Upcoming Division Talk
Exploring for Heavy Oil in Mongolia

SPEAKER: Jürgen Kraus, Franconia Geoscience Ltd., Calgary
LOCATION: geoLOGIC Room (2nd Floor), Aquitaine Tower, 540-5th Avenue S.W., Calgary
DATE & TIME: 12:00 Noon Wednesday, September 4th, 2019

*CSPG members can register for free and track their CPD hours!

Mongolia is possibly one of the earth’s most remote and cryptic places for hydrocarbon exploration. Following its early prime under Genghis Khan to his grandson Kublai Khan (12th and 13th centuries), the country was isolated from western civilization until recently. In 1924, Mongolia fell under Soviet control. The country transitioned to a market economy only in 1990 and the last Russian troops left in 1992. 

Mongolia hosts 10% of the world’s known coal reserves and has a long tradition in open-pit mining. Oil was found in 1940 in the Gobi region and the first PSC was signed in 1993.  The Petroleum Authority of Mongolia (PAM) was established in 1990 as the state-owned petroleum agency. Today, there are 30 exploration blocks, and two basins produce: Tamsag and East Gobi.

This is a brief account of frontier exploration in the deformed and inverted lacustrine Nyalga rift basin. The general plate-tectonic setting will be introduced, from the amalgamation of island arcs in the Late Permian through northward subduction underneath Siberia, the complications of which resulted in rift-related subsidence and the development of lacustrine basins in the Late Jurassic/Early Cretaceous. The geometry and structural/sedimentary evolution of Nyalga will be discussed, from the rifting to Late Cretaceous inversion, and put into context with the working petroleum systems. 

Join in on a journey heading south from the capital Ulaanbaatar through the steppe and dry steppe into the Gobi desert to investigate the East Gobi basin near the Chinese border, considered to be a Nyalga analog. You will stay in a traditional yurt, where they serve you a hearty beef stew for breakfast and a marmot with fermented mare’s milk for dinner. In the absence of trees (i.e. firewood), “bullshit” will get a comfortable new meaning for you on cold nights. You will meet nomads in the vast grasslands of the Nyalga basin herding camels and visit an abandoned Soviet airbase.

The two Nyalga reports submitted to PAM can be downloaded from franconia-geo.com. 


Jürgen is a consulting geologist in international hydrocarbon exploration specializing in prospect generation in deformed and fractured frontier basins. Since establishing “Franconia Geoscience Ltd.” in 2003, he has helped establish the technical foundations to build small companies on and has worked on international exploration projects in countries such as China, Mongolia, Morocco, and Germany. Previously, he had performed structural modelling and seismic interpretation in the Foothills for Shell Canada. He has over 30 years of field experience.

He is also co-chair of the CSPG’s International Division, a director of the Canadian Global Exploration Forum (CGEF), and the secretary of the Canadian Tectonics Group (CTG).
Jürgen holds an M.Sc. in Structural Geology and Geophysics from Göttingen University, Germany (1991), and a Ph.D. in Structural Geology and Tectonics from the University of New Brunswick (1998). Before moving to Calgary, he held positions with GSC Ottawa, Aachen University of Technology, and the Saskatchewan Geological Survey. 
Upcoming Division Events

Division Profile

Our meeting schedule is to have at least one informal brown-bag talk every month, except during the summer. Talks normally start at 12:00 noon and finish before 1:00 p.m. Each talk consists of a 40 minute technical presentation followed by a 10 minute question period. 

Involvement of our CSPG members is the key to the success of the Division. Individuals are encouraged to take part in all activities. Service companies are also encouraged to attend Division meetings and be involved in all Division activities. Basin Analysis and Sequence Stratigraphy Technical Division Talks are free to CSPG members. Please bring your lunch. For further information about the division, joining our mailing list, a list of upcoming talks, or if you wish to present a talk or lead a field trip, please contact either Steve Donaldson at (403) 808-8641 or Mark Caplan at (403) 975-7701.

Committee Members
Co-Chair: Steve Donaldson 
Co-Chair: Mark Caplan
Committee members: 
Dragos Distaru
Rob North
Russ Phillips
Richard Wong

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Past Presentations

January 16th, 2019
Western Canada Sedimentary Basin Petroleum Systems: A Working and Evolving Paradigm - Kirk Osadetz
Download Slides (.PDF)
April 27th, 2016
Sequence Stratigraphic Analysis of Mixed, Reefal Carbonate and Siliciclastic Systems - Ashton Embry
Download Slides (.PDF)
March 11th, 2015
Geological Risk - Kirk Osadetz
Download Slides (.PDF) 

March 14th, 2014
The Future of Gas Hyrdates as a Fuel - Kirk Osadetz 
Download Slides (.PDF) 
February 11th, 2014
Alberta Hydrocarbon - Bearing Shales & Siltstones - Steve Lyster & Dean Rokosh
Download Slides (.PDF)