The Timan-Pechora Basin Province of Northwest Arctic Russia:  Domanik – Paleozoic Total Petroleum System

Sandra J. Lindquist 

The Domanik-Paleozoic oil-prone total petroleum system covers most of the Timan-Pechora Basin Province of northwestern Arctic Russia. It contains nearly 20 BBOE ultimate recoverable reserves (66% oil). West of the province is the early Precambrian Eastern European craton margin. The province itself was the site of periodic Paleozoic tectonic events, culminating with the Hercynian Uralian orogeny along its eastern border. The stratigraphic record is dominated by Paleozoic platform and shelf-edge carbonates succeeded by Upper Permian to Triassic molasse siliciclastics that are locally present in depressions. Upper Devonian (Frasnian), deep marine shale and limestone source rocks – with typically 5 wt % total organic carbon – by middle Mesozoic time had generated hydrocarbons that migrated into reservoirs ranging in age from Ordovician to Triassic but most focused in Devonian and Permian rocks. Carboniferous structural inversions of old aulacogen borders, and Hercynian (Permian) to Early Cimmerian (Late Triassic to Early Jurassic) orogenic compression not only impacted depositional patterns, but also created and subsequently modified numerous structural traps within the province. 

One major total petroleum system characterizes the Timan-Pechora Basin Province in the Arctic coastal region of northwestern Russia. The source rocks are basinal facies equivalents to shelf-edge reefs ranging in age from Late Devonian (Frasnian) to earliest Carboniferous (Tournaisian). Although similar conditions existed again in Early Permian time, the richest and most volumetrically important source rocks are Frasnian in age and are called "Domanik." Limited mixing is likely from at least two other petroleum systems within or adjacent to this province. A Siluro-Ordovician source rock is postulated to exist in the eastern part of the province (Adzva-Varandey Zone and Kosyu-Rogov Trough, Figure 1), with at least four fields identified as containing some hydrocarbons thus generated. The northern part of the province along the coastal region might also contain mixed hydrocarbons from the generation of and migration from Triassic source rocks offshore in the Barents Sea. Portions of the Timan-Pechora offshore with potential Triassic-sourced hydrocarbons will be discussed further in the South Barents Sea Province evaluation. Not addressed in this review and assessment are unconventional gas reserves are present in coaly siliciclastics of Artinskian and Kungurian age of the Timan-Pechora foredeep regions (Ben Law, U.S. Geological Survey, personal communication).

References listed in this report include a limited selection of those most recent and most pertinent to this document. Not all are specifically cited in the text. The stratigraphic equivalents chart is composited from many references to approximately equate the range of stratigraphic nomenclature in use. It is not intended to be precise with respect to absolute geologic age.

Province Boundary and Geographic Setting
The Timan-Pechora Basin Province overlies the Arctic Circle, extending across 61° -72° north latitude and 44° -66° east longitude (Figure 1). To the east, outside the province boundary, is a sinuous fold belt including the Ural Mountains, the Pay-Khoy Ridge, Vaygach Island and the Novaya Zemlya archipelago. To the west is the NW-SE trending Timan-Kanin Ridge, which intersects the Ural Mountains at the southern end of the province. The northern offshore province boundary is the South Barents transitional fault zone, separating the excluded South Barents basin of the Barents Sea from the included Pechora block within the Pechora Sea (Figure 2a). Onshore geologic features are known to extend offshore. Onshore area (70%) of this province is 315,100 sq km (121,629 sq mi) and includes the drainage basins of the Pechora, Usa, and Izhma Rivers. Offshore (30%) are 131,700 sq km (50,836 sq mi), of which approximately 5,400 sq km (2,084 sq mi) comprise islands. 

Political Entities
The Timan-Pechora Basin Province is entirely within the Russian Federation of the former Soviet Union, but Russia is divided into political units with different legislative and jurisdictional responsibilities. Most of Timan-Pechora is within the Komi republic – which includes most of the known current production – but large fields yet to be developed are within the Nenets Autonomous Okrug of Arkhangel’sk Oblast (Sagers, 1994). 

Geologic Setting(Continued on Next Page
The Timan-Pechora Basin Province is on the Pechora crustal plate (late Proterozoic basement) northeast from the margin of the Precambrian (Archean to early Proterozoic) Eastern European craton. The area periodically was the site of Proterozoic rifting and continental suturing (Bashilov and Kuprin, 1995; Bogatsky and others, 1996), approximately parallel with the Timan Ridge that borders the province to the southwest (Figure 1, Figure 2b, and Figure 2c). During periods of collision, a subduction zone and volcanic arc system existed offshore to the northeast.

The Timan Ridge includes accreted and uplifted, slightly metamorphosed basement. It has been a west-verging thrust complex (Sobornov and Rostovshchikov, 1996) and perhaps even a left-lateral wrench zone (Ulmishek, 1988; Mezhvilk, 1995). Faults separating the Timan Ridge from the easterly adjacent Izhma-Pechora Depression have 0.5-0.8 km offsets (Bogatsky and others, 1996).

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U. S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 99-50G