--> Central Utah, a New Oil and Gas Province, by Floyd C. Moulton1 and Michael L. Pinnell, #50020 (2005)

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Central Utah, a New Oil and Gas Province*


Floyd C. Moulton1 and Michael L. Pinnell2


Search and Discovery Article #50020 (2005)

Posted November 18, 2005


*Oral Presentation at Rocky Mountain Section AAPG Annual Meeting, Jackson, Wyoming, September 24-26, 2005. Appreciation is expressed to Lyn George, Technical Program Chair, and Don French, for encouraging the authors to submit this presentation.


Click to view presentation in PDF format.


1Consultant, 6289 S. Granada, Salt Lake City, UT 84121, phone 801-272- 3276 ([email protected]).

2Pioneer Oil and Gas, 1206 West, South Jordan Parkway, Unit B, South Jordan, UT 84093.




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 150 miles to Beaver City, Utah on the south. It is bounded on the east by thrusted sediments near Highway 89, then extends west perhaps 50 miles to the central Delta Desert area. The play is presently defined by several producing wells, 115 wildcat dry holes, numerous thrusted outcrops of Mesozoic and older rocks, 1970-1980's seismic, magnetic, and gravity data, plus surface hydrocarbon seeps, oil analyses, satellite defined hydrocarbon microseepage anomalies and a bevy of new seismic lines. The Jurassic Navajo Sandstone, always recognized as a world class 1,200 foot thick hydrocarbon reservoir, did not disappoint when Wolverine's KMR 17-1 well found the formation filled with 41 gravity, water-driven, low sulfur oil. However, there were four major surprises:


1.      The Navajo Sandstone was 1,360 feet higher than mapped.

2.      The production was oil.

3.      Two Navajo Sandstones were present.

4.      Oil was sourced from Paleozoic rocks with migration at least in part, post thrusting.


We predict at least 30 structural anomalies will be drilled after several massive group and company seismic programs are completed along the four major, east vergent thrust segments. Paleozoic reservoir rocks may eventually provide more reserves than Mesozoic rocks. Recoverable reserves may exceed several billion barrels of oil and several trillion cubic feet of gas.



Thrust and fold belt of western North America, with emphasis on Utah.