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Kandik Basin

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Kandik Basin is a structural basin containing Paleozoic-Mesozoic sedimentary rocks within the Northern Yukon Fold Complex. It straddles the Yukon-Alaska border 650 kilometres north-northwest of Whitehorse and 907 kilometres southeast of Prudhoe Bay, Alaska.  The basin is elongate to the southwest with about 60% of the area located in Alaska.  It consists of three separate areas with preserved Mesozoic sedimentary rocks which are surrounded by exposed Precambrian-Paleozoic outcrops. To the south the Basin is bounded by the Tintina Fault with some 420 km of right-lateral strike-slip displacement.

Basin basement consists of marlstones, diamictites, quartzites and siliceous carbonates of the Proterozoic Tindir Group. Unconformably overlying these strata are numerous Lower Paleozoic carbonate-shale cycles with lesser intermittent siliciclastic sedimentation intervals. Recurrent Cretaceous marine clastic wedges separated by unconformities overlie the earlier interbedded carbonate-shale intervals. The uppermost succession consists of nonmarine conglomeratic sandstone and grit which unconformably overlie the Cretaceous marine succession. The area was unglaciated during the Pleistocene; alluvial sediments occur along river valleys.

The basin formed as a structurally controlled depositional site in late Early Cretaceous. Subsequent Cordilleran Orogen compressional tectonics in Late Cretaceous and early Tertiary produced folds and faults within the basin.

Petroleum exploration in Kandik Basin began in 1970 with the drilling of the INC Husky Amoco Black-fly YT M-55 well. Inexco conducted a reflection and refraction seismic survey in the winter of 1971, which acquired approximately 180 line-km of data in three areas along the eastern margin of the basin. Two additional holes were drilled in 1971 (Porcupine YT G-31) and 1972 (Mallard YT O-18). All three holes were drilled on structures.  None of the wells encountered hydrocarbons.

In Alaska three wells were drilled in the interval 1976-1977. Two of these wells were spudded north of the area considered to be part of Kandik Basin for assessment purposes.

There are no discovered reserves in the basin. Oil staining has been observed in outcrop in carbonates and calcareous sandstone in the Alaska portion of the basin. Six conceptual oil and gas plays (three for oil and three for gas) were identified in the Kandik Basin. The Upper Cretaceous/Tertiary nonmarine play has limited extent, occurring dominantly in the southern part of the basin. Reservoirs for Mesozoic marine structural plays are dominantly clastic sedimentary rocks, and reservoirs for Paleozoic structural plays are mainly carbonate rocks. The Mesozoic marine structural oil play occurs entirely within Alaska. All plays are considered to have a high probability of existing. An important risk in each of the plays is the extent of erosion and unroofing which may have increased the chance of breached seal or closure.