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State of Alaska Alaska / Natural Resources DNR / Geological & Geophysical Surveys DGGS / Energy ResourcesEnergy

Petroleum Geology

Nanushuk Fomration sandstone

Friable sandstone near the top of the Nanushuk Formation in the Square Lake 1 well, southeastern National Petroleum Reserve—Alaska. Photo credit: David L. LePain, DGGS.

Nearly all projects underway in the Energy Resources Section are aimed at developing a better understanding of the petroleum potential of frontier areas in Alaska, with major emphasis on the North Slope, Cook Inlet, and selected interior sedimentary basins. This work is multidisciplinary and includes:

  • Reconstructing depositional systems in a sequence stratigraphic context to characterize sand body geometries and reservoir potential
  • Reservoir quality analysis utilizing porosity and permeability measurements and thin-section microscopy, usually tied to detailed measured stratigraphic sections and sedimentary facies
  • Reconstructing basin history through detailed, integrated structural, geochronology, and thermochronology studies
  • Petroleum source rock characterization utilizing Rock-Eval pyrolysis and biomarkers
  • Liquid hydrocarbon potential of Alaska's coal utilizing Rock-Eval and hydrous pyrolysis data
Oil sheen on Colville River

Sheen on Colville River from natural oil seep near Umiat Mountain. Photo credit: Marwan A. Wartes, DGGS.

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