2015 Source Rock – Piston Coring & Forensic Geochemistry

Principal Investigator:

Dr. Martin Fowler, Applied Petroleum Technologies

Start Date:      March 2015

End Date:       March 201

Naturally occurring hydrocarbon seeps can provide evidence of working petroleum systems in undrilled areas. Geochemical analysis of the core samples can differentiate biogenic and thermogenic hydrocarbons and, if the latter, identify possible petroleum systems including the age and source rock type.

In 2015, the Nova Scotia Department of Energy undertook a piston coring cruise within an area extending west from Sable Island to the tip of offshore southwest Nova Scotia, to collect evidence for an oil-prone source rock on the Scotian Slope. Samples were collected from twenty five sites. Samples were subjected to a suite of geochemical analyses including head-space gas analyses, ultrasonic extraction, gas chromatography, and GC-MS.

Gas data from Sites 6 and 9, and possibly Site 5, are considered indicators of possible thermogenic hydrocarbon source rock seeps at these locations. Based on present geochemical data taken together, there seems to be good evidence for petrogenic hydrocarbons at Site 9 and possibly at Site 6. Geochemical analyses tentatively suggest either a Lower Paleozoic clastic marine source rock or a non-marine clastic environment, possibly lacustrine, as the depositional environment. This work will be expanded by additional piston core sampling in 2016 and 2017.


Summary Report [PDF]

Final Report [PDF]