Washington-Taylorstown Field as a Microcosm of the Oil and Gas Industry in Pennsylvania
Carter, Kristin M.
Located in central Washington County, the Washington-Taylorstown field is a fitting example of the ebb and flow of petroleum developments that have occurred throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania since Drake first struck oil in Titusville in 1859. Whether shallow or deep, sandstone or shale, failure or success, this field has seen it all. Underlying the city of Washington and its suburbs, Washington-Taylorstown field was discovered in January 1885 with the completion of the Gantz No. 1. Although exploring for gas, this well struck oil in the shallowest sand of the Upper Devonian Venango Group (aptly named the Gantz sand from that point onward), and spurred extensive drilling activity in the greater Washington area for decades to come. Even though several shallow Pennsylvanian and Mississippian sands were also tapped for oil and gas as part of this activity, it is production from the Venango Group's Hundred Foot/Gantz, Gordon, Fourth, and Fifth sand zones that made Washington-Taylorstown field a prominent fixture in the oil belt of Pennsylvania. Moreover, estimated reserves of roughly 49 MMBLS total oil in place opened Washington-Taylorstown field to various enhanced recovery operations through the years, from gas drive (ca 1926-1970) to waterflooding (ca 1982-present), to extend its livelihood. Such efforts have overwhelmingly been focused on the Gordon sand, due to this zone's particularly favorable reservoir characteristics. With the advent of the modern Marcellus shale gas play, however, the industry has turned its focus to deep gas drilling. Since 2008, cumulative Marcellus shale gas production from several wells in the Richard Foster pool (northern Washington-Taylorstown field) has exceeded 4 Bcf.
Today, Washington-Taylorstown field has a footprint of about 42,250 acres and includes more than 1,700 wells producing oil and gas from a half dozen reservoirs over a wide range of depths (~1,000-12,300 ft). The oil reserves associated with the Venango Group and the promising production of Marcellus shale gas wells suggest that Washington-Taylorstown field is by no means beyond its prime. Indeed, it could be said that like the petroleum industry in Pennsylvania, Washington-Taylorstown field has re-emerged as a focus of attention with advances in science and technology as well as increases in domestic energy demand.
AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90163©2013AAPG 2013 Annual Convention and Exhibition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, May 19-22, 2013