Oil & Natural Gas Projects
Exploration and Production Technologies
Using Recent Advances in 2-D Seismic Technology and Surface Geochemistry
to Economically Redevelop a Shallow-Shelf Carbonate Reservoir: Vernon Field,
Isabella County, MI
This project was selected in response to DOE's Oil Exploration and Production
Reservoir Class Field Demonstration Program-Class Revisit, solicitation DE-FC2-PS26-00BC15144.
The goal of the Class Program was to extend the economic production of domestic
fields by slowing the rate of well abandonments and preserving industry infrastructure
and to increase ultimate recovery using improved reservoir characterization
and advanced technologies.
The primary goal of this project was to use 2-D seismic and surface geochemistry
to locate hydrocarbons in existing shallow-shelf carbonate fields, either bypassed
oil or new plays.
Michigan Tech University
Jordan Exploration Co., LLC
Traverse City, MI
Western Michigan University
Vernon field in Isabella County, MI, was extensively studied, mainly by surface
geochemistry and concluded to be too depleted to be of further interest. Attention
was shifted to the Northern pinnacle reef trend, where 2-D seismic and surface
geochemistry succeeded in locating producible hydrocarbons in the Niagaran Brown.
Horizontal wells were used to probe the thin (15-20 foot) pay zone in the Brown,
then to produce the live zones. This new oil appears to have been trapped in
"patch" reefs between the pinnacles and trapped by overlying salt.
To date this play has produced over 166,000 barrels of oil from nine new wells.
The main benefit of this project has been to develop a new play concept in the
Michigan Basin, which has significant upside potential, given the large extent
of the well-known pinnacle reef trend in the basin. The project also has demonstrated
the validity and usefulness of surface geochemical characterization in helping
locate productive prospects. Vernon and Springdale both provide useful knowns
that can be used as examples and calibration for future exploration.
In this project a consortium consisting of Jordan Exploration, Michigan Tech,
and Western Michigan University proposed to develop and execute an economical
and environmentally sensitive plan for recovery of hydrocarbons from an abandoned
shallow-shelf carbonate field. This 5-year project used surface geochemistry
as a tool to reduce risk in locating and producing hydrocarbons in Class II
The project used vintage 2-D seismic data with proven geochemical techniques
to locate new and bypassed oil in the shallow-shelf carbonate environments typified
by the Dundee and Trenton Formations of the Michigan Basin. Although Vernon
field proved uneconomic, it provided a key resource for calibrating the surface
geochemistry, which proved of value later in the Springdale play.
Project researchers have:
- Developed a new play concept, Springdale, for the Michigan Basin that has
proven to be economic.
- Demonstrated the value of horizontal wells to probe for thin pay zones, then
produce the zones.
- Shown that surface geochemistry can be used to delineate exhausted fields
(Vernon) as well as indicate presence of live oil in new plays (Springdale).
- Demonstrated that vintage 2-D seismic can be combined with existing well logs
to generate "phi-h" maps that can be used to locate new prospects
in the Springdale-type plays.
Current Status (October 2005)
This project is complete. The local industry has responded to the Springdale
play concept by staking out acreage and seeking permits to drill similar tests.
Vernon field in Isabella County, MI.
Surface soil gas and microbial samples for geochemical analysis were collected
from small, shallow pits.
Wylie, A.S., Jr., and Wood, J.R., Historical Production trends suggest remaining
upside for exploration and development in Michigan, Oil & Gas Journal,
V. 103, no. 23, 2005.
Wylie, A S., Jr., and Wood, J R., 3-D Imaging of Core and Log Curve Amplitudes
in a Niagaran Reef, Belle River Mills Field, St. Clair County, Michigan, U.S.,
AAPG Bulletin, V. 89, no. 4, 2005, pp. 409-433.
Wood, J.R., Wylie, A.S., Jr., and Quinlan, W., Surface Geochemical results
complement conventional development approaches, World Oil, V. 225, no. 12,
2004, p. 54-57.
Wylie, A.S., Jr., and Wood, J.R., and Harrison, W.B., III, Michigan Trenton-Black
River opportunities identified with sample attribute mapping, Oil and Gas
Journal, V. 102, no. 6, 2004, p. 29-35.
Annual Reports were published by DOE's Office of Science and Technical Information
on the Information Bridge at http://www.osti.gov/bridge/advancedsearch.jsp.
All annual and quarterly technical reports are published on the Subsurface
Visualization Lab website at http://www.geo.mtu.edu/svl/classrevisit/, under
the menu heading, DOE Reports.
Project Start: March 20, 2000
Project End: September 20, 2005
Anticipated DOE Contribution: $ 1,455,649
Performer Contribution: $5,230,000 (78% of total)
NETL - Purna Halder (firstname.lastname@example.org or 918-699-2083)
Michigan Tech - James Wood (email@example.com or 906-487-2894)