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Abstract: Cave Gulch, Wind River Basin, Wyoming, The Long History of a Low Tech Success


Barrett Resources first well in the Cave Gulch Unit began production in December, 1994, at 10.7 million cubic feet of gas and 116 barrels of oil per day. The elements necessary to define this close-in subsurface prospect were present in 1959. The senior author identified the prospect in 1971 and tried then and in 1973 to get it drilled. Two major companies owned the key leases from 1959 to 1994, and everyone had an opportunity to bid on them in 1973. This paper will show the key data available in 1959, the subsurface interpretation in 1973, information used to sell the prospect in 1994, and the results of drilling to date. Possible reasons why it went undrilled for 35 years will be suggested. One reason may be reliance on questionable subthrust seismic data instead of hard geologic evidence.

Production is from numerous lenticular fluvial sandstones in the Paleocene Fort Union and Cretaceous Lance and Meeteetse Formations on a structural closure beneath the South Owl Creek Mountains thrust. Producing depths range from 4600 to 9800 feet. Development drilling is incomplete and many pay zones have yet to be perforated. Net pay can exceed 1200 feet and appears to average between 500 and 600 feet for wells drilled to 9000 feet. Ultimate reserves should exceed 500 billion cubic feet of gas. No estimate of deeper potential can be made at this time.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90946©1997 AAPG Rocky Mountain Section Meeting, Denver, Colorado