A review of oil and gas seepage in the Nuussuaq Basin, West Greenland – implications for petroleum exploration

Flemming G. Christiansen, Jørgen A. Bojesen-Koefoed, Gregers Dam, Troels Laier, Sara Salehi

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8 Citations (Scopus)


The Nuussuaq Basin in West Greenland has an obvious exploration potential. Most of the critical elements are well documented, including structures that could form traps, reservoir rocks, seals and oil and gas seepage that documents petroleum generation. And yet, we still lack a full understanding of the petroleum systems, especially the distribution of mature source rocks in the subsurface and the vertical and lateral migration of petroleum into traps. A recently proposed anticlinal structural model could be very interesting for exploration if evidence of source rocks and migration pathways can be found. In this paper, we review all existing, mostly unpublished, data on gas observations from Nuussuaq. Furthermore, we present new oil and gas seepage data from the vicinity of the anticline. Occurrence of gas within a few kilometres on both sides of the mapped anticline has a strong thermogenic fingerprint, suggesting an origin from oil-prone source rocks with a relatively low thermal maturity. Petroleum was extracted from an oil-stained hyaloclastite sample collected in the Aaffarsuaq valley in 2019, close to the anticline. Biomarker analyses revealed the oil to be a variety of the previously characterised “Niaqornaarsuk type,” reported to be formed from Campanian-age source rocks. Our new analysis places the “Niaqornaarsuk type” 10 km from previously documented occurrences and further supports the existence of Campanian age deposits developed in source rock facies in the region.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4567
Number of pages21
JournalGeological Survey of Denmark and Greenland Bulletin
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Anticline petroleum exploration model
  • Gas observations
  • Nuussuaq Basin
  • Oil and gas geochemistry
  • West Greenland

Programme Area

  • Programme Area 3: Energy Resources


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