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Kansas Geological Survey, Lawrence, Kansas

Abstract: Kansas Oil and Gas Exploration: a Ten Year History and Future Strategies

The Kansas Geological Survey has a long history of reporting on oil and gas exploration and production. Starting with "Kansas Oil and Gas during 1936" by W. A. Ver Wiebe, these reports have been considered indispensable for petroleum geologists working in Kansas. This report summarizes drilling activity and hydrocarbon production between 1987 and 1996, analyzes the performance of leading operators, examines which counties and formations are the largest contributors to new reserves, and offers multiple strategies for future exploration.

Kansas drilling activity has declined from a high of 3,661 new wells drilled in 1987 to 1,513 new wells in 1996. These 25,909 well completions have resulted in the discovery of 122 million barrels of oil reserves and 2.2 trillion cubic feet of gas reserves. Statewide oil production remained stable from 1987 to 1992 at approximately 5 MM bbls per month, then declined to 3.5 MM bbls per month in 1997. Statewide gas production has consistently risen from 35 bcf per month to 60 bcf per month during this ten-year period. This increase is primarily a result of infill drilling in the Hugoton Field.

Many factors effect the choosing of a strategy for future exploration. Rapidly changing product prices can render today's excellent strategy uneconomic or worse. Historical trends of oil and gas reserve replacement rates yield valuable information in determining a suitable strategy. Analysis of companies finding cost can provide guidelines for corporate strategies. Knowing which counties produce the greatest Estimated Ultimate Recovery per foot drilled can focus the choice of a geographical strategy. Scrutinizing those formations which are currently yielding the biggest reserves allows an exploration staff to concentrate its talents.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90921©1999 AAPG Mid-Continent Section Meeting, Wichita, Kansas