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Scientific Investigations Report 2008-5146

Alaska Petroleum Studies Project

Geologic Model for Oil and Gas Assessment of the Kemik-Thomson Play, Central North Slope, Alaska

By Christopher J. Schenk and David W. Houseknecht


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A geologic model was developed to assess undiscovered oil and gas resources in the Kemik-Thomson Play of the Central North Slope, Alaska. In this model, regional erosion during the Early Cretaceous produced an incised valley system on the flanks and crest of the Mikkelsen High and formed the Lower Cretaceous unconformity. Locally derived, coarse-grained siliciclastic and carbonate detritus from eroded Franklinian-age basement rocks, Carboniferous Kekiktuk Conglomerate (of the Endicott Group), Lisburne Group, and Permian-Triassic Sadlerochit Group may have accumulated in the incised valleys during lowstand and transgression, forming potential reservoirs in the Lower Cretaceous Kemik Sandstone and Thomson sandstone (informal term). Continued transgression resulted in the deposition of the mudstones of the over-lying Cretaceous pebble shale unit and Hue Shale, which form top seals to the potential reservoirs. Petroleum from thermally mature facies of the Triassic Shublik Formation, Jurassic Kingak Shale, Hue Shale (and pebble shale unit), and the Cretaceous-Tertiary Canning Formation might have charged Thomson and Kemik sandstone reservoirs in this play during the Tertiary. The success of this play depends largely upon the presence of reservoir-quality units in the Kemik Sandstone and Thomson sandstone.

First posted December 30, 2008

For additional information contact:

Team Chief Scientist,
USGS Central Energy Resources
Box 25046, Mail Stop 939
Denver, CO 80225

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Suggested citation:

Schenk, C.J., and Houseknecht, D.W., 2008, Geologic Model for Oil and Gas Assessment of the Kemik-Thomson Play, Central North Slope, Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2008–5146, 28 p.




Late Jurassic-Early Cretaceous Evolution of the Northern Alaska Continental Margin

Triassic-Tertiary Composite Petroleum System

Geologic Model for Assessment

Assessment Results


References Cited

Appendix 1

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