Major Oil Plays in Utah and Vicinity

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Utah oil fields have produced over 1.2 billion barrels (191 million m{sup 3}). However, the 13.7 million barrels (2.2 million m{sup 3}) of production in 2002 was the lowest level in over 40 years and continued the steady decline that began in the mid-1980s. The Utah Geological Survey believes this trend can be reversed by providing play portfolios for the major oil-producing provinces (Paradox Basin, Uinta Basin, and thrust belt) in Utah and adjacent areas in Colorado and Wyoming. Oil plays are geographic areas with petroleum potential caused by favorable combinations of source rock, migration paths, reservoir rock characteristics, and ... continued below

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Chidsey, Thomas C.; Morgan, Craig D.; McClure, Kevin; Sprinkel, Douglas A.; Bon, Roger L. & Doelling, Hellmut H. December 31, 2003.

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Utah oil fields have produced over 1.2 billion barrels (191 million m{sup 3}). However, the 13.7 million barrels (2.2 million m{sup 3}) of production in 2002 was the lowest level in over 40 years and continued the steady decline that began in the mid-1980s. The Utah Geological Survey believes this trend can be reversed by providing play portfolios for the major oil-producing provinces (Paradox Basin, Uinta Basin, and thrust belt) in Utah and adjacent areas in Colorado and Wyoming. Oil plays are geographic areas with petroleum potential caused by favorable combinations of source rock, migration paths, reservoir rock characteristics, and other factors. The play portfolios will include: descriptions and maps of the major oil plays by reservoir; production and reservoir data; case-study field evaluations; locations of major oil pipelines; identification and discussion of land-use constraints; descriptions of reservoir outcrop analogs; and summaries of the state-of-the-art drilling, completion, and secondary/tertiary techniques for each play. This report covers research activities for the sixth quarter of the project (October 1 through December 31, 2003). This work included describing outcrop analogs for the Jurassic Twin Creek Limestone and Mississippian Leadville Limestone, major oil producers in the thrust belt and Paradox Basin, respectively, and analyzing best practices used in the southern Green River Formation play of the Uinta Basin. Production-scale outcrop analogs provide an excellent view of reservoir petrophysics, facies characteristics, and boundaries contributing to the overall heterogeneity of reservoir rocks. They can be used as a ''template'' for evaluation of data from conventional core, geophysical and petrophysical logs, and seismic surveys. In the Utah/Wyoming thrust belt province, the Jurassic Twin Creek Limestone produces from subsidiary closures along major ramp anticlines where the low-porosity limestone beds are extensively fractured and sealed by overlying argillaceous and non-fractured units. The best outcrop analogs for Twin Creek reservoirs are found at Devils Slide and near the town of Peoa, Utah, where fractures in dense, homogeneous non-porous limestone beds are in contact with the basal siltstone units (containing sealed fractures) of the overlying units. The shallow marine, Mississippian Leadville Limestone is a major oil and gas reservoir in the Paradox Basin of Utah and Colorado. Hydrocarbons are produced from basement-involved, northwest-trending structural traps with closure on both anticlines and faults. Excellent outcrops of Leadville-equivalent rocks are found along the south flank of the Uinta Mountains, Utah. For example, like the Leadville, the Mississippian Madison Limestone contains zones of solution breccia, fractures, and facies variations. When combined with subsurface geological and production data, these outcrop analogs can improve (1) development drilling and production strategies such as horizontal drilling, (2) reservoir-simulation models, (3) reserve calculations, and (4) design and implementation of secondary/tertiary oil recovery programs and other best practices used in the oil fields of Utah and vicinity. In the southern Green River Formation play of the Uinta Basin, optimal drilling, development, and production practices consist of: (1) owning drilling rigs and frac holding tanks; (2) perforating sandstone beds with more than 8 percent neutron porosity and stimulate with separate fracture treatments; (3) placing completed wells on primary production using artificial lift; (4) converting wells relatively soon to secondary waterflooding maintaining reservoir pressure above the bubble point to maximize oil recovery; (5) developing waterflood units using an alternating injector--producer pattern on 40-acre (16-ha) spacing; and (6) recompleting producing wells by perforating all beds that are productive in the waterflood unit. As part of technology transfer activities during this quarter, an abstract describing outcrop reservoir analogs was accepted by the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, for presentation at the 2004 annual meeting in Dallas, Texas. Another abstract was submitted for consideration on basin-wide correlation of Green River Formation plays and subplays in the Uinta Basin in Utah. The project home page was updated on the Utah Geological Survey Internet web site.

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  • Report No.: None
  • Grant Number: FC26-02NT15133
  • DOI: 10.2172/901315 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 901315
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc884131

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  • December 31, 2003

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 22, 2016, 2:13 a.m.

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  • Nov. 29, 2016, 7:17 p.m.

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Chidsey, Thomas C.; Morgan, Craig D.; McClure, Kevin; Sprinkel, Douglas A.; Bon, Roger L. & Doelling, Hellmut H. Major Oil Plays in Utah and Vicinity, report, December 31, 2003; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc884131/: accessed October 16, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.