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Production Profiles and Geologic Characteristics of the Wolfcamp play


Increasing drilling and completion operations within the Wolfcamp play is responsible for much of the crude oil and associated natural gas production growth in the Permian Basin since 2005. In mid-2018, Wolfcamp accounted for about 1 million barrels of crude oil per day (MMb/d), almost 4 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day (Bcf/d), and about 1.6 million barrels of oil equivalent per day (MMBOE/d) of hydrocarbon production in the Permian basin. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) is in the process of updating maps of the major tight oil and shale gas plays of the lower 48 states using publically available geologic data and a commercial well-level database. Thematic maps on production trends from the Eagle Ford, Bakken, Marcellus and Utica plays have recently been published at the EIA Maps webpage. Maps for the Permian basin plays are under construction and additional maps are planned for the remaining major shale and tight oil plays for which sufficient well, production, and geologic data are available. For the Wolfcamp formation, geologic elements derived from literature and commercial well-level database are used to create contoured elevation of the top of formation, isopachs, major structures and tectonic features, play boundaries, and location and gas-to oil ratios of wells producing from January 2005 - September 2018. Wolfcamp depth and thickness varies significantly across the formation extent. The formation’s subsea depth varies in the Delaware basin varies from 0 feet in the west to -9,500 feet in the central areas, while in the Midland Basin it varies from -2,000 feet in the east along the Eastern Shelf to -7,000 feet along the basin axis near the western basin edge. Wolfcamp thickness ranges from about 800 feet to over 7,000 feet thick in the Delaware basin and from 400 feet to over 1,600 feet thick in the Midland basin, varying from 200 feet to 400 feet in the adjacent Central Basin Platform. Wolfcamp sources rock are classified as dominantly sapropelic marine type II kerogens and composed of low-permeability shales, dolomites, mudstones, and sandstones deposited within the Permian basin during the Late Pennsylvanian and Wolfcampian epochs (306 to 284 Ma). Total organic carbon (TOC) has been observed up to 8% and formation porosity ranges from less than 1% to 12%. Natural fractures, clay content, formation depth, and thickness all influence production Wolfcamp benches profiles.