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CALHOUN, GERALD G., New Paradigm Exploration, Inc., Nashville, Tennessee and HAWKINS, JAMES L., New Paradigm Exploration, Inc., Midland, Texas

Abstract: Benzene and Toluene are Accurate Oil Predictors

The BTEX group of one-ring aromatics, particularly benzene and toluene, are among the most mobile of oil constituents. Smaller than an ethane molecule, these gases are virtually immune to biologic degradation, unlike the alkanes.

A pilot study of 35 wildcats was conducted for three major oil companies in the Permian Basin to test the ability of the MSI-301 instrument to detect varying concentrations of the BTEX group and their correlation to the subsequent production of wildcats. The outcome of these wells was predicted prior to drilling - a true double blind test. Neither the operator nor the consultant knew what the drilling results would be.

Each soil gas sample was analyzed in an eight-minute cycle and the results are printed out as a permanent record. Quality control was maintained with repeat readings of select stations and calibration checks during the day.

Of the 21 wildcats in the pilot study drilled to date, five of seven dry predictions were in fact dry or marginal. When both benzene and toluene indicated a discovery, six of eight wildcats were successful. When the predictions did not agree (one dry, one pay) four of five were dry. Sixteen of 21 predictions were correct, for an accuracy rate of 76.2%.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90918©1999 AAPG Southwest Section Meeting, Abilene, Texas