Mackenzie Mountains The Mackenzie Mountains (Figure 1) are generally not prospective for hydrocarbons, as is the case for most mountain belts. Periods of uplift and erosion have likely breached or stripped off any potential reservoir units. Most potential reservoir rocks evaluated in the Interior Platform are exposed at surface or in shallow subcrop in the Mackenzie Mountains. In addition, the deep burial and high heat flow associated with orogeny has in many cases resulted in metamorphic conditions whereby hydrocarbons are destroyed. However, one possible trapping mechanism may occur where reservoir rocks are preserved beneath overriding older rocks transported on large-scale thrust faults.
Play #20: Plateau Overthrust

This conceptual play includes all pools and prospects in Paleozoic carbonates that have been overthrust by Proterozoic sediments in the Mackenzie Mountains. The area of this play in the Deh Cho territory is rather limited (Figure 32). To the northwest, the Plateau thrust fault carries Proterozoic rocks over younger rocks as much as 35 km in the Redstone River-Twitya River areas (Cecile et al., 1982). This play is not as well developed in the Deh Cho, as the Plateau thrust fault does not continue southward for any great distance. An unnamed thrust fault lying east of Plateau Thrust does place Proterozoic over Paleozoic rocks (Gordey, 1981). There is also overthrust potential at Cap Mountain (Figure 1), but this is a very small area. The traps would be structural in nature, both as fold closures and fault bounded traps. Fracturing associated with folding and faulting may enhance porosity and permeability, particularly in Paleozoic carbonate rocks. The potential source rocks are likely to be mature to overmature, thus generating dry gas in this play. This play rounds out those that factor into the hydrocarbon potential mapping in this study; the remaining sections in this chapter describe the geological conditions in the northern and western portions of the Deh Cho territory, as they pertain to possible minor hydrocarbon development. Mackenzie Plain Many of the conceptual plays discussed in the Great Slave Plain section are possible in the Mackenzie Plain. But because the Mackenzie Plain has been affected by compressional Laramide tectonics (as with plays #1 and #2), a structural component is important in forming traps. The overall structural setting of Mackenzie Plain (Figure 1) is a broad syncline expressed by Paleozoic strata. North trending, en echelon folds have been mapped within the plain, and blind structures are likely to occur. The Camsell Range extends through Mackenzie Plain, and associated structures are likely present in subsurface, and may affect favourable reservoir units such as Middle Devonian carbonates (including dolomitized Manetoe facies). The focus of exploration here has been north of the Deh Cho territory, in the vicinity of Norman Wells. The Kee Scarp reef facies of the Middle Devonian Ramparts Formation (Slave Point
Evaluation of Oil and Gas Potential in the Deh Cho Territory 67

Formation equivalent) forms a stratigraphic trap that is Canada’s fourth largest oil field (Brackman, 2001), having a cumulative production of 33.5x106m3 (210.7 million barrels) to the end of 2002 (INAC, 2003). However, in the northern Deh Cho, the Slave Point Formation equivalent strata are the basinal shales of the Horn River and Hare Indian formations. Bluefish Member and Canol Formation are overmature and therefore dry gas prone in the Root Basin. Oil generation occurred in a high geothermal gradient regime wherein the oil window was compressed vertically, and was relatively shallow. Hence there is a high risk that any resulting oil has been cracked to gas and/or lost during subsequent erosion, uplift, and tectonic deformation. The maturation of the Devonian section pre-dates sub-Cretaceous erosion, therefore any oil or gas accumulations were likely destroyed or escaped during CretaceousTertiary deformation and erosion. The most likely areas for preservation are on basin margins and the surrounding highs. The Cretaceous section is low to moderately mature with respect to oil generation. The time of maximum maturation was relatively recent (post-Paleocene), but pre-dated the major phase of Laramide deformation and erosion. In comparison with the Devonian formations of the Root Basin, there is a higher probability for the preservation of hydrocarbons from either Devonian or Cretaceous source rocks in the northern part of the study area due to a more moderate thermal maturity and fewer areas of deformation. Franklin Mountains The Franklin Mountains are a narrow, north trending mountain belt in northern Deh Cho territory (Figure 1) that represent the easternmost influence of Cordilleran orogeny. The types of plays possible are comparable to those in the Mackenzie Mountains. Similarly, the general lack of prospectivity is due to exposure of reservoirs to erosion and subsequent breaching of traps. Rocks as old as Proterozoic are exposed at Cap Mountain and northwest of Blackwater Lake (Figure 1). The Willow Ridge Anticline lies just east of the Cap Fault, the main thrust fault at the front of Franklin Mountains (Douglas and Norris, 1973). The structure exposes Lonely Bay Formation strata north of Willowlake River in a north plunging fold that continues in the subsurface below Cretaceous cover (Figure 10). This structure and similar features might provide trapping mechanisms adjacent to the Franklin Mountains. Law (1971) considered that an area extending up to 20 km eastward from the mountain front could still host subsurface Laramide structures. This area has been only lightly explored by drilling and seismic surveying. Selwyn Fold Belt The Selwyn Fold Belt (Figure 1) in northwestern Deh Cho is an area of low petroleum potential for two reasons. Firstly, most of the potential reservoirs are at outcrop or shallow subcrop level, and are hence likely to have been breached. Secondly, the fold belt encompasses mainly Paleozoic rocks deposited into the deeper parts of the basin (basinward of regional carbonate to shale facies transitions), and are hence dominated by shales, not reservoir rocks. There are

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igneous, plutonic intrusions near the Yukon border, but these obviously represent areas of very low potential. PETROLEUM POTENTIAL EVALUATION Methodology A knowledge-based, qualitative approach was taken in this study to estimate the petroleum potential of the Deh Cho territory. This allowed for the inclusion of many different types of geological data. The foundation of the process is a thorough review and compilation of all available, relevant information.
Sources of Information

Some major sources of information for this study include: open file reports, bulletins, maps, memoirs and papers published by the Geological Survey of Canada (GSC) and the C.S. Lord Northern Geoscience Centre; well history reports, wireline well log results, and geological/seismic program reports available from the National Energy Board’s (NEB) Frontier Information Office; geological journals and books; petroleum industry data; corporate literature; and annual reports and information released by government regulatory agencies (Northern Oil and Gas Directorate of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada and NEB). At the time of this writing, a total of 443 petroleum exploration and development wells had been drilled in the Deh Cho territory. These wells represent valuable sources of subsurface data. The NEB’s Frontier Information Office receives well reports for each well drilled in Deh Cho, as well as geological and geophysical reports, that are open to the public after a period of confidentiality. Seismic survey data are also publicly released by the NEB after a period. Many older (vintage) seismic surveys are not available, although the summary reports from such work are publicly disclosed. Drill cutting samples and cored intervals for NWT wells are held at the GSC’s core research facility in Calgary. These are available to view and study on site.
Definitions

Some concepts and definitions relevant to this evaluation of petroleum potential are outlined below (definitions after Reinson et al., 1993, unless otherwise noted). The concept of a petroleum play is vital to this assessment. A play is defined as a family of pools and/or prospects (definitions below) that share common geological characteristics and history of hydrocarbon generation, migration, reservoir development, and trap configuration. The play can, in most cases, be described as a mappable entity, and hence lends itself well to Geographic Information System (GIS) compatible analyses. It will have boundaries in space that
Evaluation of Oil and Gas Potential in the Deh Cho Territory 69

can be described and mapped. The horizontal boundaries are often coincident with stratigraphic boundaries. A prospect is defined as an untested exploration target within a single stratigraphic interval; it may or may not contain hydrocarbons. A pool is a discovered accumulation of hydrocarbons, typically within a single stratigraphic interval, that is hydrodynamically separate from another hydrocarbon accumulation. A field is an area that produces hydrocarbons without stratigraphic interval restrictions, and may contain any number of pools. Plays can be further described as established or conceptual. Established plays are demonstrated to exist by virtue of discovered pools with established reserves. These may be mature or immature, based on the number of discovered pools, and the applicability of this population for statistical analysis. An immature play is one which does not contain enough pools to permit statistical treatment. Mature and immature plays are not differentiated in our study because we are not using statistical analysis or probabilistic methods. Conceptual plays do not yet have any associated discoveries, but geological analyses indicate the possibility of their existence. The term resource is synonymous with resource endowment, and includes all petroleum accumulations known or inferred to exist. Reserves are that portion of the resource that has been discovered (Podruski et al., 1988).
Petroleum Potential Ranking

Following a thorough literature and data review, an evaluation of the petroleum potential of the Deh Cho territory was undertaken. The potential is assessed by applying the knowledge and expertise of the appraisal team to the data in hand. A group of 20 plays were developed. Nine of these are established, 11 conceptual. The specific characteristics and defining features of these plays were determined (and discussed in the previous chapter) to outline the spatial extent of each play, thereby creating play polygons (e.g., Reinson et al., 1993). Play polygons will often overlap because individual plays are often restricted to particular stratigraphic units that are stacked one on top of the other in the sedimentary rock succession. Other geological features, which might be incorporated into the play polygon boundaries, are faults and other structural features, stratigraphic facies boundaries, and paleogeographic features. The overlap and intersection of play polygons were then used to create smaller polygons, each of which might comprise a number of plays. The number of plays and the play type in a given polygon area is at the core of the assessment methodology. Simply put, if all other factors are equal, an area with three possible plays has more potential than an area with only one possible play. However, established plays are given a higher ranking than conceptual plays. Our assessment criteria partly follow those of the Mineral and Energy Resource Assessment (MERA) process used by the GSC (Scoates et al., 1986). These criteria are based upon the overall geological favourability for oil and/or natural gas, the occurrence and number of known
Evaluation of Oil and Gas Potential in the Deh Cho Territory 70

established and conceptual hydrocarbon plays, indications of hydrocarbons (shows), and known accumulations. The presence of mapped structural closures, stratigraphic wedge pinchouts, and other trapping features are accounted for, as is the probability of such features. Based on these criteria, an assignment of very high potential (Rank A) to very low (Rank G) was made. The hydrocarbon potential evaluation system used in this report is summarized in Table 3. In addition to a ranking of potential, a second ranking was assigned, based on a confidence factor. This confidence is a function of the amount and quality of information used in the first ranking. It is a qualitative judgment ranging from abundant reliable information (Rank 1) to very little and/or unreliable information (Rank 4). This confidence level also comes from the establishment of known occurrences; since exploration drilling, testing, and ultimately production are all accompanied by an increased confidence of information concerning a given pool or field, and by extension, a play. The result is the placement of an area into the matrix with axes of increasing geological potential and increasing confidence. For clarity, these rankings are colour coded for map presentations. Certain ranking codes are unlikely to be used. For example, a very high potential ranking (e.g., Rank A) with a low confidence ranking (e.g., Rank 4) is rarely, if ever, plausible. Such an area of significant known hydrocarbons would, by default, have more than a little information available, even if resource and individual well data were still confidential. Certain areas that cannot be assessed for various reasons were given a special ranking (Rank H). Our assessment gives equal weighting to oil and gas. However, the Deh Cho territory is currently a gas producer. The current and proposed infrastructure supports gas production, thus favouring it from an economic standpoint.

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CONFIDENCE RANKING
Significant hydrocarbon accumulations are known Rank 1: Significant reliable information Known hydrocarbon occurrences Rank 2: Moderate amount of information Indications of hydrocarbons may or may not be known

Rank 3: Some information

POTENTIAL RANKING
Rank A - Very High: Geological environment is favourable for oil and/or gas. At least two plays are established, with closures identified and mapped. Rank B - High: Geological environment is favourable for oil and/or gas. Multiple plays (at least three) with closures identified and mapped. At least one play is established. Rank C - Moderate to High: Geological environment is favourable for oil and/or gas. At least three plays. Closures identified and mapped for at least one play. Rank D - Moderate: Geological environment is favourable for oil and/or gas. At least two plays. High probability of blind structural/stratigraphic closures. Rank E - Low to Moderate: Geological environment is favourable for oil and/or gas. At least one conceptual play. High probability of blind structural/stratigraphic closures. Rank F - Low: Geological environment is favourable for gas. Significant probability of blind structural/stratigraphic closures. Rank G - Very Low: Unfavourable geological conditions. Rank H - Not Assessed

Rank 4: Very little and/or unreliable information

A1

A2

A3

B1

B2

B3

B4

C1

C2

C3

C4

D1

D2

D3

D4

E1 F1 G1

E2 F2 G2

E3 F3 G3 H3

E4 F4

H4

Table 3. Hydrocarbon potential evaluation system used in this study.

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Previous Petroleum Potential Assessments Several methods exist for qualitatively and quantitatively evaluating the petroleum potential of a given region. In general, quantitative assessments rely on statistical methods, but still require imposition of technical judgments which introduce subjectivity. There have been three published studies of hydrocarbon resource assessments for parts of the Deh Cho territory: 1. The GSC conducted an assessment of Devonian age gas resources of the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin (Reinson et al., 1993). Some of the plays described in that study occur within southern Deh Cho territory, up to about 61oN. For established plays, Reinson et al. (1993) used a mathematical discovery process model (the PETRIMES petroleum exploration and resource evaluation system; Lee and Wang, 1990; Lee and Tzeng, 1993) to estimate the resource endowment. The underlying assumption of this model is that discoveries made in the course of exploration represent a biased sample of the underlying pool population for that play. The bias is that the larger prospects tend to be tested first, and this results in the largest pools being discovered early in a play’s exploration history. In most cases, the distribution of pool sizes in a play is log normal. PETRIMES uses discovered pool sizes and pool discovery dates to quantitatively estimate play potential, and the individual pool sizes in that play. The summation of these pool sizes gives an estimate of the overall resource for that play. This model was adapted to estimate the potential of conceptual plays, by combining all the data for mature plays within the basin into a single population, which was then used to model the number of conceptual plays and their size. The details of the assessment procedure are outlined in Reinson et al. (1993) and references therein. 2. The NEB completed a natural gas resource assessment within the area bounded by 114oW, 125oW, 59oN and 63oN, which includes southern Deh Cho territory (NEB, 1996). The NEB study defined ten established plays and 13 immature (less than six discoveries) or conceptual plays. A systematic statistical analysis of the undiscovered resource base was undertaken utilizing the methodologies developed by the GSC (e.g., Lee and Wang, 1990; Reinson et al., 1993) and by the NEB (NEB, 1994). The NEB analysis method (@RISK) produces an estimate of the total remaining undiscovered resource (NEB, 1994). We have used the NEB (1996) estimates for the undiscovered marketable gas potential in a given play in Table 4. We regrouped the NEB (1996) plays as necessary to match with our plays. For some of our conceptual plays, there is no information. The NEB (1996) estimates are also based on play areas that extend beyond Deh Cho, and we have assigned the percentage of undiscovered marketable gas potential based on the area of the play within the Deh Cho territory. This approach may not be entirely realistic, given the generally decreasing confidence as one moves from more heavily explored areas of Alberta and northeastern British Columbia, into more lightly explored areas north of 60°N. The estimates quoted below can probably be considered conservative, as they

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represent the minimum amount at a 95% confidence level. We feel that such estimates have some value, although we make no representations as to their veracity or accuracy. The reader is referred to the original work (NEB, 1996) for the data and discussions of methodologies used. The table figures indicate that the best potential for further discovery is in southern Deh Cho territory, especially the Liard area west of Bovie Fault, and south of the Slave Point edge east of Bovie Fault. The Arnica/Landry platform (Play #12) estimate seems high, given that it is a conceptual play and has not been well explored. This value is probably due to its substantial spatial extent and thickness, which result in a high rock volume for these platformal units. Play # 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 12 13 14 15 Play name Laramide/Manetoe Laramide/Windflower Slave Point edge Slave Point back barrier/northeast fault structures Sulphur Point/Bistcho Lonely Bay platform isolated reefs/Horn Plateau Basal Cretaceous clastics Jean Marie Member Keg River/Cordova Embayment Pre-Devonian basal clastics (La Loche) Arnica/Landry platform Lonely Bay/Nahanni platform Kakisa/Redknife platform Upper Paleozoic (sub-Cretaceous) subcrop Undiscovered marketable gas potential in the Deh Cho territory (x106m3; minimum value at 95% confidence level) 15,003.08 3,263.39 6,978.89 7,959.88 3,503.04 2,333.09 1,745.00 4,306.42 543.05 2,441.59 9,073.74 4,390.84 526.90 196.60

62,265.51 (2,198 Bcf) SUM Table 4. Undiscovered marketable gas potential for established and conceptual plays in the Deh Cho territory from NEB (1996) data. The estimates are a minimum value at 95% confidence, and thus can be considered conservative. No data for play #11or #16-20. 3. The Canadian Gas Potential Committee (CGPC) produced a Canada-wide quantitative natural gas resource assessment (CGPC, 2001). The Deh Cho territory was included in their Western Canada Sedimentary Basin and Mackenzie Corridor assessment regions. The CGPC used three assessment methodologies, depending on whether plays were established (mature and immature) or conceptual, to make estimates of undiscovered gas potential (gas in place). The GSC’s PETRIMES (and modified versions thereof), ArpsRoberts equation and Delphi methods were all used (CGPC, 2001). The first two are statistical methods, the Delphi method is a consensus estimate made by a group of experts who may use subjective methods. Details of these methodologies are reviewed in CGPC (2001). Again, the CGPC plays were correlated with our plays (where feasible).

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Other resource estimates that apply, to lesser extents, to the Deh Cho territory are Podruski et al. (1988) and Bird et al. (1994). Discussion of Results This study has ranked the areas formed by intersections and overlaps of individual play polygons according to the criteria outlined in Table 3. Figure 36 shows the play polygons ranked from low to very high potential. Figure 37 is a similar map of petroleum potential with the additional ranking of confidence based on the known occurrences of hydrocarbons, and the authors’ judgments of quality and quantity of information, as discussed above. Figure 38 is a composite map of the potential ranking fit to a 10 km x 10 km grid using a maximum value algorithm. The areas of low potential are the mountainous regions of Franklin Mountains, Mackenzie Mountains and Selwyn Fold Belt. Very low potential can be expected in the areas of Selwyn Fold Belt with plutonic intrusions. The areas of very high petroleum potential occur in southern Deh Cho, mainly between 60°N and 61°N. These areas correspond fairly well to the Middle Devonian carbonate barrier (Slave Point edge and back barrier), and to the areas influenced by Laramide tectonics in the Fort Liard region of southwestern Deh Cho. This is not surprising given the importance and extent of the established plays #1 to #4. The regions with the greatest number of overlapping established and conceptual plays lie in the Cameron Hills south and southwest of Tathlina Lake, the Trout Lake area, and the east margin of Cordova Embayment at about 120°30’W. As a further illustration of the exploration potential of southern Deh Cho territory, there are over 400 wells in the Deh Cho territory, but in an area of neighbouring Alberta from 57°N to the 60th parallel, there are approximately 50,000 wells - yet the geology is very similar. North of Slave Point edge, there is high to moderate potential. This is mainly because the Middle Devonian rocks north of Slave Point edge are dominantly shales. The Horn Plateau pinnacle reefs in this area have thus far proved only moderately successful as exploration targets. Devonian and older Paleozoic platform carbonates represent the best targets here, but have been only lightly explored. Further north in Great Slave, Great Bear, and Mackenzie plains; the lower Devonian and Siluro-Ordovician platforms and basal Cretaceous rocks are additional potential reservoirs. The Great Bear and Mackenzie plains in the Deh Cho territory have seen very little exploration. The combination of Foothills style, Laramide structural features, widespread dolomitization of carbonates (Manetoe and Presqu’ile facies), a major carbonate reefal barrier with its component lithologies and facies, and significant reactivated basement structures has provided southern Deh Cho with a varied and highly prospective suite of possible and proven trapping mechanisms and styles. This, combined with favourable maturation of the most prolific source rocks, has created an environment suitable for the generation and trapping of significant natural gas, and to a lesser degree oil, resources in the Deh Cho territory.

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64N

Deh Cho territory

Potential ranking

63N

Very High High Moderate to High Moderate Low to Moderate Low

62N

61N

50

0

km

50

100
116W

124W

Figure 36. Hydrocarbon potential ranking map.

122W

120W

118W

60N

126W

64N

Deh Cho territory
Potential and confidence ranking

63N

A1 A2 A3 B1 B2 C2 C3 D1 D2 D3 E2 E3 F2 F3

Refer to Table 3 for explanation of ranking.

62N

61N

50
60N

0

km

50
126W

100
124W 118W 116W

Figure 37. Hydrocarbon potential and confidence ranking map.

122W

120W

Deh Cho territory

Potential ranking

Very High High Moderate to High Moderate Low to Moderate Low

50

0

km

50

100

Figure 38. Hydrocarbon potential composite map (10 km x 10 km grid).

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The authors thank Bernie MacLean and Ed Janicki of the C.S. Lord Northern Geoscience Centre’s petroleum geoscience group and Alan Udell of Victory Point F/X for their valuable contributions to this project. Special thanks to Dr. Dave Morrow of the Geological Survey of Canada-Calgary for a thorough and thoughtful review of the manuscript. CITED REFERENCES Aitken, J.D., 1993. Cambrian and Lower Ordovician - Sauk Sequence; Subchapter 4B; in Sedimentary Cover of the Craton in Canada; edited by D.F. Stott and J.D. Aitken; Geological Survey of Canada, Geology of Canada, no.5, p.96-124. Balkwill, H.R., 1971. Reconnaissance Geology, southern Great Bear Plains, District of Mackenzie; Geological Survey of Canada, Paper 71-11. Bird, T.D., Barclay, J.E., Campbell, R.I. and Lee, P.J., 1994. Triassic Gas Resources of the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin, Interior Plains. Part I: Geological Play Analysis and Resource Assessment; Geological Survey of Canada, Bulletin 483. Burwash, R.A., McGregor, C.R. and Wilson, J.A., 1994. Precambrian basement beneath the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin; in Geological Atlas of the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin; compiled by G. Mossop and I. Shetsen; Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists and Alberta Research Council, 510p. Brackman, C., 2001. The Northwest Territories Petroleum Industry. Northwest Territories Department of Resources, Wildlife and Economic Development, Internal Report. Canadian Gas Potential Committee, 2001. Natural Gas Potential in Canada, 2001. Cecile, M.P., Cook, D.G. and Snowdon, L.R., 1982. Plateau Overthrust and its Hydrocarbon Potential, Mackenzie Mountains, Northwest Territories; in Current Research, Part A, Geological Survey of Canada, Paper 82-1A, p.89-94. Cecile, M.P. and Norford, B. S., 1993. Ordovician and Silurian; Subchapter 4C; in Sedimentary Cover of the Craton in Canada; edited by D.F. Stott and J.D. Aitken; Geological Survey of Canada, Geology of Canada, no.5, p.125-149. Davenport, P.H., 2001. Exploration areas of the NWT, Yukon and Nunavut; ESRI ArcView® GIS shapefiles; Geological Survey of Canada, Calgary. Dixon, J., 1999. Mesozoic-Cenozoic stratigraphy of the northern Interior Plains and Plateaux, Northwest Territories; Geological Survey of Canada, Bulletin 536.

Evaluation of Oil and Gas Potential in the Deh Cho Territory

79

Dixon, J. and Stasiuk, L.D., 1998. Stratigraphy and Hydrocarbon Potential of Cambrian Strata, northern Interior Plains, Northwest Territories; Bulletin of Canadian Petroleum Geology, v.46, no.3, p.445-470. Douglas, R.J.W. and Norris, D.K., 1973. Wrigley; Geological Survey of Canada, Map 1373A, 1:250,000. Douglas, R.J.W. and Norris, D.K., 1974. Fort Liard; Geological Survey of Canada, Map 1379A, 1:250,000. Feinstein, S., Brooks, P.W., Gentzis, T., Goodarzi, F., Snowdon, L.R. and Williams, G.K. 1988. Thermal Maturity in the Mackenzie Corridor, Northwest and Yukon Territories, Canada. Geological Survey of Canada, Open File 1944. Gordey, S.P., 1981. Structure section across south central Mackenzie Mountains; Geological Survey of Canada, Open File 809. Henderson, C.M., Bamber, E.W., Richards, B.C., Higgins, A.C. and McGugan, A., 1993. Permian; Subchapter 4F; in Sedimentary Cover of the Craton in Canada; edited by D.F. Stott and J.D. Aitken; Geological Survey of Canada, Geology of Canada, no.5, p.272-293. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, 2002. Northern Oil and Gas Annual Report 2001. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, 2003. Northern Oil and Gas Annual Report 2002. Janicki, E.P., 2003. Hydrocarbon pools of the southeastern Great Slave Plain, Northwest Territories; C.S. Lord Northern Geoscience Centre, NWT Open File 2003-05. Janicki, E.P., in preparation a. Distribution of Presqu’ile Dolomite in the Great Slave Plain; C.S. Lord Northern Geoscience Centre. Janicki, E.P., in preparation b. Hydrocarbon potential of the basal clastics of the Great Slave Plain; C.S. Lord Northern Geoscience Centre. Jones, A.L., 2002. NWT Oil and Gas Poster Set: Petroleum Resources - 1 of 3; Table of Formations - 2 of 3; Schematic Cross Sections - 3 of 3 (Jones, A.L. and Janicki, E.P.); C.S. Lord Northern Geoscience Centre, NWT Open File 2002-05. Law, J., 1971. Regional Devonian Geology and Oil and Gas Possibilities, Upper Mackenzie River Area; Bulletin of Canadian Petroleum Geology, v.19, no.2, p.437-486. Leckie D.A., Potocki, D.J. and Visser, K., 1991. The Lower Cretaceous Chinkeh Formation: A Frontier-Type Play in the Liard Basin of Western Canada; The American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin, v.75, no.8, p.1324-1352.

Evaluation of Oil and Gas Potential in the Deh Cho Territory

80

Lee, P.J. and Wang, P.C.C., 1990. An introduction to petroleum resource evaluation methods; Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists, Short Course Notes, 1990 CSPG Convention on Basin Perspectives, 108p. Lee, P.J. and Tzeng, P., 1993. The petroleum exploration and resource evaluation system (PETRIMES). Working reference guide, Version 3.0 (PC version); Geological Survey of Canada, Open File 2703. MacLean, B.C., 2002. Bovie Structure: A decapitated thrust?; Geological Survey of Canada, Open File 4274. MacLean, B.C. and Morrow, D.W., 2001. Regional subsurface structure maps and seismic sections, Fort Liard and Trout Lake region, southern Northwest Territories; Geological Survey of Canada, Open File 3818. MacLean, B.C. and Cook, D.G., 2000. Salt tectonism in the Fort Norman area, Northwest Territories, Canada; Geological Survey of Canada, Open File 3857. Meding, M.G., 1994. Analysis of selected Northwest Territories hydrocarbon pool data. Report for Government of the Northwest Territories, Department of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources. Meijer Drees, N.C., 1974. Geology of the “Bulmer Lake High”, a gravity feature in the southern Great Bear Plain, District of Mackenzie, Northwest Territories; in Current Research, part B, Geological Survey of Canada, Paper 74-1, p.274. Meijer Drees, N.C., 1975. Geology of the Lower Paleozoic Formations in the Subsurface of the Fort Simpson Area, District of Mackenzie, N.W.T.; Geological Survey of Canada, Paper 74-40. Meijer Drees, N.C., 1993. The Devonian Succession in the subsurface of the Great Slave and Great Bear Plains, Northwest Territories; Geological Survey of Canada, Bulletin 393. Moore, P.F., 1993. Devonian; Subchapter 4D; in Sedimentary Cover of the Craton in Canada; edited by D.F. Stott and J.D. Aitken; Geological Survey of Canada, Geology of Canada, no.5, p.150-201. Morrell, G.R. (editor), 1995. Petroleum Exploration in Northern Canada: A Guide to Oil and Gas Exploration and Potential; Northern Oil and Gas Directorate, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, 110p. Morrow, D.W. and Cook, D.G., 1987. The Prairie Creek Embayment and Lower Paleozoic strata of the southern Mackenzie Mountains; Geological Survey of Canada, Memoir 412. Morrow, D.W. and Geldsetzer, H.H.J., 1988. Devonian of the eastern Canadian Cordillera; in Devonian of the World, Vol. 1: Regional syntheses; edited by N.J. McMillan, A.F. Embry and D.J. Glass; Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists.

Evaluation of Oil and Gas Potential in the Deh Cho Territory

81

Morrow, D.W. and Aulstead, K.L., 1995. The Manetoe Dolomite - a Cretaceous-Tertiary or a Paleozoic event? Fluid inclusion and isotopic evidence; Bulletin of Canadian Petroleum Geology, v.43, no.3, p.267-280. Morrow, D.W. and Bird, T.D., 1995. Deep gas reservoirs of the Manetoe Dolostone: Insights from Outcrop; in Proceedings of the Oil and Gas Forum ’95 – Energy From Sediments; edited by J.S. Bell, T.D. Bird, T.L. Hillier and P.L. Greener; Geological Survey of Canada, Open File 3058, p.229-232. Morrow, D.W. and MacLean, B.C., 2000. Regional interpretations of public domain seismic in the Liard region north of 60°: pre-Phanerozoic structural events, Phanerozoic stratigraphy and Laramide deformation; Geological Survey of Canada, Open File 3852. Morrow, D.W., Cumming, G.L. and Aulstead, K.L., 1990. The Gas-bearing Devonian Manetoe Facies, Yukon and Northwest Territories; Geological Survey of Canada, Bulletin 400. Morrow, D.W., Potter, J., Richards, B.C. and Goodarzi, F., 1993. Paleozoic burial and organic maturation in the Liard Basin region, northern Canada; Bulletin of Canadian Petroleum Geology, v.41, no.1, p.17-31. Morrow, D.W., Stasiuk, L.D. and Zhao, M., 2001. Dolomitization and burial diagenesis of Devonian Slave Point and Keg River formations in the Cordova Embayment region of northeast British Columbia, Canada; in CSPG Annual Convention 2001 Abstracts Volume, p.228-232. Morrow, D.W., MacLean, B.C., Tzeng, P. and Pana, D., 2002. Subsurface Paleozoic structure and isopach maps and selected seismic lines in southern Northwest Territories and northern Alberta: implications for mineral and petroleum potential; Geological Survey of Canada, Open File 4366. Mossop, G. and Shetsen, I. (compilers), 1994. Geological Atlas of the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin; Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists and Alberta Research Council, Calgary, 510p. National Energy Board, 1994. Natural Gas Resource Assessment, Northeast British Columbia; National Energy Board Working Document. National Energy Board, 1996. A Natural Gas Resource Assessment of Southeast Yukon and Northwest Territories, Canada; Report by National Energy Board, June 1996, 140p. National Energy Board, 2003. Monthly Production Statistics from the Frontier Information Office; National Energy Board. Norford, B.S. and Macqueen, R.W., 1975. Lower Paleozoic Franklin Mountain and Mount Kindle Formations, District of Mackenzie: Their type sections and regional development; Geological Survey of Canada, Paper 74-34.

Evaluation of Oil and Gas Potential in the Deh Cho Territory

82

Norris, A.W., 1965. Stratigraphy of Middle Devonian and older Paleozoic rocks of the Great Slave region, Northwest Territories; Geological Survey of Canada, Memoir 322, 180p. Northcor Energy Ltd., 1983. NEB Frontier Released Information Report #9229-N010-002E. Northcor Energy Ltd., 1984a. NEB Frontier Released Information Report #9229-N010-009E. Northcor Energy Ltd., 1984b. NEB Frontier Released Information Report #9229-N010-010E. Osadetz, K.G., Lee, P.K., Hannigan, P.K. and Olsen-Heise, K.D., 1995. Natural Gas Resources of the Foreland Belt of the Cordilleran Orogen in Canada; in Proceedings of the Oil and Gas Forum ’95 – Energy From Sediments; edited by J.S. Bell, T.D. Bird, T.L. Hillier and P.L. Greener; Geological Survey of Canada, Open File 3058, p.345-348. Pan Canadian Energy, 1969. NEB Frontier Released Information Report #651-06-04-69-0001. Pelletier, B.R., 1961. Triassic Stratigraphy of the Rocky Mountains and Foothills northeastern British Columbia, 94K and N (parts of); Geological Survey of Canada, Paper 61-8. Petro Canada, 1985a. NEB Frontier Released Information Report #9229-P028-009E. Petro Canada, 1985b. NEB Frontier Released Information Report #9229-P028-008E. Petro Canada, 1985c. NEB Frontier Released Information Report #9229-P028-006E. Podruski, J.A., Barclay, J.E., Hamblin, A.P., Lee, P.J., Osadetz, K.G., Proctor, R.M. and Taylor, G.C., 1988. Conventional Oil Resources of Western Canada (Light and Medium). Part I: Resource Endowment; Geological Survey of Canada, Paper 87-26. Potter, J., Goodarzi, F., Morrow, D.W., Richards, B.C. and Snowdon, L.R., 2000. Organic Petrology, Thermal Maturity, and Rock-Eval/TOC data for Upper Paleozoic Strata from selected wells between 60°N and 61°N and 122°W and 123°30’SW, District of Mackenzie; Geological Survey of Canada, Open File 3925. Poulton, T.P., Braun, W.K., Brooke, M.M. and Davies, E.H., 1993. Jurassic; Subchapter 4H; in Sedimentary Cover of the Craton in Canada; edited by D.F. Stott and J.D. Aitken; Geological Survey of Canada, Geology of Canada, no.5, p.321-357. Reinson, G.E., Lee, P.J., Warters, W., Osadetz, K.G., Bell, L.L., Price, P.R., Trollope, F., Campbell, R.I. and Barclay, J.E., 1993. Devonian Gas Resources of the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin. Part I: Geological Play Analysis and Resource Assessment; Geological Survey of Canada, Bulletin 452. Richards, B.C., 1989. Uppermost Devonian and Lower Carboniferous Stratigraphy, Sedimentation, and Diagenesis, Southwestern District of Mackenzie and Southeastern Yukon Territory; Geological Survey of Canada, Bulletin 390.

Evaluation of Oil and Gas Potential in the Deh Cho Territory

83

Scoates, R.F.J., Jefferson, C.W. and Findlay, D.C., 1986. Northern Canada mineral resource assessment; in Prospects for Mineral Resource Assessment on Public Lands: Proceedings of the Leesburg Workshop; edited by S.M. Cargill and S.B. Green; U.S. Geological Survey, Circular 908, p.111-139. Shell Canada Resources Ltd., 1987. NEB Frontier Released Information Report #9229-S006003E. Snowdon, L.R., 1990. Rock-Eval/TOC data for 55 Northwest and Yukon Territories Wells (60°-69° N); Geological Survey of Canada, Open File 2327. Snowdon, L.R. and Williams, G.K., 1986. Thermal maturation and petroleum source potential of some Cambrian and Proterozoic rocks in the Mackenzie Corridor; Geological Survey of Canada, Open File 1367. Stasiuk, L.D. and Fowler, M.G., 2002. Thermal maturity evaluation (vitrinite and vitrinite reflectance equivalent) of Middle Devonian, Upper Devonian and Mississippian strata in the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin; Geological Survey of Canada, Open File 4341. Stott, D.F. and Aitken, J.D., 1993. Introduction to Interior Platform, Western Basins, and Eastern Cordillera; Subchapter 2A; in Sedimentary Cover of the Craton in Canada; edited by D.F. Stott and J.D. Aitken; Geological Survey of Canada, Geology of Canada, no.5, p.11-13. Stott, D.F. and Klassen, R.W., 1993. Geomorphic divisions; Subchapter 2C; in Sedimentary Cover of the Craton in Canada; edited by D.F. Stott and J.D. Aitken; Geological Survey of Canada, Geology of Canada, no.5, p.31-44. Vopni, L.K. and Lerbekmo, J.F., 1972. The Horn Plateau Formation: A Middle Devonian Coral Reef, N.W.T., Canada; Bulletin of Canadian Petroleum Geologists, v.20, no.3, p.498. Wielens, J.B.W., von der Dick, H., Fowler, M.G., Brooks, P.W. and Monnier, F., 1990. Geochemical Comparison of a Cambrian Alginite Potential Source Rock, and Hydrocarbon from the Colville/Tweed Lake area, Northwest Territories; Bulletin of Canadian Petroleum Geology, v.38, p.236-245. Williams, G.K., 1977. The Celibeta structure compared with other basement structures on the flanks of the Tathlina High; in Current Research, part B, Geological Survey of Canada, Paper 771B, p.301-310. Williams, G.K., 1981. Middle Devonian carbonate barrier complex of western Canada; Geological Survey of Canada, Open File 761. Williams, G.K., 1986. Middle Devonian facies belts, Mackenzie Corridor; Geological Survey of Canada, Open File 1353.

Evaluation of Oil and Gas Potential in the Deh Cho Territory

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APPENDICES Appendix A The National Energy Board’s (NEB) Frontier Lands Grid System is provided below; this is the method by which oil and gas wells are located and named in the NWT. More information on the NEB’s Frontier Information Office can be found at www.neb-one.gc.ca/energy/frontier_e.pdf. Production data from all producing fields in the NWT are distributed monthly via email. To receive these updates, contact: Richard C. Turner, NEB Operations Inspector 444 7th Avenue SW, Calgary, AB T2P OX8 rturner@neb-one.gc.ca Tel (403) 299-3868 Fax (403) 292-5876 Weekly frontier activity (drilling and seismic operations) reports area posted at www.nebone.gc.ca/stats/frontier/index_e.htm.

Evaluation of Oil and Gas Potential in the Deh Cho Territory

85

Appendix B A map of locations for oil and gas wells in the Deh Cho territory can be found attached at the end of this report. Appendix C Maps of oil and gas rights in the Deh Cho area are found here; these maps, as well as other digital information, are available for download from the INAC Northern Oil and Gas Directorate’s web page at www.ainc-inac.gc.ca/oil/act/index_e.html.

Evaluation of Oil and Gas Potential in the Deh Cho Territory

86

Appendix D For those readers new to petroleum geology, a summary of basic concepts is provided below.
Petroleum Geology Fundamentals

Petroleum, in its general usage, includes all naturally occurring hydrocarbons. In this report, we are concerned with conventional hydrocarbons (i.e., oil and natural gas). Many factors determine whether petroleum will occur in a subsurface deposit (or “pool”) where it might then be discovered through drilling a well. First, there must be a suitable subsurface reservoir. This is a rock that has high porosity (percentage of open or pore space) and permeability (interconnectivity of open spaces to permit fluid flow). Pore space occurs between particles of sediments that have been cemented together to form the rock. Oil and gas occupy these pore spaces in petroleum pools; otherwise they are filled with water. Sandstones and carbonate rocks (limestones, dolostones) make the best reservoir rocks. The permeability is a measure of the ease of fluid flow through the rock, and will determine whether a porous horizon will produce. Permeability is often enhanced by fracturing, and can be artificially enhanced after drilling a well.

Evaluation of Oil and Gas Potential in the Deh Cho Territory

87

A reservoir rock is where the petroleum is ultimately found, but the petroleum is usually not formed there. A source rock is a sedimentary rock with high organic matter content. These are typically black shales. In rare cases carbonate or other rock types may be petroleum sources. Petroleum is formed over time in these rocks through heat and pressure generated in burial. The period and degree of heating determine the level of maturity of the source rock. In typical organic-rich sediments, natural gas (methane) is the first product formed by bacteria acting on decomposing matter. With increasing temperature and time, the organic matter is converted to kerogen, and then oil. Further burial, heating and time convert the oil to wet gas (natural gas plus condensates) and finally dry gas (methane). In order to move from source rock to reservoir rock, the petroleum must migrate. Petroleum is generally expelled from source rocks through burial and compaction; this may be aided by fractures. Oil and gas are less dense than water, and will migrate upward through the rock layers above it until obstructed or until it reaches surface. Petroleum occurrences observed at the surface are called seeps. There are both natural gas and oil seeps. They are indicative of petroleum migrating from underlying strata (though not necessarily directly underlying the seep). In the early days of petroleum exploration, drilling on or near surface seeps was met with some success. In order to collect within a reservoir bed, the petroleum must be trapped. If the reservoir bed is in a dome-like structure, petroleum will collect at the top of this dome. If this dome structure is capped by an impermeable rock, then the hydrocarbons will be unable to migrate further upward. The impermeable rock forms a seal to the trap. The most effective seals are salt, anhydrite, and shale. Once a petroleum pool is trapped, it must be preserved. Further burial, heating, influx of groundwater, uplift, and erosion are all factors that can work against preservation of petroleum. Finally, the timing of all these factors must be favourable. For instance, a trap must be in place before petroleum migrates to it in order to hold any oil or gas. Indications of petroleum can be found during the drilling of a well. Drilling rigs have gas analysers that check for natural gas bubbling up with the circulating mud. Drilling samples (cuttings) are collected as the bit grinds away at the rock layers; these are examined for indications of oil (oil stains or “bleeding oil”). Core samples cut through prospective formations are likewise examined for oil stains. Promising horizons will be checked for hydrocarbons by a drill stem test (DST). This test uses plugs to isolate a specific interval of the strata, and valves are opened to permit formation fluids to flow up the well. Any fluids produced are measured and analysed. If the DST is positive, the well is completed (or suspended). Negative test results will usually result in plugging and abandonment of the well.

Evaluation of Oil and Gas Potential in the Deh Cho Territory

88

U %

64N

S S
107

45

Appendix B Index to oil and gas wells in the Deh Cho territory
S
219

Deh Cho territory
S U %

well location (as of June 2003; NEB) community gas pipeline oil pipeline paved surface unpaved surface winter access only

S

44

S

203

S

108

S

314

Oil and Gas Rights (as of January 21, 2003; INAC)
S S
418 443

railway

U % S
140

exploration licence production licence

S

91

significant discovery licence

63N

50

0

km

50

100

S
342

432

S

435

S

109

S

438

S
183 182

441

U %

S S
194

U %

S

90

S S 343 S
38

37

S

S

S S
132 131

196

S

166 185

S

133

S

S

134 440

S S
439

434

S S
167

S

184

S

433

S
62N

256

110

S
237

S

310

S

101S 100

S
257

S S S
152 384

437

S S
436

385

S

231

S S
244 238

S

333

S

102

S

351

S

232

S

223

U %
350

S S

366

S
429

156 241 225 239

S

240

S

S
233

226

S

222

S

229

S S

352

S

89

S

19

430

S

277

S

276

242

S

S S

S

S

227

S S
353 252

431

S U % S
202

199 197

S

201

S
408

S

398

S

332

S

224

S
243

230

S

S
235

273 326

S

265

S

S

234

S

S
236

278

S

S

228

S

S
122 121 S S 118

275

S

S

335 269

S U %S327 S
274 267 270

325

S

120

S S

367 442

S S S
154 254

198

S

311

S S

111 S 117 S SS

S

262

153
61N

S

S

S

253

S

43

S

359

360

S

358

S

S

200 143

271 263

S S

266 34 268 36 35

112

S

S 113 to 116, 119

S

S

S

123

S S
258 295

416

S

U % S S
33 296 to 299 300 105 23 106 S 24 S

S

103

S
301

104

S

324 414 S 413 409

412

S

195

S
21

S
401

S

S S

S

411

S 337 339 S S S
340

336

S 145 S
330 329

S S S
146 212 209 417

264

272

SS

S

41

S

40 39

S S

42 128 341 175 S U % 173 137 to 139

S

S

261

S

178

S

328 S 312 331

S

410

S

338

S SS

S

144

S S

124 S

S

211

U % S206 S 204 S
207 290

S

125

S S

127 155 181

S

S U %

174

S

415

S
205

46

SS SS 136 S S
135

S S

165

S 221 S

220

S

141

S 142

S

S

S

281

S

164

S S S 316 to 323 245 to 251 S S S S S S S S S 1 S S S
347 S

304 to 309 S

S 20 S S S S 130 422 S S S 30 S S 421 S S 25 294 349 S S
368

26 to 29, 31 22 32 S

S S
407

403

S

382 400

S S S
383

378 S 380 208 217 S S S 313 427 S S 210 377 379 376 S S S S 375 428 S 419 S 420 S

S

291 S

289

S 126 S 180 S

S

S S S

168 to 171, 179 172 2

176

S S

S

S U % S S

187

S
392

334

S
13

374

426

S S
12

16

177 6

S S

S

4S U %

390

S S SS

363 362

292 S302

S

S S
303

399

S

402

S

S
17

14

S 7S 9 S

S

11 10

SS

157

S

159 160

260

S
279

424 348 S

280
60N

S S

U %

S

259 423

S

149

S S S

148 364

361 293 S 52 S 50 S S 47 S54 S to 49 S 99 51 S S 94

S 287 404 S

406

S

3

288 284

S

S S 18 S
15 369 370 373 61 371 372 5

162 S S 163 158

391

189

S S387 S
393

151 S
127W

S S 150 147
123W

S

53

S S 344 95 S
92

S 93 S S97 S
255

96 S

98

S 388 315 SS S S 188 193 S
190

191

S

386

S S
397 396

395

S

S

283

S

381

SS 8

S

161

S

S

S S
186

389 192

S
394

218 S 365

62, 65, 83 216 213

S

S S

S

405

346

SS345

S

S

S

S

425

S

354

S

355 357 356

S

S

215

214S

S S SS 71 286 S S 60 S S S 79 S SS S S 56 S 282 285 86 SS S S 57 69 S S 73S S 58 82 77 S S S S S 85 S S S S S S 87 S S 81 S S S 59 72 88 70 76 66,
78 68, 84 55, 63, 64, 67, 74, 75, 80
117W

S

129

115W

116W

118W

126W

119W

124W

125W

122W

120W

121W

(appendix to Gal & Jones, 2003; NWT Open File 2003-06)

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