2014 Rocky Mountain Section AAPG Annual Meeting

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Produced Water Modeling of Upper Cretaceous Mesaverde Group Tight-Sandstone Reservoirs in the Uinta Basin, Utah


The Maastrichtian Upper Cretaceous Mesaverde Group has been and continues to be a major, tight-sand gas reservoir in Utah. It consists of over 9,000 feet of fluvial, coastal plain, braided stream, wave-dominated deltaic, and beach sandstone and siltstone with interbedded transgressive Mancos Shale tongues and marine sandstones. Gas production from Mesaverde fields increased from 80 BCFG in 2002 to 287 BCFG in 2012. Produced water increased from 2 million bbls in 2002 to 26 million bbls in 2012. The amount of produced water could increase by at least 1 million barrels per year. Handling produced water requires a significant investment in treatment and disposal. The cost for treatment and disposal will continue to climb as the water/gas ratio increases during prolonged production of the wells. Produced water has been historically evaporated or injected in disposal wells or could be reused in enhanced oil recovery, hydraulic fracturing, drilling mud preparation, and oil shale production. Our study focuses on detailed stratigraphic, petrophysical, and produced-water-production data from wells penetrating the Mesaverde Group. Results will include formation and unit tops, lithology, thickness, temperature, pressure, and other petrophysical data. Using these data, petrophysical modeling of type logs from the Mesaverde will be used to extrapolate potentially available produced water quantity and quality into geologically less well-known areas targeted by future exploration. Water quality and quantity associated with existing gas production will be evaluated and used to help understand produced water management and amounts.