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Interactive Computer Display of Petroleum Exploration History for Basins in the Northern Rocky Mountain Region of the United States

HIGLEY, D. K., K. I. TAKAHASHI,* and T. S. DYMAN, U.S. Geological Survey, Denver, CO

Petroleum exploration histories for sedimentary basins in the northern Rocky Mountain region are animated with and displayed on a Macintosh microcomputer. Trends in basin exploration are shown for cumulative 5-yr increments from 1900 through 1986. During this period, exploration has evolved generally from drilling of large structures and mostly shallow fields to deeper drilling and the discovery and development of subtle traps. But the display also shows how the pattern of basin development has varied throughout the region.

The source of drill-hole data was Petroleum Information Corporation's Well History Control System database. Drill-hole locations, completion dates, and production data were analyzed using a series of computer programs which divided the northern Rocky Mountain region into 1-mi2 grid cells and calculated the type of petroleum production, if any, within each drilled cell. Mapped data show the earliest time interval of exploration and the oil and gas, oil, gas, or nonproducing category of each grid cell. A grid cell with an oil and gas symbol, for example, might contain an oil and gas, a gas, and a nonproducing drill hole, whereas a dry-hole cell has only one or more nonproducing drill holes within it.


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #91010©1991 AAPG Rocky Mountain Section Meeting, Billings, Montana, July 28-31, 1991 (2009)