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Abstract: Reduction of Risk in Exploration and Prospect Generation through a Multidisciplinary Basin Analysis Program in the South-Central Mid-Continent

REEVES, T.K., MICHAEL SZPAKIEWICZ, GENLIANG GUO, BIJON SHARMA, LEN VOLK, SANJAY BANERJEE, EUGENE SAFLEY, JOHN JORDAN, WILLIAM JOHNSON, JILL FITE, and STEVE GEORGE, BDM Petroleum Technologies; COLIN BARKER and RICHARD ERICKSON, Tulsa University; and RHONDA LINDSEY, NPTO, Deptartment of Energy

Since the oil price decline in the 1980s, exploratory drilling and seismic field activity have decreased in the United States. To preserve the independent operator and service companies, the US DOE is encouraging hydrocarbon exploration activities in unexplored and underexplored United States regions. Current research is focusing on the deep section in the South-Central Mid-Continent.

Early Mid-Continent Rift (MCR) studies suggested deep sediments in this region could contain substantial oil that had migrated from the rift to reservoirs in the Lower Paleozoic sediments. Subsequent work revealed that information on the organic content of the sediments along the southern portion of the rift system is sparse, and that organic contents of the few samples studied show steadily decreasing amounts of organic material in the rift progressing from Minnesota to Kansas.

In addition to disappointing organic content data, the MCR tectonic history was not favorable for releasing rift derived hydrocarbons into the Paleozoic section. Extensive seal breaking tectonic activity has not occurred in this area. Hydrocarbons generated from rift sediments may still be widely dispersed in small, “uncommercial” traps.

During early phases of the study, it was noted that deep drilling had discovered a string of Ordovician reservoirs along the east side of the Nemaha Uplift. Relatively few other wells in the region go this deep, so attention has been turned to this resource. The study focus shifted from concentrating on Precambrian basement sources, to possible local-sourcing for Ordovician oil, or for origins farther afield, to the southeast in the Ozark region.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90937©1998 AAPG Annual Convention and Exhibition, Salt Lake City, Utah