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Remaining Oil and Gas Potential of North Central Texas

Jeff Jones
Van Operating, Ltd, Abilene Texas

The challenges facing domestic Oil and Gas professionals charged with identifying “new” reserves, particularly on-shore lower 48, is enormous. Consider the following for Texas – symptomatic of the entire US: discovery of Texas oil reached its peak in the 1930’s, a decade in which nearly 40 percent of all discoveries to date were made. By the end of the 1940’s, 84% had been found and by the end of the 1950’s, 96% of total discoveries to date had been posted. Current production of crude oil in Texas is supported chiefly by old, large fields (Fisher 1982). More than half of current production comes from fields discovered more than 40 years ago; nearly three-fourths is from fields more than 30 years old. Fields discovered in the past 20 years contribute less than 10 percent of total current production.

While these factors and the statistics describing the state of Oil and Gas exploration can be depressing, the fact is the oil and gas business has never been in better shape from a financial point of view. Properties drilled years ago and/or classified as “stripper” are proving to be quite valuable and in many cases they are worth more now than they were when flush. Additionally the arsenal of drilling and completion technology and equipment combined with the large amount of investment capitol present the potential for numerous opportunities. Defining “opportunities” then is literally the task facing explorationists/expoitationists.

The object of this dissertation is two fold: specifically analyze the magnitude and nature of remaining reserves in an area of north central Texas and evaluate processes to make this assessment that would be useful to apply elsewhere. The reason for selecting this particular area is related to the author’s familiarity with it and access to information that will be useful to the analysis that has been put together by the Abilene Geological Society.