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Title: Liquid-Rich Shale Potential of Utah’s Uinta and Paradox Basins: Reservoir Characterization and Development Optimization

Abstract

The enclosed report is the culmination of a multi-year and multi-faceted research project investigating Utah’s unconventional tight oil potential. From the beginning, the project team focused efforts on two different plays: (1) the basal Green River Formation’s (GRF) Uteland Butte unconventional play in the Uinta Basin and (2) the more established but understudied Cane Creek shale play in the Paradox Basin. The 2009-2014 high price of crude oil, coupled with lower natural gas prices, generated renewed interest in exploration and development of liquid hydrocarbon reserves. Following the success of the mid-2000s shale gas boom and employing many of the same well completion techniques, petroleum companies started exploring for liquid petroleum in shale formations. In fact, many shales targeted for natural gas include areas in which the shale is more prone to liquid production. In Utah, organic-rich shales in the Uinta and Paradox Basins have been the source of significant hydrocarbon generation, with companies traditionally targeting the interbedded sands or carbonates for their conventional resource recovery. Because of the advances in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing techniques, operators in these basins started to explore the petroleum production potential of the shale units themselves. The GRF in the Uinta Basin has beenmore » studied for over 50 years, since the first hydrocarbon discoveries. However, those studies focused on the many conventional sandstone reservoirs currently producing oil and gas. In contrast, less information was available about the more unconventional crude oil production potential of thinner carbonate/shale units, most notably the basal Uteland Butte member. The Cane Creek shale of the Paradox Basin has been a target for exploration periodically since the 1960s and produces oil from several small fields. The play generated much interest in the early 1990s with the successful use of horizontal drilling. Recently, the USGS assessed the undiscovered oil resource in the Cane Creek shale of the Paradox Basin at 103 million barrels at a 95 percent confidence level and 198 million barrels at a 50 percent confidence level. Nonetheless, limited research was available or published to further define the play and the reservoir characteristics. The specific objectives of the enclosed research were to (1) characterize geologic, geochemical, and geomechanical rock properties of target zones in the two designated basins by compiling data and by analyzing available cores, cuttings, and well logs; (2) describe outcrop reservoir analogs of GRF plays (Cane Creek shale is not exposed) and compare them to subsurface data; (3) map major regional trends for targeted intervals and identify “sweet spots” that have the greatest oil potential; (4) reduce exploration costs and drilling risks, especially in environmentally sensitive areas; (5) improve drilling and fracturing effectiveness by determining optimal well completion design; and (6) reduce field development costs, maximize oil recovery, and increase reserves. These objectives are all addressed in a series of nine publications that resulted from this extensive research project. Each publication is included in this report as an independent appendix.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [1];  [1];  [2];  [3];  [4];  [5];  [6];  [6];  [7]
  1. Utah Geological Survey, Salt Lake City, UT (United States)
  2. Univ. of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT (United States). Energy & Geoscience Inst.
  3. Eby Petrography & Consulting, Littleton, CO (United States)
  4. Univ. of Alberta, Edmonton, AB (Canada)
  5. GeoX Consulting, Salt Lake City, UT (United States)
  6. U.S. Geological Survey, Boulder, CO (United States)
  7. Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Utah Geological Survey, Salt Lake City, UT (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Fossil Energy (FE), Oil and Natural Gas (FE-30)
OSTI Identifier:
1417047
Report Number(s):
DOE-UGS-FE0010667
DOE Contract Number:  
FE0010667
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
02 PETROLEUM; 04 OIL SHALES AND TAR SANDS

Citation Formats

Vanden Berg, Michael, Morgan, Craig, Chidsey, Thomas, McLennan, John, Eby, David, Machel, Hans, Schamel, Steve, Birdwell, Justin, Johnson, Ron, and Sarg, Rick. Liquid-Rich Shale Potential of Utah’s Uinta and Paradox Basins: Reservoir Characterization and Development Optimization. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.2172/1417047.
Vanden Berg, Michael, Morgan, Craig, Chidsey, Thomas, McLennan, John, Eby, David, Machel, Hans, Schamel, Steve, Birdwell, Justin, Johnson, Ron, & Sarg, Rick. Liquid-Rich Shale Potential of Utah’s Uinta and Paradox Basins: Reservoir Characterization and Development Optimization. United States. doi:10.2172/1417047.
Vanden Berg, Michael, Morgan, Craig, Chidsey, Thomas, McLennan, John, Eby, David, Machel, Hans, Schamel, Steve, Birdwell, Justin, Johnson, Ron, and Sarg, Rick. Thu . "Liquid-Rich Shale Potential of Utah’s Uinta and Paradox Basins: Reservoir Characterization and Development Optimization". United States. doi:10.2172/1417047. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1417047.
@article{osti_1417047,
title = {Liquid-Rich Shale Potential of Utah’s Uinta and Paradox Basins: Reservoir Characterization and Development Optimization},
author = {Vanden Berg, Michael and Morgan, Craig and Chidsey, Thomas and McLennan, John and Eby, David and Machel, Hans and Schamel, Steve and Birdwell, Justin and Johnson, Ron and Sarg, Rick},
abstractNote = {The enclosed report is the culmination of a multi-year and multi-faceted research project investigating Utah’s unconventional tight oil potential. From the beginning, the project team focused efforts on two different plays: (1) the basal Green River Formation’s (GRF) Uteland Butte unconventional play in the Uinta Basin and (2) the more established but understudied Cane Creek shale play in the Paradox Basin. The 2009-2014 high price of crude oil, coupled with lower natural gas prices, generated renewed interest in exploration and development of liquid hydrocarbon reserves. Following the success of the mid-2000s shale gas boom and employing many of the same well completion techniques, petroleum companies started exploring for liquid petroleum in shale formations. In fact, many shales targeted for natural gas include areas in which the shale is more prone to liquid production. In Utah, organic-rich shales in the Uinta and Paradox Basins have been the source of significant hydrocarbon generation, with companies traditionally targeting the interbedded sands or carbonates for their conventional resource recovery. Because of the advances in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing techniques, operators in these basins started to explore the petroleum production potential of the shale units themselves. The GRF in the Uinta Basin has been studied for over 50 years, since the first hydrocarbon discoveries. However, those studies focused on the many conventional sandstone reservoirs currently producing oil and gas. In contrast, less information was available about the more unconventional crude oil production potential of thinner carbonate/shale units, most notably the basal Uteland Butte member. The Cane Creek shale of the Paradox Basin has been a target for exploration periodically since the 1960s and produces oil from several small fields. The play generated much interest in the early 1990s with the successful use of horizontal drilling. Recently, the USGS assessed the undiscovered oil resource in the Cane Creek shale of the Paradox Basin at 103 million barrels at a 95 percent confidence level and 198 million barrels at a 50 percent confidence level. Nonetheless, limited research was available or published to further define the play and the reservoir characteristics. The specific objectives of the enclosed research were to (1) characterize geologic, geochemical, and geomechanical rock properties of target zones in the two designated basins by compiling data and by analyzing available cores, cuttings, and well logs; (2) describe outcrop reservoir analogs of GRF plays (Cane Creek shale is not exposed) and compare them to subsurface data; (3) map major regional trends for targeted intervals and identify “sweet spots” that have the greatest oil potential; (4) reduce exploration costs and drilling risks, especially in environmentally sensitive areas; (5) improve drilling and fracturing effectiveness by determining optimal well completion design; and (6) reduce field development costs, maximize oil recovery, and increase reserves. These objectives are all addressed in a series of nine publications that resulted from this extensive research project. Each publication is included in this report as an independent appendix.},
doi = {10.2172/1417047},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2017},
month = {8}
}