Funded Research Projects – FY2006

The Utah Geological Survey has selected three projects for funding during fiscal year 2006 (Oct 1, 2005 – Sept 31, 2006). For FY 2006 the solicitation for funding included oil, gas, tar sands, and oil shale.

Donna Anderson and Nicholas Harris, Colorado School of Mines, Golden, Colorado, Integrated Sequence Stratigraphy and Geochemical Resource Characterization of the Lower Mancos Shale, Uinta Basin, Utah. Anderson and Harris will combine field work with subsurface wireline log correlation to develop a rock-based 3rd and 4th order sequence stratigraphic framework for the lower Mancos Shale of the Uinta Basin.

A measured section in the Westwater area will be described for sedimentary facies analysis and sampled for organic geochemical analysis, including Rock-Eval/total organic carbon, vitrinite reflectance, bulk organic maturation kinetic parameters and mineralogy. The organic geochemical data will provide the basis for basin modeling of representative parts of the basin.

Majorie Chan and Gregory Nielsen, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, Reservoir Characterization in the Jurassic Navajo Sandstone, Snow Canyon State Park, Utah. Chan and Nielsen will conduct a stratigraphic and petrographic study designed to improve current understanding of the timing and nature of fluid migration within the Navajo Sandstone as well as the impact of fluid-related diagenesis on reservoir quality.

Snow Canyon has a well-exposed chemical reaction front in the Navajo with transitional exposures of red sandstone and white bleached sandstone where iron oxides may have been removed by hydrocarbon fluid flow.

The study will combine spatial, petrologic, and geochemical analysis to examine how migrating fluids have interacted with stratigraphic and structural features within the Navajo. A high-resolution digital map will be created and a dataset of high-resolution digital photos of key outcrop relationships will be linked to the map. Samples will be collected and analyzed for mineralogy, porosity, permeability, and relative abundance of significant isotopes and trace elements.

Brian Currie, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, and Mary McPherson, McPherson Geologic Consulting, Vernal, Utah, Reservoir Characterization of the Cretaceous Cedar Mountain and Dakota Formations, Southern Uinta Basin. Currie and McPherson will study the stratigraphic and petrophysical controls on the distribution of Cedar Mountain and Dakota Formation gas reservoirs in the southern Uinta Basin. It is estimated that in the Uinta Basin, the Cedar Mountain-Dakota interval contains about 70 TCF of gas-in-place.

Detailed stratigraphic and lithological data collected from surface outcrops and well cores will be used to determine the stratigraphic/alluvial architecture, the paleoflow orientations, and the petrophysical characteristics of reservoir sandstones in the Cedar Mountain and Dakota Formations.

The research will include evaluation of regional well-production data to identify economically viable wells, comparison of well completion reports and borehole logs to determine stratigraphic position and log-characteristics of producing intervals, and regional well log correlation.