Arctic oil and gas have been E&P targets for several decades. However, the petroleum potential of this region is far from being fully understood. Assessments of undiscovered petroleum of the Arctic indicates that it holds asignificant amount of the world's undiscovered gas and oil (Gautier et al.,2009) and recent assessments also indicate the potential of shale resourceplays for oil and gas, for example on the Alaska North Slope (Houseknecht,2012). In this paper we will present workflows for efficient petroleumexploration risk and resource assessments for both conventional andunconventional resources in the Arctic, and we will also present a recentsuccessful exploration campaign which resulted in the first technically provenshale oil play on the Alaska North Slope.
This will demonstrate the value of applying the same approach to otherArctic petroleum provinces, resulting in a) increased understanding of existingand hypothetical petroleum systems, b) more accurate assessments of theremaining potential hydrocarbon resources on a regional scale, c) more accuratescreening of exploration opportunities and assessments of exploration risk, andd) provide an efficient, geology based and auditable approach to petroleumexploration risk and resource assessments.
Using all of the available G&G data to create multi-dimensionalpetroleum systems models is the only technology that can integrate andprocess all of the available geologic data in order to enable a completeassessment of the potential value of the hydrocarbon resources. The reason isthat it adds the results of a geologic process based analysis to the existingG&G data to provide critical additional information. For example, it is theonly method that enables hydrocarbon properties and oil vs. gas distributionsto be understood and predicted, which is a critical issue for thedifferentiation of shale resource plays into oil and gas prone targets.
Petroleum systems modeling enables the dynamics of sedimentary basins andtheir associated fluids to be evaluated to see if past conditions were suitablefor generation of hydrocarbons to fill potential reservoirs and to bepreserved. Applications include predictions of the extent and timing ofpetroleum generation from source rocks, reconstructions of basin architecture, migration pathways, locations of potential traps and accumulations, andanalysis of risk based on various geologic, geochemical, or fluid-flowassumptions (Magoon and Dow, 1994; Peters et al., 2009). The technology usesdeterministic computations to forward simulate (i.e. from the geologic past tothe present) the thermal history of a basin and the associated generation, migration, and accumulation of petroleum (Hantschel and Kauerauf, 2009; Peters,2009). These results are then combined with statistical assessments to enableimproved assessments of the petroleum resources, therefore enabling the entiresequence of analyses from petroleum exploration risk to resource assessments tobe supported.