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Summary of Oil and Gas Drilling Activities in Utah, 1989-1990

LAINE, MICHAEL D., Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Mining, Salt Lake City, UT, and THOMAS C. CHIDSEY, Utah Geological and Mineral Survey, Salt Lake City, UT

A total of 87 exploration and development wells were completed in Utah during 1989 and 76 wells during 1990. Some wildcats were drilled along established trends or structures, but many tested new plays or concepts. Most drilling activity occurred in the Paradox and Uinta basins, resulting in a number of significant wildcat discoveries and field extensions.

In the Paradox basin, the search for Pennsylvanian algal mounds in the Desert Creek and Ismay zones continued to be the dominant play. Improved techniques were employed to locate mound facies and porosity zones. Eleven new fields were discovered in the basin during 1989 and 1990. Flow rates as high as 5000 BOPD were reported from Chuska Energy Company's 1989 discovery, the 1 Sahgzie, in southern San Juan County. A continuing extensive and successful drilling program by that company has increased widespread interest in the region.

In the Uinta basin, most exploration was concentrated adjacent to known fields. Field extensions were completed in the Duchesne, Devil's Playground, Natural Buttes, Rock House, and Hell's Hole fields. One wildcat discovery was the Cochrane Wilken Ridge 22-29, which expanded the lower Green River Formation (Eocene) producing area 8 mi (13 km) to the south.

Other significant activity included (1) tests for Cretaceous coal bed methane; (2) reestablishment of Ferron Formation (Cretaceous) production in the Flat Canyon area, Wasatch plateau; and (3) carbon dioxide exploration, Aquarius plateau. Significant unsuccessful wildcats explored for (1) buried Paleozoic hills; Basin and Range; (2) Dakota Formation (Cretaceous) fluvial sands, southern Moxa arch; (3) Kaibab Formation (Permian) updip porosity pinch-outs and truncations, San Rafael swell; and (4) hydrodynamically trapped oil in the Paleozoic section of the Colorado plateau.

A total of 113 development wells were completed in Utah during 1989 and 1990. Extensive activity took place in Altamont-Bluebell, Duchesne, Monument Butte, Greater Cisco, San Arroyo, Mexican Hat, and Aneth fields.


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