Funded Natural Gas Research Projects FY2005

The Utah Geological Survey selected four research proposals for funding during fiscal year 2005 (Oct 1, 2004 – Sept 31, 2005) under the UGS’s Characterization of Utah’s Hydrocarbon Reservoirs and Potential New Reserves program.

The awardees and their research projects are:

Paul B. Anderson, consulting geologist, Salt Lake City, Utah, Mesaverde Gas of Southeastern Uinta Basin. Anderson will build on work done by the U.S. Geological Survey and National Energy Technology Lab for the Mesaverde play in the southeastern part of the Uinta Basin, northeastern Utah.

Three, regional, well-log cross sections consisting of 30 or more wells that penetrate the entire Mesaverde section will be constructed. The cross sections will contain formational contacts, depositional facies, test results, Ro values (where available), and net sand.

Production data will be depicted on maps at 1:100,000 scale showing cumulative and initial potential. These maps will be generated from a database that contains information from the cross section wells, and at least one well per section throughout the entire study area.

Additionally, structure contour and isopach maps will be produced for the Mesaverde Group, and small-scale maps showing Mesaverde completions each decade to visually show the progress of the play since 1960.

Mark W. Longman, consulting geologist, Lakewood, Colorado, and Randolph J. Koepsell, Schlumberger Oilfield Services, Greenwood Village, Colorado, Defining and characterizing Mesaverde Sandstone Reservoirs Based on Interpretation of Formation MicroImager (FMI) Logs, Eastern Uinta Basin, Utah.

Kerr McGee, EOG Resources, Questar, and Schlumberger Corporations (Colorado) will be contributing to the project.

Longman and Koepsell will collect and quantify information from a suite of six to eight FMI logs run through part, or all, of the Mesaverde Group in the area of Natural Buttes field.

The information will include sandstone thickness, sedimentary structures, bioturbation and root traces, scour contacts, and abundance of rip-up clasts. Information from the FMI logs will be integrated with data from other logs to distinguish sand-body types and the depositional environments of various sandstone bodies. Porosity, permeability, and fractures will be identified from the log data.

The final report will include an FMI “Image Atlas” of the various types of sandstone bodies tied to text that describes the key features and reservoir potential of each type.

Thomas H. Morris and John H. McBride, Brigham Young University Department of Geology, Provo, Utah, A Multidisciplinary Approach to Reservoir Characterization of the Entrada Erg-Margin Gas Play, Utah. Morris and McBride will examine the reservoir characteristics of erg-margin sandstones in the Middle Jurassic Entrada Sandstone, a new gas play.

They will construct an index map of Utah delineating the approximate north-south trend of the Entrada erg-margin.

They will analyze sandstone body geometries using: 1) two, shallow, high-resolution, seismic reflection profiles; 2) outcrop photo mosaics; and 3) a measured section in a case-study area near Notom, Utah.

Interpretations of meso- and macro-scale significant surfaces and features will be described and plots of grain size, paleocurrent analyses, and descriptions of primary and secondary structures will be developed.

Quantitative analyses of porosity and, if possible, permeability measurements will be made of outcrop samples.

The stratigraphic measured section will include scintillometer readings that can be compared to well logs from Entrada producing wells in the Flat Rock field in the Uinta Basin.

Steven Schamel, GeoX Consulting Inc., Salt Lake City, Utah, Shale-Gas Reservoirs of Utah: Survey of an Unexploited Potential Energy Resource. Schamel will identify shale reservoirs in Utah that have potential of producing commercial quantities of methane and associated natural gas liquids.

This will be done by comparing the known geologic, petrophysical, and rheologic, characteristics of candidate shales against established properties of actual producing shale gas reservoirs.

The project report will describe the shale-gas reservoirs in sufficient detail to define specific potential natural gas plays. A set of recommendations will outline strategies for exploration and possible exploitation of this potentially new natural gas resource in Utah.