Saturn Minerals is pleased to announce the discovery of a 2.65 meter thick layer of oil source rock (the "Rat Creek Source Rock") during the Company's recent coal drilling program in western Manitoba.
Initial microscope examination of the Rat Creek Source Rock confirmed that it contains marine-type organic matter with large amounts of fluorescent oil-prone components. Based on these results, the Company submitted the source rock to Weatherford Labs of Houston, Texas, for additional examination. Recently received results from Weatherford Labs has confirmed the Rat Creek Source Rock possesses highly oil-prone organic matter and has excellent oil generative potential with total organic content (TOC) values of 7.32% and 14.17% with hydrogen indices (HI) of 566 and 578. By industry standards, 5% TOC or higher is considered to be very good to excellent oil and gas source rock.
The Rat Creek Source Rock was discovered at a shallow depth of 82.25 meters during coal exploration. Results based on vitrinite reflectance and fluorescence show the organic matter to be thermally immature to marginally mature at the beginning of the oil generation stage, and if subjected to adequate heat and pressure at greater depths would be an excellent and effective source rock for generating oil.
The stratigraphic position of the Rat Creek Source Rock suggests a Devonian age, most likely within a stratigraphic interval of the Winnipegosis Formation, and its characteristics resemble the deep-water source rocks of the Devonian Duvernay Formation, which generated oil for Leduc reefs in Alberta.
The discovery of oil-prone source rock represents a significant new addition to the areas prospective for oil & gas exploration in the northern part of the Williston Basin. When taken into context of Saturn's previous discovery of a 4.4 meter section of oil impregnated Devonian carbonate rocks encountered during coal exploration drilling in 2010 (see news release, March 1, 2011), this discovery enhances the likelihood for the presence of conventional oil & gas in east-central Saskatchewan.
The regional stratigraphy dips significantly to the southwest from the location of the discovery into eastern Saskatchewan, where all stratigraphic horizons are buried significantly deeper. Saturn's Little Swan and Bannock Creek oil & gas properties are situated over such areas where the Rat Creek Source Rock or its equivalents may reach thermal maturity for generating oil.
Saturn has recently completed an airborne gravity survey (see news release, April 12, 2012) over its Little Swan and Bannock Creek oil & gas properties in an effort to determine basement depth and structure. Data from the airborne survey is presently being analyzed in order to determine strategy and locations for further oil & gas exploration. Upon completion of the analysis, the Company will release the results and further oil & gas exploration plans. Further exploration is required and the Company cautions that there is no guarantee that any commercial oil and gas discovery will be made on the Company's properties.
Stan Szary, CEO stated, "Our Little Swan and Bannock Creek properties encompass over 370,000 acres of exclusive oil & gas exploration rights. The discovery of source rock for oil in this area gives our company a realistic opportunity for significant value creation by pursuing an aggressive follow up program for oil & gas exploration on these properties. The results of our airborne gravity survey will hopefully give us a much better understanding for locating the "kitchen' at a depth where the source rock should generate oil." Szary further stated, "Adding this to our 25 and 89 meter coal seam discoveries in the area, the real possibility that oil & gas could also be present is certainly exciting news for our shareholders. As with our coal discoveries we will pursue a determined program of comprehensive geoscience followed by an aggressive exploration program on our oil & gas properties."
Dr. Krzysztof Mastalerz, P.Geo, is the Company's Qualified Person under 43-101 standards who has reviewed and approved the technical content of this release.