University of Oulu

Kishankov, A., Serov, P., Bünz, S., Patton, H., Hubbard, A., Mattingsdal, R., Vadakkepuliyambatta, S., & Andreassen, K. (2022). Hydrocarbon leakage driven by Quaternary glaciations in the Barents Sea based on 2D basin and petroleum system modeling. Marine and Petroleum Geology, 138, 105557.

Hydrocarbon leakage driven by Quaternary glaciations in the Barents Sea based on 2D basin and petroleum system modeling

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Author: Kishankov, Aleksei1,2; Serov, Pavel3; Bünz, Stefan3;
Organizations: 1Gubkin Russian State University of Oil and Gas (National Research University), Leninsky Ave 65, 119991, Moscow, Russia
2Oil and Gas Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences (OGRI RAS), Gubkina Street 3, 119333, Moscow, Russia
3Centre for Arctic Gas Hydrate, Environment and Climate - CAGE, Department of Geosciences, University of Tromsø – the Arctic University of Norway, Dramsveien 201, 9037, Tromsø, Norway
4Geography, University of Oulu, FI-90014, Oulu, Finland
5Norwegian Petroleum Directorate, Storgata 49, 9406, Harstad, Norway
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: embargoed
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2022
Publish Date: 2024-01-25


The Barents Sea has experienced intense erosion throughout the Cenozoic due to uplift and repeated episodes of glaciation. This, in turn, has driven large pressure and temperature fluctuations in the sediment substrate along with rearrangement of thermogenic oil and gas accumulations. As a result, some hydrocarbon fields have relatively shallow depths, and natural gas release is widespread. This study focuses on the process of hydrocarbon leakage from the Realgrunnen reservoir — encompassing the Hanssen and Wisting discoveries — to the shallow subsurface caused by repeated cycles of glacial erosion in the central Barents Sea throughout the Quaternary. We apply 2D basin and petroleum system modeling to two seismic sections using data from two wells and run ten different scenarios that test model sensitivity to key parameters. We find that the primary factors governing gas leakage are the erosion amount, its distribution between glacial and preglacial stages, and the timing of the glaciations. Our results demonstrate that intense oil and gas leakage from the Realgrunnen reservoir occurs primarily through widespread faults activated during the first deglaciation episode. Further considerable gas leakage occurs by the seal breach after a critical overburden thickness is eroded and pressure on the reservoir decreases to ca. 9 MPa. Modeling reveals that the first deglaciation episode causes up to ca. 20% loss of oil and gas from the reservoir, whereas leakage after the seal breach yields a further ca. 15% decrease in gas. Our results are supported by seismic analyses that demonstrate hydrocarbon leakage in the study area.

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Series: Marine and petroleum geology
ISSN: 0264-8172
ISSN-E: 1873-4073
ISSN-L: 0264-8172
Volume: 138
Article number: 105557
DOI: 10.1016/j.marpetgeo.2022.105557
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 519 Social and economic geography
Funding: This work was supported by the Research Council of Norway (RCN) through its Centres of Excellencefunding scheme, project no. 223259. The research was conducted according to the state assignment of the OGRI RAS on the topic “Improving efficiency and environmental safety of oil and gas resources development in the Arctic and Subarctic zones of the Earth in a changing climate”.
Copyright information: © 2022. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license