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Lima-Indiana Fields (1884-1910): The Shotgun Approach to Exploration and the Infancy of Petroleum Geology

Andy Maslowski

An estimated 100,000 wells helped to delineate the Lima-Indiana trend in Ohio and Indiana. While the first discoveries from the Ordovician Trenton carbonate were made near known seeps, subsequent wildcat drilling in all directions eventually outlined more than 60 producing oil and gas fields. Cumulative production from this trend is close to 500 MMbo and 800 + Bcfg.

Edward Orton, Sr., state geologist of Ohio, identified the reservoir rock as dolomitized limestone with vugular porosity (1888). With the help of structural contour mapping, he correctly predicted future oil discoveries. He also warned of the close spacing of wells which destroyed reservoir pressure.

Companies of the Standard Oil Trust under John D. Rockefeller were largely responsible for the development of the Lima-Indiana fields.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #91028©1989 AAPG History of Petroleum Industry Symposium, September 17-20, 1989, Titusville, Pennsylvania.