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West Tavaputs Plateau: Development and Discovery

Hinds, Greg1 (1) Bill Barrett Corporation, Denver, CO


For 50 years, the West Tavaputs Plateau area in the southern Uinta Basin had been the target of sporadic development. The large anticlinal feature on the northwest termination of the Garmesa Fault trend was remote, rugged, and contained many cultural attractions. Early production was mainly oil from shallow (3,000’) upper Wasatch reservoirs, and marginal gas production from the Mesaverde, North Horn and Wasatch formations. Two deep tests also had been drilled, testing limited amounts of gas from the Dakota and Navajo.


In early 2002, Bill Barrett Corporation purchased an obsolete poly-pipe system that gathered 1.4 MMCFD from 13 wells, and 46,622 gross acres in three federal units for $8.05MM. Three Federal permits and an ongoing Environmental Assessment were also part of the acquisition. Believing in the potential of the field, Barrett began the permitting process for additional wells, and proposed acquiring 89 mi2 of 3-D seismic. Early drilling, the first in nearly 20 years, utilized the three existing Federal permits and available locations on State tracts. After applying CO2 assisted fracture treatments, results were encouraging and significant upgrades to the gathering system were undertaken. Finally, by late 2004, Barrett was interpreting the 3-D seismic, refining North Horn/Mesaverde locations, and initiating plans to drill a 15,400’ Triassic Wingate test. In 2005, the Company directionally drilled this deep test, plus 15 Mesaverde wells. Production from the Wasatch through Mesaverde section has increased to over 40 MMCFD, with an additional 10 MMCFD added from the deep test.


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90055©2006 AAPG Rocky Mountain Section Meeting, Billings, Montana