Abstract: Exploration Initiatives, Offshore Regions,  Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

Exploration initiatives over the past decade have led to renewed interest in exploration in the slope and deep-water regions of offshore Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. New multi-client regional 2D seismic surveys (2011-2018), guided initially by satellite slick mapping, have provided approximately 170,000 line kms of long offset, broadband 2D seismic data, and over 22,000 km2 of long offset, broadband 3D seismic data. The data was acquired in areas where possible hydrocarbon seepage and new exploration leads suggested that a working petroleum system existed in these under-explored frontier basins. Prior to 2011, the majority of offshore Newfoundland and Labrador sedimentary basins were defined on limited vintage seismic data, and in some cases gravity data where no seismic data coverage existed. With the initiation of modern regional 2D and 3D seismic programs, Nalcor Energy commenced the systematical mapping of the Newfoundland and Labrador offshore in order to assess the extent of the sedimentary basins and also to develop an understanding of the hydrocarbon potential in these frontier regions. In conjunction with seismic data acquisition, Nalcor Energy has initiated a number of scientific studies to build on this new knowledge base and help de-risk exploration in these areas.  These regional studies include metocean, regional drilling metrics, biostratigraphy, seabed coring, CSEM, source rock geochemistry, fluid inclusion, geopressure, rock physics, high resolution digital capture and cataloguing of cuttings, core and thin section data, and resource assessment studies. These studies aim to assist in providing foundational insight to the region’s exploration potential and operational and subsea considerations. This integrated approach to regional exploration data collection will act as a template for future work in other Newfoundland and Labrador offshore areas.

Fig. 01
Figure 1: Newfoundland and Labrador offshore areas, showing recent (2011-2018) seismic acquisition, along with updated license rounds


Deric Cameron, after graduating from Memorial University of Newfoundland with a BSc in Geophysics in '96, began his career acquiring gravity and magnetic data in Northern Labrador with Excel Geophysical Inc. From there he moved into seismic data processing of foothills data with CGG and Arcis, before moving to the exploration plays in the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin and Foothills of Alberta and BC with Devon. He later began working on the Deep Devonian and Carbonate Reefs of NEBC with Petro-Canada, during his time with Devon and Petro-Canada he pursued his MSc from the University of Calgary, graduating in 2007. After graduating, he moved onto development and exploration projects with Petro Canada based out on the East Coast of Canada, and then onto his current role of east coast exploration at Nalcor Energy in St. John’s Newfoundland. Deric has 25 years of exploration experience with a background in surveying, gravity, magnetics, seismic processing as well as advanced interpretation of stratigraphic and structural plays, both onshore and offshore.

Deric is a member of the CSEG, SEG and the EAGE and is a registered Professional Geoscientist in Newfoundland and Labrador (PEGNL).

Erin Gillis joined Nalcor Energy – Oil & Gas in February 2010 and presently holds the position of Team Lead – Leads and Prospects Team within the Exploration Group. In this role Erin and her team are focused on the interpretation and mapping of play trends, leads and prospects as well as hydrocarbon resource potential within Newfoundland and Labrador’s frontier basins. Before joining Nalcor, Erin worked as a Geologist on the Thermal Team for Canadian Natural Resources Limited. Erin attended Memorial University of Newfoundland where she attained a Bachelor of Science and a Masters of Science (Geology). Erin has 13 years’ experience in the oil and gas industry and is a registered member of the Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Newfoundland and Labrador (PEGNL). 

Victoria Mitchell holds a BSc and MSc in Geophysics from Memorial University of Newfoundland in St. John’s, NL. Upon graduation she moved to Calgary, Alberta to join the exploration team with Chevron Canada Resources. She worked with the Beaufort group, identifying exploration opportunities in the Mackenzie Delta region of the Beaufort Sea, NWT. In 2010 she returned to St. John’s to work with Husky within the Jeanne d’Arc exploration team. In this role she was responsible for identifying and advancing exploration targets in the Northern Jeanne d’Arc region as well as working with the development team to plan and execute wells in the North Amethyst field. In 2015 Victoria accepted an opportunity to join the Nalcor Energy exploration group. Victoria has 12 years of exploration experience primarily focused on seismic interpretation, offshore prospect identification, volumetrics and risk. Victoria is a member of the EAGE and is a registered member of PEGNL. 

Richard Wright joined Nalcor Energy – Oil & Gas in 2009 and presently holds the position of Exploration Manager. His team is responsible for Nalcor’s exploration strategy to delineate Newfoundland and Labrador’s frontier basins to assess the province’s oil & gas potential.

Before joining Nalcor, Dr. Wright was part of the frontier exploration team for Chevron. Prior to Chevron, he was employed with a geophysical consulting firm in Orange County, California where he worked on a number of exploration and development projects in basins located in California, South America, North Sea, Middle East, West Africa and Offshore Australia.

Richard attended Memorial University of Newfoundland where he attained a Bachelor of Science (Hons) and a Ph.D. in Geophysics with a thesis evaluating 4D seismic at the Hibernia oil field. He is a member of multiple professional associations, including the Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Society of Exploration Geophysicists and the European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers.

In 2018, Dr. Wright was recognized by the Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Newfoundland and Labrador with the Early Accomplishment Award and he was the 2016 recipient of the Newfoundland and Labrador Oil & Gas Industries Association (NOIA) Rising Star Award. Nalcor’s Exploration Strategy was awarded the 2015 Natural Resources Magazine Industry Excellence Award for Resource Development and in 2017, Nalcor Oil and Gas was a finalist for the Petroleum Economist (London) Award for Exploration Company of the Year.


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