Eastern Section Meeting

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The Historic Trenton Broad Ripple Fields: A Quaint Story Or a Unique Reservoir Study, Revisited


Detailed accounts of the discovery, development and demise of the Broad Ripple Field located within Indianapolis on the extreme southwest flank of the giant Trenton Field are contained within the Annual Reports of the State Geologist (1896–1908), the 1922 Indiana Handbook, and Ohio (Standard) Oil Company completion records, with newspaper accounts and completion reports available for the Broad Ripple South Field. The Broad Ripple Field was discovered in 1888 when local farmers began drilling domestic-use gas wells. Oil shows led to a local “boom” from 1896–1906 culminating in the completion of at least 68 oil and gas wells within a 2200+ acre area. Initial rates up to 150 BOD attracted the interest of Ohio Oil who drilled a 300 BOD well, and many smaller wells. Total production was at least 235,000 BO with a peak of 102,087 BO in 1898. Many of the wells or leases have gas-oil-water contacts, production decline curve and other reservoir data, and portions of the field interior have closely spaced structural data. Residential development and declining production led to all wells being plugged by 1908, apparently without the field having been fully delineated. The smaller South Field may have been wildcatted as early as 1918. Five wells were drilled 1939–40, and 1950, apparently all being non-commercial. Structural mapping shows that the fields are related to an overall regional southwest plunging structure, local closure with dolomite porosity and regional faulting/fracturing. An aero-magnetic low on USGS public domain 1950 magnetic maps overlies the productive areas, coincident with an exposed Devonian bedrock high. As part of a larger Trenton exploration project, CountryMark shot three intersecting seismic lines along city streets and had public domain aero-magnetic and gravity data reprocessed. This data shows interpreted NW-SE and NE-SW trending faults that are likely related to the stress field which created the nearby regional NE-SW trending Fortville Fault. An interpreted underlying residual Knox Dolomite erosional high may also be associated with field development via Trenton draping. The fields could be a combination of drape and faulting/fracturing with later HTD development. These fields may serve as a model for regional Trenton exploration.