The Chukchi sea shelf is of interest for predicting the oil and gas potential of the Far Eastern sector of the Russian Arctic; it may turn out to be as promising as the Alaskan oil fields in the United States. This opinion is contained in an article by experts from the Institute of Geochemistry and Analytical Chemistry named after V.I. Vernadsky (GEOKHI) RAS, published in the journal "Geology and Subsoil Use".
Experts emphasize that the Russian shelf with a total area of over 6 million sq. km ranks first in the world in terms of its length. According to forecast estimates, the initial recoverable energy resources of the shelf are about 100 billion tons of fuel equivalent, of which 80% are concentrated in the Arctic. The Far East shelf has great prospects. Thus, the shelf basin of the East Siberian and Chukchi Seas extends from west to east from the Anjou Islands to the coast of Alaska, making up half of the continental margin of Asia.
"In the Eastern Arctic, the greatest interest from the point of view of oil and gas content is the giant North Chukotka marginal shelf rift, which developed mainly in the Cretaceous and Cenozoic: the North Wrangel-Herald ridge, in particular the West Wrangel and East Siberian uplift, the Eastern periclinal anteclinal Long. About 60 oil and gas fields have been discovered in Northern Alaska. Most are concentrated along Cape Barrow. The two largest oil fields and many small oil fields are in structural-stratigraphic traps. The oil potential of North Alaska is estimated at about 30 billion cubic meters of oil and about 160 trillion cubic meters of natural gas," experts say.
"Alaska is the most explored region of the United States, contains 40% of America's undiscovered reserves. Oil reserves in Alaska are 0.896 billion barrels. Proved oil reserves in the United States are 28.4 billion barrels, of which almost a third is in Alaska. Northern Alaska, including the northern slope and the neighboring Beaufort Sea and Chukotka continental shelves, contains more than 30 billion barrels (4.8 billion tonnes) of oil. This geologically complex region, which includes promising horizons from Jurassic to Tertiary sediments, remains a leading operational front, " the article says.
The carbon isotopic composition of the oil from the Alaska and Chukotka fields indicates the closeness of their parameters. The northern slope of Alaska, which includes the neighboring Beaufort shelf and the Chukotka continental shelf, is one of the remaining oil production fronts and is assessed as the most promising for the discovery of oil and gas resources. The sedimentary cover of the Anadyr depression is composed of Late Cretaceous, Paleogene and Neogene terrigenous rocks. Their total thickness reaches 6-7 km. The foundation is the Mesozoic rocks, according to the staff of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
"The made comparative analysis of the Alaska and Chukotka fields is of interest for predicting the oil and gas potential of the Far Eastern sector of the Russian Arctic. The results indicate the proximity of the oil values of the Alaska and Chukotka fields," the experts summarize.