Potential for Discovery of Hydrocarbons in the
Bas-Saint-Laurent and Gaspésie Resource Regions
Oil and gas exploration companies have been attempting
to develop the hydrocarbon resources in the Bas-Saint-Laurent
and Gaspésie resource regions for more than 140 years.
The first drilling work was not based on in-depth geological
information, but instead was done near places where surface seepage
of petroleum had been observed.
At the turn of the last century, the Service des mines de Québec
recommended that the geology of the Gaspé peninsula be studied.
As soon as the first surface geology maps appeared, the petroleum
companies of the day, including Imperial Oil, rushed in to drill
and verify the potential of several major anticlinal axes, including
the Mississippi and Haldimand. The results were negative. Next,
the arrival of the geophysical method known as seismic reflection
enabled other oil companies to continue the exploration research
and set up drilling sites targeted by seismic operations. After
a number of commendable but unfruitful attempts the petroleum companies,
such as Gulf, Esso, Petrofina and their partners, returned to exploring
less complex geological areas with already proven potential.
As a result, the Bas-Saint-Laurent and Gaspésie
resource regions have not benefited for a number of years from the
assistance and new geoscientific data needed to support exploration
research in this high-risk activity sector and generate
the new private investment essential to success. Exploration in
Bas-Saint-Laurent and Gaspésie therefore needed
direct encouragement and new basic information to gain a better
understanding of the subsurface geology.
Finally, good shows and a discovery
In view of recent developments at Val-Brillant
where a junior exploration company succeeded in identifying significant
crude petroleum shows in large quantities and another junior exploration
company announced startup of operations on an initial deposit of
natural gas near Gaspé, regional authorities
have asked the ministère des Ressources naturelles for assistance.
To help them continue to evaluate oil and gas potential, these partners
have requested support in the form of improved information about
this extensive territory.
The Ministère becomes involved
During the autumn of 2000 the Ministère
began carrying out a 98-kilometre geophysical seismic
reflection survey program to better assess the structural nature
and hydrodynamics of hydrocarbon formation in the Val-Brillant
More than 6,000 geophones like
this one were monitoring constantly.
Since the official publication of the autumn 2000
survey results at the MINESPACE 2001 conference (Canadian Institute
of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum), exploration companies have
made twenty requests for geophysical survey data on the Val-Brillant
area. And, the Direction du développement des hydrocarbures
has delivered 90 new permits covering more than 1,700,000 hectares
for exploration research in these areas.
Map showing location of current exploration research
permits in Bas-Saint-Laurent, Gaspésie and on Île d'Anticosti.
(PDF Format, 178 kb)
The power for transmitting seismic
pulses though the subsurface was provided by four vibrator trucks
producing a fully synchronized force of 120 tonnes.
In view of the results obtained and the interest
generated in universities and research facilities as well as among
exploration companies, the Ministère, in September 2001,
announced that new work would be carried out to better assess oil
and gas potential in Bas-Saint-Laurent and Gaspésie.
A call for tenders was issued in this regard and the selected supplier,
a consortium made up of GPR International Inc., Boyd PetroSearch
Inc. and Kinetex Inc., was mandated to conduct 10 new seismic profiles
aver a total of 345 kilometres between Mont-Joli
and Cap-Chat in the north and between Nouvelle and
Chandler in the south. One of the profiles cuts across the Gaspé
peninsula from north to south between Cap-Chat and
Miguacha. The work was carried out in two stages. Phase I of this
new program was completed on October 25, 2001, covering 117 km.
Preliminary findings confirm that the data is of excellent quality.
Phase II (230 km) was completed July 18, 2002.
Presentation of results
Acquisition of new basic information at a cost
of $2.3 million has enhanced the value of these regions and
helped target the most favourable areas for pursuing development
of hydrocarbon potential. The bank of already-existing
geological data compiled by the Ministère together with the
addition of new geophysical data will permit assessment of hydrocarbon
resources in this vast area to continue.
Seismic profile of the Lake Humqui anticline,
showing an amplitude anomaly on the structure's ridge at a depth
of 2,500 meters.(PDF Format, 238 kb)
The ministère des Ressources naturelles
was the project manager for all stages of these surveys. Processing
is underway and the geological interpretation will be presented
at the 23e Séminaire d'information sur la
recherche géologique to be held November 27 and 28,
2002 at the Château Frontenac in Québec.
We invite you to attend the visual presentations as well as the
conference entitled Une nouvelle image structurale : Résultats
des Méga-transects de la sismique réflexion
à travers la ceinture appalachienne de la péninsule
gaspésienne presented by Claude Morin and Jean-Yves
Laliberté from the Direction du développement des
Map showing location of seismic profiles obtained
in 2000, 2001 and 2002 (PDF Format, 135 kb)