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Abstract: Petroleum Exploration Strategies For Impact Features

Richard R. Donofrio

After you stumble upon an impact crater or succeed in finding one the old-fashioned way (by looking for it), where do you drill? The initial exploration wells into Viewfield, Red Wing Creek, Newporte, and the Ames Hole were not based on the astrobleme model. Red Wing Creek, later proven to have major oil reserves, was abandoned by an operator after two unsuccessful wells. Had a key Ames Hole well been drilled just half a section south, the ensuing dry hole could have discouraged further exploration efforts into brecciated granite, which in this feature has the potential for over 50 million barrels of reserves. Drilling strategies are in their infancy because of the limited number of wells into suspected astroblemes. But what have we learned so far about drilling these esoteric feature ?

While astroblemes share certain morphological similarities, the differences can have a profound effect on hydrocarbon migration and accumulation. Unlike other classical reservoirs, astroblemes are unique dynamic basins affecting the thermal and depositional regimes of the target rock. They afford an opportunity for exploration into what is truly the final frontier, crystalline basement rock. It is here where drilling strategies will prove their ultimate worth and where the giant fields of the future will be discovered.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90986©1994 AAPG Annual Convention, Denver, Colorado, June 12-15, 1994