Development of a Geologic Exploration Model foe the Permo-Pennsylvanian Petroleum System in South-Central Montana

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Eolian sands are the main Pennsylvanian Tensleep Sandstone reservoir rocks, and were deposited in a near-shore environment interbedded with near-shore marine and sabkha calcareous and dolomitic rocks. Within the Tensleep, numerous cycles are characterized by basal marine or sabkha calcareous sandstone or dolomitic sandstone overlain by porous and permeable eolian sandstone, which in turn is capped by marine sandstone. The cycles represent the interplay of near-shore marine, sabkha, and eolian environments. On the west side of the project area, both the lower and upper Tensleep are present and the total thickness reaches a maximum of about 240 ft. The lower ... continued below

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Lopez, David A. June 30, 2007.

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Description

Eolian sands are the main Pennsylvanian Tensleep Sandstone reservoir rocks, and were deposited in a near-shore environment interbedded with near-shore marine and sabkha calcareous and dolomitic rocks. Within the Tensleep, numerous cycles are characterized by basal marine or sabkha calcareous sandstone or dolomitic sandstone overlain by porous and permeable eolian sandstone, which in turn is capped by marine sandstone. The cycles represent the interplay of near-shore marine, sabkha, and eolian environments. On the west side of the project area, both the lower and upper Tensleep are present and the total thickness reaches a maximum of about 240 ft. The lower Tensleep is 100 to 120 ft thick and consists of a sequence of repeating cycles of limey shallow marine sandstone, sandy limestone, and sandy dolomite. The upper Tensleep is generally characterized by cycles of sandy limestone or dolomite, overlain by light-colored, eolian dune sandstone capped by marine limey sandstone. In the central and eastern parts of the project area, only the lower Tensleep is present, but here eolian sandstones are in cycles much like those in the west in the upper Tensleep. The lower Tensleep is quite variable in thickness, ranging from about 25 ft to over 200 ft. Oil accumulations in the Tensleep are best described as structurally modified paleostratigraphic accumulations. At Frannie Field, the irregular oil column can be explained by a post-Tensleep channel scour on the west flank of the anticline. On the Powder River Basin side of the project area, the Soap Creek and Lodge Grass Fields produce from the Permo-Pennsylvanian system. In these two fields, erosional remnants of eolian sandstone control the production, similar to the situation at Frannie Field. At Soap Creek the trap is enhanced by structural closure. In the Lodge Grass area, Tensleep oil is trapped in preserved dunes in the footwall of a Laramide reverse fault. Oil generation and migration was early. Two hypotheses have been presented: migration occurred (1) before mid-Jurassic erosion produced a major regional unconformity or (2) about 82 million years ago. Migration pre-Laramide occurred because oil in both the Bighorn Basin and the Powder River Basin are part of the same petroleum system. Geochemical analyses of oils from producing fields across the region show the oils are all similar and have the same source and generation history. No Phosphoria source rocks exist in the project area of south-central Montana, requiring that oil migrated from distant source areas, probably in central and southwestern Wyoming. Oil shows and production in the Tensleep are absent in the northern part of the project area. This appears to be controlled by the merging of the top of the Tensleep Sandstone and the Jurassic unconformity (top of the Triassic Chugwater Formation). There should be potential for the discovery of oil in Tensleep stratigraphic traps or combination traps everywhere south of the Jurassic-Pennsylvanian Isopach zero contour except where the Tensleep has been exposed by uplift and erosion. Known Tensleep fields in south-central Montana are generally small in area, which agrees with outcrop studies that show eolian dune sequences are generally quite small in lateral extent, on the order of 10 to 40 acres. Although existing fields are small in area, they are very productive; individual wells will probably make 300,000 to 500,000 barrels of oil. In the project area, hydrodynamic considerations are important. All the existing Tensleep fields have active water drives. In many cases, the reservoir pressure today is as it was when initially discovered. In areas of high structural complexity, such as the Lodge Grass-Crow Agency fault and the Lake Basin fault zone, significant structural closure may be necessary to trap oil because of the strong hydrodynamic influence exerted by the underlying Madison Formation aquifer.

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  • Report No.: None
  • Grant Number: FC26-04NT15511
  • DOI: 10.2172/924407 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 924407
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc895214

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  • June 30, 2007

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 27, 2016, 1:39 a.m.

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  • Jan. 6, 2018, 11:37 p.m.

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Lopez, David A. Development of a Geologic Exploration Model foe the Permo-Pennsylvanian Petroleum System in South-Central Montana, report, June 30, 2007; Montana. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc895214/: accessed June 24, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.