From Bureau of Economic Geology, The University of Texas at Austin (www.beg.utexas.edu).
For more information, please contact the author.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists Annual Meeting, Dallas, April 18-21, 2004

Play Analysis and Digital Portfolio of Major Oil Reservoirs in the Permian Basin: New Mexico

Ronald F. Broadhead, William D Raatz, Shirley P. Dutton, and Eugene M. Kim

Abstract:

The Permian Basin of west Texas and southeast New Mexico contains an estimated 23 percent of proved oil reserves in the U.S. and provided 18 percent of domestic oil production, or 300 MMBO, during 1999. However, approximately 30 BBO, or one half of producible mobile oil, has been extracted from Permian Basin reservoirs. Recent production is less than one-half that reached during the early 1970’s. Improved understanding of geologic play types and the transfer of preferred reservoir management practices to analogous fields will increase efficiency in finding and developing reserves from new and existing fields.

There are 299 reservoirs of Ordovician to Permian age in the New Mexico part of the basin that have yielded more than 1 MMBO cumulative production. These reservoirs are here divided among 17 plays based on geologic criteria, including reservoir age, lithology, depositional environment, and trapping mechanism. Similarities in reservoirs across a play allow preferred management practices that have been successful in one reservoir to be applied to others in the same play. Significant production increases have resulted in recent years from such practices as: recompletions of bypassed zones within mature fields, including sands within dominantly carbonate sections; the use of horizontal wells to selectively waterflood unswept oil in unfractured carbonate intervals; pressure maintenance and waterflooding of basinal sandstones; and the use of high-volume downhole pumps in shelf carbonates. The realization that many traps have a significant stratigraphic component has expanded some reservoirs beyond previously defined structural limits and greatly increased development opportunities.