In the early 1990s, large land positions were acquired offshore western Newfoundland by oil majors including Mobil, Norcen Energy, BHP and Hunt Oil. Approximately 5,000 km of seismic data were acquired offshore along with approximately 800 kilometres onshore. Five deep wells were subsequently drilled onshore in the Port au Port area, resulting in one discovery.
The discovery well, Port Au Port #1 (PAP#1) was drilled in 1995 by Hunt-Pan Canadian in the triangle zone noted earlier in the offshore seismic data. It intersected four zones of good porosity in the Cambro-Ordovician platform. While the two lower zones encountered water, the two upper zones within the Aguathuna formation flowed at rates 1500-1700 bopd of high quality sweet ( 51 API) crude.
This property is currently being operated by Enegi Oil Plc who farmed into the license in 2008. The have continued with sidetrack drilling extended testing since that time. To date they have produced in excess of 20,000 bbls. of oil in the structurally complex area and Enegi has indicated their intent to conduct additional drilling and exploration work in the Port au Port area.
More importantly from a regional perspective, PAP#1 has proven the existence of a viable petroleum system within the deeper rocks of western Newfoundland that is consistent with a Cambro-Ordovician source and proven key thrust faulting and structural assumptions along the continental margin to be largely correct.
Other firms operating onshore in the area include Vulcan Minerals which is operating within the Bay St. George Sub-basin and Deer Lake Oil and Gas which holds licenses in the Deer Lake Basin. Both are exploring the potential of relatively shallow clastic reservoir rocks in these Devonian-Carboniferous Sedimentary basins and pointing to local oil shows and oil shale as evidence of mature basal lacustrine source rocks. To date no significant discoveries have been made in these shallow Carboniferous plays.
In February 2010, Nalcor Energy announced a three well program in the Parsons Pond area with its minority partners Deer Lake Oil and Gas, Vulcan Minerals and Leprechaun Resources. Slated to reach depths in the range of 3,000 metres, the objectives of the program are to gain a better regional understanding of this largely unexplored onshore area of the Anticosti Basin and to test the oil and gas showings in the Parsons Pond-St. Paul’s Inlet area at depth.
After drilling its first two wells, Seamus and Finnegan, Nalcor and its partners made a decision to not proceed with the third well. While gas shows were reported in both Seamus and Finnegan no details on the testing of these wells has been released.