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more cook inlet geology

  1. 758 Posts.
    The surf down south today is a sloppy 2ft so I've put on the geo hat again for a bit of a ramble about the significance of faulting and folding in the highly geologically active forarc region of Alaska which includes the Cook Inlet.

    In my last post I mentioned a bit of additional acreage that appears on one of BCC's maps, but not on the map on their website. I was excited to see this bit of extra acreage due to its geological setting.

    I am assuming that it is part of the final Southern Cross Unit, but if anyone knows any different please let us know.

    For the sake of discussion I'll call it BCC's SCU North Trading Bay Unit (SCU-NTBU). It sits at the North end of the Trading Bay Field and is half way between BCC's offshore Southern Cross Middle Ground Shoal Field and their onshore West Nicolai Field. The reason I'm interested in knowing the status of this potential BCC Trading Bay Unit is that it appears to lie on the neighbouring parallel North Trading Bay anticline ridge adjacent to the Middle Ground Shoal anticline ridge. So NTBU would actually be a different anticline/fault trap to the rest of SCU. NTBU looks like it might be located at a point where several fold structures converge at a point along the Bruin Bay Fault. These fold structures including TR, NTR, MR, WMR (Trading Bay, North Trading Bay, MacArthur River and West McArthur River) fold structures and are shown on a map below.

    This is a scan I made of the paper copy of BCC's lease map, I have also put a red circle around the bit of (yellow) acreage I am differentiating as SCU-NTBU.

    The next map shows some major faults (Bruin Bay Fault and Boarder Ranges Fault) but does not show the secondary faults that run through the SCU-MGS. It also shows the Fold Structures as dashed lines. You can see the folds all run roughly parallel with the major faults. It becomes obvious why when you look at the diagram further down showing a cross section of the active subduction zone under the Cook Inlet.

    The main part of the Southern Cross Unit lies across the MGS (Middle Ground Shoal) anticline. It appears to be the fold in the area that has the highest rate of movement in the structure per year, along with its in-line extension the Granit Point Fold structure (GP). Both the faulting and folding geological activity will have produced fracture zones through the surrounding geological units (nature's fraccing!) that increases secondary permeability migration paths into the anticline structural trap. The SCU-MGS targets should have good fracture zones IMO given their high bending moments and close proximity to two parallel faults. SCU-NTBU also has good potential, but they are different reservoir structures IMO. BCC are obviously focusing on SCU-MGS in the near term, but it is good to have other separate highly prospective targets in SCU for down the track after SCU#1 and #2.

    This next map is one I have posted before showing the base of the Tertiary contour map. This time I have added in SCU-NTBU as a yellow circle with red border. Please note I have just roughly added this by holding maps up against each other and can not vouch for my accuracy in locating NTBU on this contour map. I am hoping it is actually on the eastern flank of Bruin Bay Fault as its geology would then correspond nicely to the prolific Trading Bay and McArthur River fields. This map also shows the secondary faults that run through SCU-MGS as black dashed lines and the Bruin Bay Fault is a blue dashed line.

    Below are some simplified diagrams showing different geological oil and gas traps. In the Tertiary and Mesozoic rocks of SCU / MGS & NTBU possible traps include anticline, fault and stratigraphic traps. My interpretation of Kenai Loop so far is that it is an anticline trap that is a separate geological structure to the anticline trap on Marathon's Cannery Loop Field.

    The diagram below shows a massive subduction zone of the earth's crust under the Cook Inlet as well as the Tertiary sediments above it that host most of the oil and gas production in the Cook Inlet to date. The subduction of the earths crust in this 'Forearc Basin' produces massive pressures and stresses in the geology above it, which in turn is responsible for the faulting and folding in the Cook Inlet.

    Most of the oil and gas reserves in the Cook Inlet occur along faults and folds that run NE - SW through the middle of the Tertiary sediments bounded by the major faults of Bruin Bay Fault and the Borders Ranges Fault.

    With regards to BCC's first offshore drill at SCU, when they test the Pre-Tertiary, I think the best potential reservoir rocks in the Mesozoic lie just below the Tertiary at 11,500 ft in the Cretaceous, as indicated in the stratigraphic cross section below.

    The geological setting of BCC's offshore leases in the CI provides for good oil and gas reservoir potential as well as good migration pathways (fracture zones) from oil source rocks IMO. BCC have secured some prime offshore tenement in the Cook Inlet that is the main focus of their big picture for their Alaskan operations. The recent great success of their onshore Kenai Loop Field has really made achieving their ambitious offshore objectives possible. The main missing piece of the jigsaw remains the JUR, but I am confident that Buccaneers offshore tenements will be drilled with the 'Pride of Alaska' in Q2 next year. Hopefully by then we also have several more onshore wells at Kenai Loop to pay the bills. Additional successful wells in the Eagleford and Swordfish in the GOM and possibly some West Eagle action would be icing on the cake.

    Cheers Buccaneers!

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