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Undiscovered Hydrocarbon Resources in the U.S. Gulf Coast Jurassic Norphlet and Smackover Formations

Ofori N. Pearson
U.S. Geological Survey, MS 939 Box 25046, Denver Federal Center, Denver, Colorado 80225

The U.S. Geological Survey has completed assessments of undiscovered technically recoverable oil and gas resources in the Jurassic Norphlet and Smackover formations of the onshore coastal plain and State waters of the U.S. Gulf Coast. The Norphlet Formation consists of sandstones and interbedded shales and siltstones deposited during a marine transgression. Along its northeast margin, deposition of the Norphlet was in alluvial fans, fluvial systems, and dune and clastic sabkha environments. Mudstones of the underlying Smackover Formation act as source rocks for Norphlet reservoirs. The Norphlet was divided into the following three assessment units (AUs): the Norphlet Salt Basins and Updip AU, the Norphlet Mobile Bay Deep Gas AU, and the Norphlet South Texas Gas AU. The lower part of the Smackover consists primarily of dark carbonate mudstone and argillaceous limestone deposited in low-energy environments, and is one of the Gulf of Mexico Basin’s major source rocks. The upper part of the Smackover is comprised primarily of grain-supported carbonates deposited in high-energy environments. The Smackover was divided into the following four AUs: the Smackover Updip and Peripheral Fault Zone AU, the Smackover Salt Basin AU, the Smackover South Texas AU, and the Smackover Downdip Continuous Gas AU. Although the Norphlet and Smackover formations have been the focus of extensive exploration and production, they probably still contain significant undiscovered oil and gas resources.

 

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90158©2012 GCAGS and GC-SEPM 6nd Annual Convention, Austin, Texas, 21-24 October 2012