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WALKER, DAVID P., Consulting Geophysicist, Amarillo, TX

ABSTRACT: Seismic Exploration in the Dalhart Basin, Western Texas Panhandle

The Dalhart basin, the Texas panhandle's "other" basin, is accountable for over 17 million bbl of oil production since the 1954 discovery of Rehm field by Standard Oil of Texas in Hartley County, Texas. Since that time, the basin has been the target of extensive exploration plays performed by such entities as Shell, Exxon, and Baker & Taylor Drilling Company, as well as several other independents. The primary objective in most of the seismic exploration has been the Pennsylvanian/Missourian granite washes, one of several sequences of wash deposition that occurred in the basin.

These granite washes, sourced from the Bravo dome of the extreme western Texas panhandle and eastern New Mexico, have been distributed into the Dalhart basin in both deltaic and longshore patterns across and along carbonate shelf margins of Pennsylvanian Missourian-Virgilian age. In same cases, this carbonate "bank" has been productive and should be considered prospective in any exploration program. More recently, production from Permian Wolfcampian granite wash has been found to exist in the form of a stratigraphic trap adjacent to the Bravo Dome. Development continues in this encouraging play. In most cases, the application of seismic in the Dalhart basin appears to reflect the concrete data of subsurface geology.

Primarily, the use of seismic to delineate structure has prompted the majority of penetrations throughout the basin, and has resulted in the acquisition of an estimated 6000+ mi of two-dimensional seismic data to date. Whereas anomalies of same type may be uncovered in most seismic surveys, a careful coupling of subsurface stratigraphic information to determine fairways of clean granite washes combined with detailed, high-quality seismic data is a necessity. With the increasing prominence of three-dimensional seismic data, these goals may be achieved both in terms of cost effectiveness and technical superiority. The density of three-dimensional data collection satisfies nearly all criteria to minimize error in mapping these subtle, critical structural and stratigraphic closures. By en bling interpreters to benefit from the use of current and emergent technologies, perhaps the Dalhart basin can continue to mature and become less of a frontier area.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90991©1993 AAPG Mid-Continent Section Meeting, Amarillo, Texas, October 10-12, 1993.