The primary goal of this study is to increase recovery of oil reserves from existing reservoirs and from new discoveries 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. The overall objectives of this study are to: 1) increase recoverable oil from existing reservoirs, 2) add new discoveries, 3) prevent premature abandonment of numerous small fields, 4) increase deliverability through identifying the latest drilling, completion, and secondary/tertiary recovery techniques, and 5) reduce development costs and risk.
Utah Geological Survey (UGS), Salt Lake City, UT
Utah’s drilling history has fluctuated greatly due to discoveries, oil price trends, and changing exploration targets. The state’s oilfields have produced over 1.2 billion barrels of oil. The 13.7 million barrels of production in 2002 was the lowest level in over 40 years and continued the steady decline that began in the mid-1980s. However, in late 2005, production increased following the discovery of Covenant field in the central Utah Navajo Sandstone thrust belt play and reversed the decline that had begun in the mid-1980s. With higher oil prices now prevailing, operators are likely to use improved reservoir characterization and the latest drilling, completion, and secondary and tertiary recovery techniques to boost future production rates and ultimate recovery from known fields. Sustained high petroleum prices also are likely to provide the economic climate needed to entice more high-risk exploration investments, resulting in new discoveries. Utah still contains large areas that are virtually unexplored. New exploratory targets may be identified from 3-D seismic surveys. Development of potential prospects is within the economic and technical capabilities of both major and independent operators. Small, independent operators that drill many of the oil wells in Utah typically do not have the staff or financial resources to compile and assess data on producing trends and state-of-the-art drilling technologies that the UGS project will provide.
The UGS project has produced a very popular new oil and gas field and pipeline map (hard copy and digital formats), which was updated in 2005. Ten oil plays and 13 subplays have been described, including the new central Utah thrust belt Jurassic Navajo Sandstone subplay—the location of a major new oil discovery, Covenant field, by Wolverine Oil & Gas Company.
Project benefits include:
The Utah play portfolios produced by this project will provide an easy-to-use geologic, engineering, and geographic reference to help petroleum companies plan exploration, land-acquisition strategies, and field development. These portfolios may also help pipeline companies plan future facilities and pipelines. Other users of the portfolios will include petroleum engineers, petroleum land specialists, landowners, bankers and investors, economists, utility companies, manufacturers, county planners, and numerous government agencies.
The central Utah thrust belt Jurassic Navajo Sandstone play map produced by the UGS project has continued to featured in numerous published articles. In addition to presentations, UGS geologists continue to answer numerous inquiries about the play from government officials, geologists, the news media, landowners, and the general public.
The project was scheduled for completion on December 31, 2007. There have been four no-cost extensions granted—the last primarily a result expanded effort to describe in detail the land use ownership and regulations, and continued technology transfer activities associated with the Covenant discovery and the new central Utah thrust belt Jurassic Navajo Sandstone play. The UGS will produce an interactive, menu-driven digital product of the play portfolios, maps, core photographs of type core, oil analyses, etc., on a compact disc. The final report is available below under "Additional Information".
This project was selected in response to DOE’s PUMP (Preferred Upstream Management Practices) 2 solicitation DEPS26-01BC15300, June 2001.
$265,543 (60 percent of total) Because the DOE contribution has been exhausted, all remaining expenditures will be absorbed by the UGS as additional cost share.
Final Project Report [PDF-57.8MB]
Chidsey, T.C., Jr., Wakefield, S., Hill, B.G., and Hebertson, M., 2004, Oil and Gas Fields of Utah: Utah Geological Survey Map 203DM, scale 1:700,000.
Utah Geological Survey, 2006, “Utah! 100 Years of Exploration…and Still the Place to Find Oil and Gas,” Utah Geological Survey Public Information Series 71, 20 pp.
Chidsey, T.C., Jr., and Sprinkel, D.A., 2005, “‘Elephant’ Discovered in Central Utah,” Utah Geological Survey, Survey Notes, v. 37, no. 2, pp. 8–9.
Sprinkel, D.A., and Chidsey, T.C., Jr., 2005, “Exploration History and Petroleum Geology of the Central Utah Thrust Belt” [abs.], American Association of Petroleum Geologists, Rocky Mountain Section Meeting Official Program, p. 49.
Chidsey, T.C., Jr., and Wakefield, S., 2004, “New Oil and Gas Fields Map of Utah—Just the Facts!,” Utah Geological Survey, Survey Notes, V. 36, No. 3, pp. 8–9.
Chidsey, T.C., Jr., and Wakefield, S., 2004, “New Oil and Gas Fields Map of Utah,” U.S. Department of Energy, The Class Act, V. 10, No. 1, pp. 1–3.
Chidsey, T.C., Jr., Morgan, C.D., and McClure, K., 2004, “Outcrop Analogs in Utah—Templates for Reservoir Modeling” [abs.], American Association of Petroleum Geologists Annual Convention, Official Program with Abstracts, V. 13, p. A24.
Chidsey, T.C., Jr., Morgan, C.D., McClure, K. Bon, R.L., Gwynn, J.W., Jarrard, R., and Curtice, R., 2004, Major oil plays in Utah and vicinity-quarterly technical progress report for the period January 1 to March 31, 2004: U.S. Department of Energy, DOE/FC26-02NT15133-7, 31 pp.
Chidsey, T.C., Jr., Morgan, C.D., and Bon, R.L., 2004, Major oil plays in Utah and vicinity-quarterly technical progress report for the period April 1 to June 30, 2004: U.S. Department of Energy, DOE/FC26-02NT15133-8, 22 pp.
Chidsey, T.C., Jr., and Sprinkel, D.A., 2005, Major oil plays in Utah and vicinity-quarterly technical progress report for the period July 1 to September 30, 2004 [PDF-6.79MB] U.S. Department of Energy, DOE/FC26-02NT15133-9, 32 pp.
Chidsey, T.C., Jr., and Sprinkel, D.A., 2005, Major oil plays in Utah and vicinity-quarterly technical progress report for the period October 1 to December 31, 2004 U.S. Department of Energy, DOE/FC26-02NT15133-10, 44 pp.
Chidsey, T.C., Jr., 2005, Major oil plays in Utah and vicinity-quarterly technical progress report for the period January 1 to March 31, 2005: U.S. Department of Energy, DOE/FC26-02NT15133-11, 32 pp.