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Central Utah, A Photographic Essay and Update on Geology and Drilling in America's Most Exciting New Oil and Gas Exploration Province

Pinnell, Michael L.1 and Floyd Moulton2
1Chief Operating, Salt Lake City, Sandy, UT
2Consultant, Salt Lake City,

     Oil and gas in the Central Utah Thrust Belt was sourced, at least in part, from Mississippian age rocks in the thicker, western facies of the Utah portion of the western North American Hingeline. The timing of this action may have been early initial hydrocarbon migration, and entrapment in broad, fairly flat, pre-Sevier structures or stratigraphic traps. Subsequent migration filled Sevier structures. Similar early migration in Canada resulted in gigantic pre-Sevier oil accumulations in stratigraphic traps which were later exhumed and exposed as the famous trillion barrel tar sand deposits. Later gas migration provided over 40 trillion cubic feet of gas to Canada's Sevier age structures. In Utah, Cretaceous rocks may be important as a secondary source in the northern and southern portions of the province. Permian and other formations may also prove to be important source rocks. Drilling activity has created both excitement and disappointment. Laccoliths, overturned synclines, 50 foot caves, missing reservoir rock, misplaced structural crests on 2-D seismic data, salt in all the wrong places and other surprises have been encountered. Surface igneous rocks cover over 3,000 square miles of prospective, structured area, sequestering some of the most promising trends. Area of interest encompasses 12,500 square miles with an average Navajo Sandstone penetration of one well per 370 square miles, and an average Mississippian penetration of one well per 1780 square miles.


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