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Central Utah Thrust Belt-Hingeline: This New Oil and Gas Province Has Enormous Potential

Moulton, Floyd C.1 and Michael L. Pinnell2
1Consultant, Salt Lake City, UT
2Chief Operating, Salt Lake City, Sandy, UT

     The Wolverine Gas and Oil central Utah thrust belt-hingeline oil discovery made on May 3, 2004, opened a new and very large oil and gas exploration-production province. It ranges from the north near Pineview field 160 miles to Cedar City, Utah on the south. It is bounded on the east by thrusted sediments near Highway 89, then extends westward perhaps 50 miles to the central Delta desert area. The play is presently defined by at least ten producing wells, 120 dry holes, numerous thrusted outcrops of Mesozoic and older rocks, older and recent seismic, magnetic, and gravity data plus surface hydrocarbon seeps and satellite-defined hydrocarbon microseepage anomalies. The Jurassic Navajo Sandstone, always recognized as a world class 1,200 foot thick potential hydrocarbon reservoir, did not disappoint when Wolverine's KMR 17-1 well flowed 708 barrels of 40 gravity, water-driven, low-sulfur oil. Shallower Jurassic Twin Creek limestone is apparently productive, but not yet developed.
     However, there were some surprises: (1) The Navajo Sandstone was 1,320 feet higher than mapped, (2) The production was oil, not gas, (3) Two Navajo Sandstones were present, and (4) Oil sourced from Paleozoic rocks was, at least in part, remigrated. We predict at least 30 structural anomalies will be drilled after several massive 3-D group and company seismic programs are completed along the four major, east vergent thrusts and a west vergent Laramide back thrust. Paleozoic reservoir rocks may eventually provide more reserves than Mesozioc rocks. Cretaceous and Permian shales may be significant source rocks. Recoverable reserves may exceed several billion barrels of oil and several tens of trillion cubic feet of gas.


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90071 © 2007 AAPG Rocky Mountain Meeting, Snowbird, Utah