government initiatives have proved pivotal in kick-starting renewed
oil and gas exploration in the country's northern areas -- specifically
the Mackenzie Delta and the adjacent Beaufort Sea.
of exploration thinking has been led by research scientists at the
Geological Survey of Canada (GSC).
a division of Natural Resources Canada, has taken a lead role in
the federal government's Northern Resource Development Program.
To support the consortium of up to nine oil and gas companies, the
GSC has assembled a team of 20 people, including 13 research scientists,
for a five-year study of the hydrocarbon resources of the BMB.
has leveraged on its in-house wealth of experience -- the Calgary-based
scientists have, on average, 15 to 20 years of experience in the
north. The GSC team also includes seasoned veterans with more than
30 years of northern experience.
has access to cores and drilling samples for northern wells that
are housed at the GSC facility in Calgary. In addition, the facility
boasts the only organic geochemistry and petrology lab in Canada.
group is using the base of the permafrost as a zero datum for its
thermal modeling. However, the permafrost varies by up to 800 meters
across the BMB.
logs can be used to determine permafrost thickness. The GSC is trying
to predict the top of the overpressure zone in the basin. According
to Issler, the top of the overpressure varies by up to three kilometers
over the basin, causing potential drilling problems and reservoir
documented cases of secondary overpressure where fluids have been
discharged from deeper sediments and have moved upwards, charging
a structural geologist with the GSC, is creating a digital, GIS-based
database for the BMB that incorporates his field work and seismic
data interpretations dating back to the early 1980s. He's archiving
his mosquito-encrusted field notes gathered 20 years ago, and he's
indexing fossil localities described by GSC emeritus geologists
that date back to the 1950s.
how his horizons have been broadened by working with industry.
they're new to the basin, they ask very fundamental questions,"
Lane said, "and that forces you to continually reassess your basic