Structural Setting and Petroleum Potential of the Orphan Basin, offshore Newfoundland and Labrador

Michael Enachescu

Michael Enachescu
Memorial University

Monday, February 27th, 2006 – 10:29 AM MST
Telus Convention Centre 8th Ave SE, Calgary


The Orphan Basin region, situated north of the Grand Banks of Newfoundland has undergone repeated extensional episodes. Crustal stretching of the mainly Paleozoic platform started in Late Triassic to Early Jurassic. Subsequent extensional episodes lasting until the Paleocene deepened the basin and enlarged it, by westward (landward) propagation of rifting. Seismic interpretation integrated with potential field data provides a regional understanding of the basin's structural setting and evolution and indicates the presence of a viable petroleum system. This includes large extensional anticlines which were also modified by compression. The presence of Jurassic source rock in the East Orphan Basin is convincingly supported by seismic correlation to source rock intervals within the adjacent Jeanne d'Arc and Flemish Pass basins, and by paleo-oceanic correlation with the Porcupine Basin off the western coast of Ireland.


Michael Enachescu is Husky Energy Senior Fellow in Exploration Geophysics at Memorial University of Newfoundland, an Associate Professor at the Department of Earth Sciences, Pan-Atlantic Petroleum Systems Consortium (PPSC) and Oil and Gas Development Partnership (OGDP) and an advisor to Palo Alto Investors group (PAI) and to several oil companies, seismic contractors and scientific panels. He worked in resource exploration and geophysical research in Europe and after 1981 as a petroleum explorationist in Calgary. He has been involved with major exploration drilling programs in the Grand Banks, Scotian Shelf and Slope, Labrador Sea, Arctic, Beaufort Sea first with Suncor Resources, Trillium/Mosbacher and from 1984 to 2003 with Husky Energy.

Michael was a member of the regional mapping, discovery and delineation teams and a contributor to the Development Plan Applications for Terra Nova and White Rose fields, offshore Newfoundland. Michael was a member of the Scientific Committee of LITHOPROBE, a member of the Site Survey Panel of ODP and IODP (1994-2003) and a volunteer with CSEG (2nd VP, Technical Chair GeoCanada 2000 convention and repeatedly annual meeting session chair) and with many other professional societies and charity organizations. Since at Memorial (fall 2003), Michael is teaching Atlantic Geology, Rift Tectonics, Marine Seismic and Seismic Interpretation courses and conducts research with a group of 12 graduate students in structure and tectonics and petroleum systems of Newfoundland and Labrador's offshore basins. Michael has extensively published on the structural setting and petroleum geology of Atlantic Canada and received the 1999 CSEG Meritorious Award. Michael is a member of CSEG, SEG, EAEG, CGU, AAPG, CSPG, RGS, and a P. Geoph. with APEGGA.